When it comes to direct mail marketing, 40 percent of success comes from how effective the direct mail marketing list is. Another 40 percent will depend on how compelling the offer is. And the remaining 20 percent includes design, copywriting, delivery date and method and more.
Direct mail effectiveness increases when direct mail is utilized as part of a robust marketing campaign that also includes email, social media and other marketing channels and strategies. But each element of that comprehensive campaign must have robust planning, execution and measurement in order to be a success. A direct mail campaign, as with any marketing tactic, begins with a plan.

Define direct mail marketing strategy and goals

An effective direct mail strategy begins by identifying the core purpose and focus of the overall campaign. Often, this is brand awareness, lead generation, sales or customer retention. This strategy is the blueprint for the entire campaign and sets the stage for what metrics need to be measured to determine how successful the campaign is, so it’s important to take time and be as specific as possible when defining strategy and goals.

Define direct mail audience and create mailing list
One of the key elements of a successful direct mail marketing campaign is to know exactly who your target audience is, how to get in front of that audience and what specific action(s) you want them to take.

Target audience
Start with your existing customer base and what you know about them – demographics, behaviors, likes, dislikes, challenges, etc. Then, add past campaign analytics to help narrow the audience to the people most receptive to your messaging and most likely to take action.

Types of direct mailing marketing lists
The more precisely you can target the audience you’re mailing to, the better the return on investment (ROI) of a direct mail marketing campaign will be. Some businesses use existing, in-house mail lists, others rely on those plus very detailed third-party mailing lists. There are various types of mailing lists that range from more general to highly targeted. A few types of direct mailing lists include:
Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)
A registered trademark of the U.S. Postal Service, Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) uses the most up-to-date data to target people to receive direct mail pieces based on mail routes. EDDM does not require any existing mailing lists and audiences are chosen using basic demographics and ZIP codes.
Saturation Mailing
For businesses with an in-house mail list or those wanting to work with third-party mailing list providers, saturation mailing allows you to eliminate mail recipients according to demographic information such as marital status, age, etc. Being able to more narrowly target an audience can result in a selection of recipients more likely to make a purchase or take the desired action.
Targeted Mailing
Targeted mailing requires a partnership with a third-party direct mail vendor to provide access to comprehensive, high-quality data to create customized direct mail marketing lists. Working with a third-party partner, you can enjoy proprietary data and analysis that helps get your direct mail piece to the right people at the right time, increasing responses and purchases.
Create compelling copy and a clear CTA that drives action

Direct mail copywriting tips
Know your audience – Try to write in a way that shows you understand the unique needs, wants, and challenges of your target audience, appealing to the reality of their lives.
Be a storyteller – Do your best to create an emotional connection with readers and engage them. Respect them and explain why they are receiving the direct mail piece without talking down to them.
Choose a single point of focus – Including too many features and offers in the direct mail piece can create clutter and take away from your messaging. Keep it simple, tell people how you’re going to make a difference in their lives, then give them a way to take action.
Don’t make it complicated – Use short sentences, bulleted lists, call-out boxes and other eye-catching features to highlight only the text you want to emphasize, then give readers an easy CTA. For example, “Simply scan this QR code to purchase.”
Have a sense of urgency – Expiration dates, limited-time offers and exclusive discounts are all tactics used to subtly compel customers to take immediate action. The fear of missing out is real!
Call to action best practices
With a direct mail marketing piece, your call to action is the most important part. Without it, you’re simply paying to tell people “For your information…” To ensure an effective CTA, use these tips:
Keep your CTA brief
Make the CTA visible
Make it simple to take action
Create a sense of urgency
Be sure you’re able to track and measure your response rate
Whether a business is creating its first direct mail marketing piece or its 50th, it’s common to ask, “What is an example of direct mail?” Unique is best, so start with your own best efforts rather than attempting to duplicate someone else’s.
Measure success of direct mail campaign
When sending a direct mail piece, you may find yourself wondering, “How should you follow up on direct mail advertising?”
When it comes to direct mail, you can’t just send it and cross your fingers. Set measurable goals and be sure to follow up. Direct mail is most effectively measured using the four Rs:
Rate of response
Rate of conversion
Rate of close
Rate of customer retention
Unique coupon codes, QR codes, custom phone numbers, personalized landing pages and more are all effective ways to track and measure the success of a direct mail marketing campaign.
Direct mail checklist
The dos and don’ts of direct mail marketing
DO test your market
DO spend time defining your audience
DO create a compelling CTA
DO drive online traffic
DON’T forget to proofread carefully – nothing ruins credibility more than a typo
DON’T miss the opportunity to follow up
DON’T skip measuring and learning for future campaigns

When you have an effective mailing list, a compelling offer and the knowledge to do the tangible parts of direct mail marketing right – design, printing, mailing – your business will be on its way to achieving direct mail marketing success.

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