Monday Marketing Minutes Small Business Info

Secrets to Direct Mail Success


secretPssssst. Hey you. Ya, you. The first secret is that … direct mail is not dead. In fact, the DMA’s 2012 Response Rate Report said that direct mail generates higher conversion rates than digital channels (but email demonstrates the highest ROI).

A direct marketing guru shared the second secret with me. He said if you want a successful direct mail campaign, you HAVE to follow the 40/40/20 rule. Google it. You’ll find lots of people agree. Apparently a gentleman named Ed Mayer came up with the idea in the 1960’s, and it’s as valid today as ever.

If you want your direct mail campaign to succeed, you need to put your focus in the right place:

40% on the list
40% on the offer
20% on the creative

The List — This is the “who”; whom you’ll be mailing to: your target audience. The better your list, the better the success you’ll have. A “better” list means it is specifically targeted at the people most likely to buy your product or service. If you haven’t been compiling a mailing list of customers and potential customers, today’s the day to start. If nothing else, you should be able to pull addresses from your billing records. You could also buy a list of potential customers. Or, if you want to target people in a certain city in their homes, you could try the U.S. Postal Service’s new Every Door Direct Mail® program that guarantees to deliver your direct mail piece to every home and every address every time.

pastry plateThe Offer — Why would customers care? What’s in it for them? Make it obvious, and make it compelling. Telling loyal pastry customers to stop by for your fall open house won’t have the same impact as inviting them to be the first to taste the scrumptious seasonal twist on your award-winning pastries — for free — plus enter for the chance to win an iPad. Make sure to keep it brief so they can get the gist of what you’re saying by reading headlines, subheads or bullets in 5 seconds or less. And don’t forget the contact details. That sounds obvious, but I’ve seen many a direct mail piece that lists the time and the store’s name, but no address, phone number or website to actually follow up and take advantage of the offer!

The Creative — This is often the place people spend the most effort and money, which is the opposite of what they should be doing. While a professional-looking mailing with quality photos or graphics is important, people will act based on the offer — if you targeted the right people. Keeping the cost and time down on the creative is something 123Print can help with, because we offer hundreds of free eye-catching templates, sorted by industry, for postcards and brochures. You can save even more money by turning your brochures or flyers into self-mailers. Just leave one outside panel blank on the brochure or flyer so it can be used for the address and stamp!

123Print Rack Up the Sales Postcard

Perfect for clothing store offers: the 123Print Rack Up the Sales postcard.

Direct mail, especially postcards, can be one your most cost-effective methods of connecting with customers in your local market. With the holidays approaching, it’s the perfect time to create a special offer and send out a direct mail piece to bring in more traffic.

How have you used direct mail in the past? What marketing tactics do you find to be most effective? Please share your ideas on our Facebook page or the 123Print Pinterest boards, tweet us @123Print or leave us a comment below.


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Direct Mail Campaigns
    November 1, 2012 at 4:52 am

    Very nice blog on direct mail marketing

  • Reply
    Rhonda W.
    November 1, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Thank you!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Rhonda Walinga
    October 15, 2013 at 11:20 am

    We just had a comment on our contact page that suggested a blog where they interviewed a direct mail expert, Ted Grigg. We thought we’d share that link here: Mr. Grigg shares lots of helpful info and ideas. Thanks John Matthews for the link!

  • Leave a Reply