Direct mail marketing is no longer thought of as an antiquated marketing medium. Rather, this $44-billion industry is becoming known as the thriving marketing channel it is—and it’s growing exponentially. Direct mail marketing statistics tell the story. Response rates are at an all-time high and the ROI for households is almost 30%. Thus, modern-day marketers are now using direct mail as often as they do social media—and they’re planning to use it even more in the coming year.


Consumers of all ages, meanwhile, trust direct mail more than their digital marketing counterparts. They consider it more personal. Many of them sort through their envelopes and packages as soon as they pull them from their mailboxes.


Whether you look at it from a marketer’s or consumer’s perspective, direct mail marketing works. When combined with digital marketing channels, the future looks very promising. Here’s how to use the best direct mail marketing ideas effectively so you can achieve your marketing goals.


The Best Direct Mail Marketing Ideas Are Unique


marketing channelsBy using direct mail as one of your marketing channels, you’ve already distinguished yourself from your competition. Direct mail stands on its own as an outlet for selling to your target market. Consider this: about 80-90% of direct mail gets opened, while only 20-30% of email is opened. By putting a piece of direct mail into your customer’s mailbox, you’re setting up your brand for success. That’s because more than half of consumers prefer it over any other type of advertising.


Here are a few other ways to stand out from your competition.


How to Use Direct Mail Marketing Effectively: Make a Strong First Impression


Research shows that you only have a handful of seconds to make an impression on your direct mail recipient. Use that time wisely by creating a mailer that captures their attention right away. Try uniquely sized packaging, brightly colored envelopes, and large, bold letters and images on the outside of your mailer. This will help your mail piece stand out from all the others. Remember, the goal is to get the consumer to open your mailer, so you’ll have to use the outside of the envelope or package to accomplish that.


Keep Your Message Clear and Simple


You don’t need to get complicated to make a strong first impression. In fact, simple is better. It’s a scientific fact that a simplistic layout of information is easier to process than a complex one. Here’s why. Your retina turns visual information into electrical impulses, and then sends them to your brain. These impulses transmit both light and color information. When you have a lot of different colors and light variations in your direct mail message, your customer’s eyes have to do more work to send the impulses to their brains. That means you’re making them work harder to convert and retain the information. Instead, make your message easy to read and understand and you’ll see better results.


Work with a Proven Direct Mail Printing and Mailing Service


If you really want to know how to use direct mail marketing effectively, be sure you’re working with the best direct mail mailing and printing service. An invaluable partner in printing and mailing can be the difference maker for your direct mail marketing efforts. Here are a few things to look for when shopping for the best service:


  • Experience. Look for a provider that has a wealth of know-how in the direct mail marketing industry. But don’t just take their word for it. See how many years they’ve been in business. Also, look for reviews from other clients who can vouch for their expertise, performance, and results.
  • Equipment. You’ll need options when you’re brainstorming ways to deliver your marketing message. Direct mail printing and mailing services should feature state-of-the-art equipment that gets your campaign printed exactly the way you want it, helping to reduce cycle time and get it to market faster than your competitors.
  • Engineered to order. What is ETO software? It’s engineered to order specifically for your needs. Don’t settle for a “cookie-cutter” software solution. That presents more problems than remedies. Your provider should have the flexibility to adapt to your needs, not the other way around. They should also provide 24/7 production capabilities with an impeccable customer service staff to make sure your direct mail marketing campaign is delivered on schedule.


Are you wondering if there’s a direct mail partner that can handle all these tasks? Does it sound too good to be true? Rest assured, it isn’t. MSP will work with you every step of the way so your next campaign performs the way you want it to. Contact an MSP representative. We’re here to help you succeed.


Use Your Direct Mail Marketing Results


best direct mail marketing ideasSpeaking of results, without knowing what your direct mail marketing results are, you’ll never achieve your greatest successes. Before you send your next direct mail campaign, find out how the last one performed. That way you can make the necessary adjustments and each campaign will operate better than the last. The best way to accomplish this is to have a direct mail management system in place.


MSP offers Direct Mail Panorama, a software solution that gives marketing executives the power to track and gauge every aspect of their direct mail marketing campaigns. Once you know how your direct mail campaigns performed, you can make the needed adjustments to improve your next campaign—and so on.


Direct Mail Panorama goes well beyond stats, though. This is software that streamlines the entire direct mail management process from beginning to end. Consider the complexities of editing and approving a campaign. What if you could automate the editing and proofing to see the changes and figure out which templates to apply them to. That’s what Direct Mail Panorama does. Then it delivers the relevant proofs to the proper users so they can “sign off” on any particular job. Everything works smoother—and quicker. When you speed up your edits and approvals, you also speed up the printing and mailing operation. Then you’re on your way to tracking and analyzing every step of the mailing process. It’s total transparency regarding your direct mail campaign’s performance.


Some direct mail service providers may offer tracking and reporting capabilities, but only MSP offers the sophistication of a game-changing software solution: Direct Mail Panorama.


Related: 6 Proven Methods for Accelerating Direct Mail Results


Why Use Direct Mail Marketing if You Don’t Plan to Personalize?


Did you know that most consumers are more likely to open their mail if it’s personalized? Smart marketers know and a vast majority report improved results when they use personalization techniques. Those facts should be incentive enough to make sure your next direct mail campaign features some form of personalization.


