How (and When) You Actually Should Use Direct Mail

How (and When) You Actually Should Use Direct Mail

Second, the way you send direct mail changes its effectiveness. But to do so, you need to send direct mail at the right time and in the right way. Here’s when and how to send effective direct mail. That makes the holidays a ripe time for you to send direct mail to prospects. Approximately 56% of customers trust print marketing more than any other type of marketing. But only their brand name is on the piece of direct mail, not their website. If you don’t, you’ll waste money on direct mail. They want to generate leads, raise brand awareness, and make sales. Just make sure you’re using your online presence in connection with your direct-mail campaigns.

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I once knew a real estate investor who spent $10,000 on his direct-mail campaigns. For a year, he sent postcard after postcard.

But it didn’t work like he had hoped.

Instead of pulling in leads, his direct-mail campaigns did nothing but stagnate.

His real estate buddies told him he just needed to invest more money in the campaigns. So he did.

Month after month, he poured money into his direct-mail campaigns.

And still, he gained no leads.

In the end, he spent $10,000 with nothing to show for it.

Roughly 64% of people have visited a website because of direct mail they received.

So, in the case of my friend, what gives?

Why do some direct-mail marketing campaigns succeed, and others fail?

There’s a two-part answer to this conundrum.

First, the timing of the direct mail is sometimes wrong. You shouldn’t always use direct mail unless it fits your industry.

There’s a time to send and a time not to send.

Second, the way you send direct mail changes its effectiveness.

If you send the same postcard year round, that might be a horrible marketing tactic, or it might be brilliant. It just depends on how often you send postal mail and who your recipients are.

Some 47% of people have visited a store because of a direct-mail campaign.

But sometimes people don’t take action because the direct mail’s timing and method are off.

The mail doesn’t connect with the audience, and it definitely doesn’t encourage the audience to take action.

And you want your audience to take action. You want your direct mail to generate leads, encourage brand sharing, and enhance brand awareness.

But to do so, you need to send direct mail at the right time and in the right way.

Here’s when and how to send effective direct mail.

Send during the holidays

People are receptive to marketing during the holidays.


They’re expecting to receive gifts. But they aren’t just anticipating gifts. They’re also expecting to get cards in the mail.

During the holidays, letters from grandparents, gifts from relatives, and offers from businesses flood mailboxes around the world.

And most people love every second of it.

They love the gifts from family, the letters offering “Happy Holidays,” and the discounts and coupons all the same.

That makes the holidays a ripe time for you to send direct mail to prospects.

A few days before Mother’s Day, Shari’s Berries sent out this direct-mail piece.

In it, they show a picture of their chocolate-, peanut-, and frosting-covered strawberry selection.

Then, on the right, they urge their prospects to use these berries to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Think of all the times, right before a holiday, that you forgot to get a gift for someone.

When you receive something like this, with a 25% discount, that difficult gift decision becomes an easy one.

Most people want to buy gifts for the holidays, but the decision process is grueling.

You can take the guesswork out of someone’s day by offering them an appealing product and an easy system for purchasing.

REI is a store known for focusing on the experience of their products rather than the products themselves.

In line with their marketing message, they ran this direct-mail campaign during the winter holidays. They used this card to encourage families to get outside together.

Some families want to sit indoors and open gifts during the holidays. But others want to go out and do something together.

By offering an experience and (indirectly) a product, REI caters to those in the second category.

Depending on your audience, consider whether you should sell the product or the experience of your product.

Mercedes-Benz is the maker of the well-known, electrically powered Smart Car. But the Smart Car isn’t only known for its efficiency. It’s also known for its size.

As one of the smallest modern cars, the Smart Car’s compactness is partly what contributes to its efficiency. More so, however, its size bolsters its brand image.

As a way to embrace that image and have fun with its customers, Mercedes-Benz sent out the above mailer. It contained tiny ornaments, candy canes, and other holiday decorations.

You can be sure that recipients won’t soon forget this piece of direct mail. And they’ll likely share it with their friends, further spreading the Smart Car brand.

Send on customers’ birthdays

Similar to the holidays, most people are open to receiving all kinds of direct mail on their birthdays.

They already receive a lot from family members and extended relatives, so if you play your marketing cards right, you’ll be a welcome addition to their mailbox.

But what should you send prospects, customers, and clients on their birthdays?

Well, everyone else is sending them a gift. You should, too.

If you do, they’ll think of you in the same way they think of their family: as generous and kind.

That positions your brand perfectly for future marketing endeavors.

Here’s a birthday campaign from Target.

Only people who wear eyeglasses were sent this direct-mail piece, making the campaign that much more personal.

By keeping track of not only their customers’ birthdays but also their needs, Target was able to send focused direct mail to its list.

Also, consider the fact that a 30% discount is a generous number.

It’s not so low as to be insignificant to the consumer, but it’s also not so high as to bankrupt your company. It’s a comfortable middle ground that will appeal to most people.

Similarly, Paninos sent out this birthday mailer.

If a sandwich shop can celebrate its customers’ birthdays, so can you.

By offering a free small sandwich, they don’t only appear generous, but they also increase the possibility of sales.

Think about it. If someone receives this mailer, they probably won’t go to the restaurant alone. They’ll invite a family member or a friend to go with them.

That person doesn’t have a coupon for a free sandwich, so Paninos just made an extra sale.

Using the same psychology, Starbucks sent out this birthday piece.

On the inside of the card was this.

This mail piece is simple. The fact that Starbucks took the time to mail it to someone on their birthday sends a meaningful message.

And the free drink they offer appears generous.

Further, the fact that humans are community-based creatures means the birthday person will bring a friend. Again, Starbucks made an extra sale.

People are open to…