What not to do in your direct mail strategy


We’ve said it before and we will say it again. Direct mail is not dead. In fact, direct mail actually has a better direct response rate than email. On average, direct mail receives a 4.4% response rate whereas email is only at 0.12%. If that statistic doesn’t explain why you should stay on the direct mail train, then how about this one: personalization of direct mail can lead to a 20% higher response rate than online.

Now before you create your direct mail strategy, here are six things to avoid when planning your next campaign:

Don’t: Use small or crazy fonts

We have discussed the importance of choosing typography carefully time and time again. Direct mail is no different. When using a small font, you are risking the chance of your mail being unreadable. By choosing a crazy font you’re risking that text being hard to read. A good rule of thumb is to choose a serif font because they’re easier to read and to size the body text at 16 pixels. Headings should always be 10 pixels larger than the body text.

Don’t: Ignore the creative elements

When designing your direct mail piece, you need to think about what will capture your audience’s attention. Avoid print mail with minimal colors or designs—these will lose your audience’s interest quickly. Using the blank white boring envelopes is a guaranteed way for you mail to end up in the trash. Try using a post card, which 52.5% of consumers say they read.

Don’t: Use an impersonal message

One of the many reasons why direct mail is still successful is that 70% of Americans feel it is more personal. Ignoring this fact will be detrimental to your campaign. Avoid generalizing your statements and try addressing the person directly. Using their name and “you” will create a more personalized experience for your audience.

Don’t: Focus on features

Product features are characteristics that describe your products appearance, components and capabilities. These are all great aspects for you to have listed but not on your direct mail campaign. On your direct mail piece you need to translate those features into how they benefit your audience. This will create a higher response rate. A great example is given by Printward: “The gas mileage on a car is a feature, the amount of month you can save on gas is a benefit.”

Don’t: Use unclear calls to action

You should always have a purpose for sending out a direct mail campaign. If you don’t, then there wouldn’t be a reason to waste your resources. If your audience doesn’t understand your reason or what you want from them then your campaign will be unsuccessful. Prior to your call to action, your direct mail piece needs to explain the benefits of your product or service to persuade them enough to actually act on your call to action. Then, your call to action should be clear and concise, such as “Call now!”, “Order online today!” or “Scan this QR code.” Lastly, make sure your call to action is large and easy to find on the page, avoiding the “where’s Waldo” call to action.

Don’t: Ignore tracking mechanisms

Sending out a direct mail campaign is more than creating the piece, putting a stamp on it and sending it out. You must have some tracking mechanism in place to be able to analyze if it was a successful campaign. Two ways to do that are having a designated landing page to capture customer’s information or placing a coupon/tracking code on the piece of mail. What you decide here will influence your call to action. Then, from these tracking mechanisms you will learn what types of campaigns and which do not. Change your next campaign accordingly.

Once you have your direct mail campaign perfected and finalized, contact us to print it!

Expressing Ourselves

Watch this space as we use our imagination, our experience and other people’s insights to entertain and inform.

Here's What We're Saying