Skip to main content

Direct mail: Seven rules to success

What does a good direct mailer or direct marketing piece look like?

Prisma Graphic has found that the direct mailers that yield the highest ROI for our clients have seven common traits. You would think there were more than seven but there’s not – just seven. If you can incorporate these key elements into your next direct marketing mailer your chances of success are raised exponentially.


As marketing becomes more of a science than an art, clean targeted data can make or break a direct mail campaign; not to mention one of the best ways to tighten budgets and minimize waste. Prisma has the ability to provide highly-targeted lists (based on the characteristics of your best customer), can thoroughly cleanse your existing data and can even provide the analytics that profile and model your data to help you tailor your messages.


This is for all the marbles; you only have a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention so make them count. Think about newspaper headlines – what grabs your attention? What gets ignored? What’s the purpose of the direct marketing program? It’s important to correlate a unique offer that is congruent with the purpose of the campaign to drive results. The more relevant the offer is to the audience, the more likely they are to respond to your campaign.


The imagery used has to be compelling enough to immediately grab your prospect’s attention and draw them in. The graphic elements should either raise questions, create intrigue or at least be aesthetically pleasing. Whichever direction you take – the imagery must align with your campaign’s purpose. It is a good idea to test the creative elements on a smaller audience whenever possible.


Studies show that personalized mailers have a greater ROI than static or non-personalized direct marketing pieces. This is another tactic to get someone’s attention in the few seconds that you are allotted. (NOTE: Personalization can also backfire if you overdo it. Make it minimal, make it noticeable and make it count.)

So let’s say you followed the above steps and your marketing piece is designed well enough to catch someone’s eye – now what?


Your recipient will not know what to do next if you don’t tell them. Assuming the audience will visit your website or call just because they read your piece could be detrimental. It’s the marketer’s job to lead them to the sale! If the above listed creative steps are in line, they will want to contact your company – now. Make it easy for them.


Give the audience the option to call, email or go to your website to begin the dialogue with your company. Allow them the opportunity to respond through the communication channel they prefer. (The next Prisma Graphic direct marketing blog post will deal with multiple channels of communications. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that if you are driving traffic back to a website, it’s always best to have a specific landing page created for the campaign. The landing page serves two purposes: the imagery and copy can speak directly to the person who took action and let them know they are in the right place. The second purpose is reporting. You can track how many people responded via the web. Installing some simple web analytics can handle this task. The data will pay off in the long run.)


Always have a follow up strategy in place. How are you planning to follow up with both responders and non-responders alike? Many times the marketing program’s results suffer because this step is overlooked.

Ok, make sense? These suggestions have been tested and put to use over and over with many direct marketing programs. Although we didn’t invent these rules, we certainly play by them. If you have any questions about the ‘Seven Rules to Success’ feel free to email Prisma Graphic at or call us at 602 243-5777.

Have you had amazing success with your company’s direct marketing programs? Leave a comment, tell us about it and share your knowledge.

Facebook iconIf you found this article helpful or of value please click the Facebook ‘like’ button. You may also consider joining our Facebook community for more information about commercial printing, direct marketing, web-to-print and marketing supply chain management.

[About us: Prisma Graphic is a full-service, marketing solutions provider with an emphasis in commercial printing that specializes in online marketing supply chain management. Utilizing cutting-edge technology and a commitment to customer service, we partner with clients to develop cost-effective programs that execute integrated brand campaigns and highly-targeted business communications. Our ongoing evolution is to deliver sales opportunities at the lowest possible cost.]

Interested in exploring our store of promotional products? Visit to get started!

Contact Us

Ready to start scaling your business? Let’s get started today.

Please let us know what's on your mind. Have a question for us? Ask away.

BY PRISMAOctober 14, 2010

Get Powered By Prisma

Partner with Prisma. Follow us on social media and get to know the people behind the Prisma magic.