Use Variable Data Printing for Direct Mail Personalization


You know that personalization works, but what’s the best way to implement it? Variable data printing. What is variable data printing, or VDP? It’s a print production process that allows you to adjust the text, color, graphics, or images in your direct mail piece to address the specific needs of each of your recipients. Imagine you’re getting ready to send a campaign to 20,000 customers on your mailing list. The message is essentially the same, but you want to include the recipient’s first name and a localized map that highlights their nearest retail location. To top it off, you need to get this mailing out ASAP.


Well, it’s VDP to the rescue. Not only will this advanced form of printing provide the necessary personalization you’re looking for, but it will also run without any delay in the printing process. Your customers enjoy seeing their name in print. They have a convenient map that details how they can get to their nearest store. And you get the campaign into consumer’s hands before your competitors. That’s a win-win (win) in any smart marketer’s marketing playbook.


Trust Automated Marketing to Deliver Targeted Campaigns


best direct mail marketing ideasVariable data printing is a form of personalization, but there are many other possibilities—and they can all work together. As you’re learning how to use direct mail marketing effectively, automation will inevitably come to the forefront of any research. That’s because it has the power to save time and money for your business. Marketing automation allows you to create your marketing strategy without manually performing each and every task along the way.


Direct marketing automation systems help you in a number of different ways. You can:


  • Find out who your target audience is.
  • Create the proper content for them.
  • Automatically trigger actions based on a schedule you set up in advance (and/or your customer’s responses).


With an automated marketing system in place, you can focus on other tasks. Marketing automation exists to save time and resources, driving revenue while you spend time growing your business. Here’s a real-world example.


Bite Squad is a food delivery service similar to Grubhub and DoorDash. They connect restaurants with local customers who want food delivered to their home or office. To improve their retention rates, Bite Squad sent direct mail postcards to their customers who hadn’t used their service in the past two months. The offer? A coupon code good for a free entree. Out of 20,000 postcards sent, 18% of their customers redeemed the offer. Bite Squad was so pleased with the results, they decided to keep the campaign running on autopilot, so to speak. Every time a customer reached two months of inactivity, they were automatically scheduled to receive one of these postcards.


The lesson to learn is that automated direct mail campaigns work. Naturally, you need to have an enticing offer. (Free food is a pretty good one.) But look at the process as well. Targeting a certain type of customer with a proven offer is smart marketing. The fact that it’s an automated process just makes your life easier. You might say you set yourself up for success.


Use an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy


why use direct mail marketingYou know that both direct mail and digital marketing work. It only makes sense to combine the two into an omnichannel marketing mix that yields the best results. What is omnichannel marketing? And why use direct mail marketing as part of an omnichannel campaign? This popular marketing methodolgy is like multichannel marketing, but it provides your customers with a coordinated experience across all of your available marketing channels. So a customer can have an integrated experience regardless of how they connect with your business.


You can apply this principle to your marketing strategy by combining your digital marketing and direct mail. It makes sense to do so because businesses that use an omnichannel strategy retain about 90% of their customers. Here’s an example.


Let’s say a customer is shopping using your app. They place an item in their shopping cart, but they don’t complete the purchase. Later in the day, they’re shopping at one of your retail stores in their area. Using omnichannel marketing, you can alert them that the very item they have in their cart is available in that store. If you wanted to take it a step further (and this is where direct mail enters the picture), you could send them a catalog (or any other kind of promotional mailer) with a coupon for a similar item. It could even be a product that’s associated with the item they bought. Now that’s some omnichannel marketing action hard at work.


There are other ways to combine your digital marketing with direct mail. Try placing a QR code or a personalized URL (PURL) on a printed mailer. Then your customer can scan the code with their smartphone (or visit the PURL) to view your intended landing page. This is a great option because you’ll see what recipients responded—and what they did once they arrived at your landing page. Did they click on any links? Did they fill out your form? This is a great marketing marriage between direct mail and digital.


Here’s How to Use Direct Mail Marketing Effectively


Would you like some help figuring out how to use direct mail marketing effectively? Leave it to an expert. You can take a step in the right direction by working with a direct mail printing and mailing services provider you can trust. MSP combines more than 65 years of direct mail knowledge and experience working with a variety of businesses in different industries. We can help you make informed direct mail decisions—from the design of your mailer to the production process to the final delivery.


MSP offers state-of-the-art equipment, the latest postal optimization techniques, and unparalleled flexibility to help you understand exactly how to use direct mail marketing effectively for your brand. Contact an MSP representative today and let’s talk about how we can help you achieve your goals.

How Effective is Direct Mail Marketing?

How Effective is Direct Mail Marketing?

As a smart marketing professional, you know that direct mail is a wise choice to include in your multichannel arsenal. But exactly how effective is direct mail marketing? We're here to answer that question for you.   Direct Mail Marketing Continues to Grow  ...

read more
How to Optimize Your Direct Mail Postcards

How to Optimize Your Direct Mail Postcards

Marketers from every industry love direct mail postcards because they're affordable and effective ways to advertise their products and services. So we applied our 65+ years of knowledge and came up with a few tricks you can use to boost your results. Here's how to...

read more
Direct Mail Advertising Costs: Here’s What to Look For

Direct Mail Advertising Costs: Here’s What to Look For

Marketers want to know how to get the best return for their advertising dollars. So we assembled the typical direct mail costs to show you what's involved and what options you'll have when it's time to plan your next direct mail campaign.   Direct Mail...

read more