Humble Old Direct Mail Rising Again?

Can direct mail still work? These are the perplexing questions which keep marketing people tossing and turning in bed at night. Or was it the three martinis they had for lunch? Still, direct mail is typically a magnitude more expensive per send than digital options. But then again, maybe an actual piece of paper in an actual prospect’s hand might tip the scales and deliver that most precious commodity, a new customer.

Studies do show that direct mail, in the right hands, is far better response rate than email. But to get it in the right hands is unfortunately a process much like email marketing. Don’t think the first 1000 postcards you send is going to yield you “honey wild and manna-dew” because it’s not. But if you use the same digital tools on the backend as you do with your email marketing to start with a testing mindset, you can quickly find a sweet spot with hot fresh tri-folds delivered directly to their ‘physical in box.’

>>So what’s the retronym for ‘physical in box’ – a shelvin-box? 😉


  1. Start with your customers. Obviously if you are going to blow the budget on postage, make sure it hits your best list first. Customers make good a/b testing subjects. Will they jump at 2 for 1 or Free Shipping? Send some postcards and find out.
  2. Mix it in with your email blasting. Why not a “Latest Products” catalog if they opened more than 2 emails in the last 6 months? Leverage your paper costs by honing your list to those that have at least seen your logo before.
  3. Go big or go home. Every study shows more images, bigger text, and simpler messaging make for better mailers. Postcards are not where you explain to your prospect in detail why you are so much, so much better than your competitor. Make it big, bold, bright, and simple. Seriously, keep it to 5 words and under on the front side. If you can do it one, even better.

Direct mail can be an effect part of your outbound marketing strategy. Start with your core lists first. Turn every send into a test. Leverage your postage costs with email and site remarketing campaigns.



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