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What is Direct Mail Marketing? Overview and Tips – Prisma

Direct Mail Services

Prisma offers complete direct mail marketing services including direct mail, political mail, EDDM, mailing lists, mail tracking, Informed Delivery, lead generation, and more! Our secured lettershop protects your data and our state-of-the-art technology gets your message to mailbox with flawless precision. You can count on our expertise with postal regulations to avoid delays and eliminate unexpected costs.

We also offer our marketing-based solution, DM360, which allows you to seamlessly track the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns while enhancing your results through the integration of digital platforms. DM360 offers seven technologies that drive exposure and engagement for your direct mail campaign, making it more likely for your audience to convert.

Prisma helps brands in every industry grow by offering a full spectrum of direct mail services in a streamlined approach, powering their Message to Market with speed, quality, and control.


What is Direct Mail Marketing?

Direct mail marketing is any form of physical communication that is delivered to a prospect’s or customer’s mailbox with the intent to gain their business. Companies can speak directly to their target audience by mailing postcards, letters, catalogs, or other printed materials.

Direct mail is used to engage consumers with an attention-grabbing design, concise text, and a clear call to action that encourages them to interact with a brand. Keep reading to learn why direct mail is a powerful tool to integrate into your marketing strategy.


Why is Direct Mail Effective?

Despite being in an increasingly digital world, direct mail is one of the most effective forms of marketing. Why is one of the oldest forms of marketing still so powerful today?


  • Direct Mail has a High ROI

In terms of ROI, direct mail is unmatched. According to the findings from the 2021 Association of National Advertisers Response Rate Report, the average ROI of direct mail ranges from 85% to 112%, depending on the mail format. They found that letter-sized envelopes sent to prospect lists have the highest average ROI of 112%. This outperforms all other marketing mediums, including paid search and social media marketing, with an average ROI of 88% and 81%, respectively. With a stronger return than any other channel, direct mail is proven to be an effective marketing solution.


  • Direct Mail is Memorable

Direct mail is tangible, and in a digital world, each piece of mail is exciting and unforgettable. Sending a personalized mailer can also evoke an emotional response greater than other forms of direct marketing. A research study conducted by Epsilon found that 73% of consumers prefer direct mail as an advertising method because they can read the information at their convenience.


  • Direct Mail is Interactive

Direct mail has the power to take advantage of the human senses to create experiences that boost audience interaction. Incorporating coupons, digital integrations, and strong CTAs are all effective ways to boost response with direct mail. For example, a business sends a mail piece with a coupon that doubles as a fridge magnet. The recipient puts the magnet on their fridge and is reminded of their offer daily. These visual reminders finally prompt them to visit the store and use the coupon. By activating multiple senses with direct mail, your recipients are more likely to engage with your message.


  • Wider Reach

Everyone checks the mail, and because of that, direct mail reaches a larger audience than other forms of direct marketing. Mail reaches people of all ages and demographics, unlike email or social media channels, which may not be used by or are easily accessible to your entire audience.


  • Less Competition

Direct mail is less common because businesses are scaling back their physical marketing efforts in favor of digital marketing. This may not seem like a good thing, but it is quite the opposite! With fewer brands sending mail, your direct mailer has a better chance of standing out. The internet is full of marketing messages, and businesses have to compete for Google rankings. With direct mail, your message is guaranteed to reach your target audience.


How to Create Effective Direct Mail

  • Define Your Target Audience

Taking time to consider your target audience is a crucial step in generating a successful direct mail campaign. Review your product or service with your campaign goals to help you identify who is best suited to receive your mail piece. Then, select your audience based on demographics, interests, purchasing habits, and propensities. If you dedicate enough time to defining your audience, your campaign is more likely to have a higher ROI and engagement rate.


  • Have a Clear Call to Action

Every direct mailer needs an effective call to action that aligns with your campaign goals. Think about what you want your audience to do and communicate that in clear terms on your mail piece. This could include using a coupon code, downloading an app, or donating to a charity. Having a clearly defined call to action as the focal point of the mail piece prompts your recipients to act and engage with your brand.


  • Test and Adjust Based on Results

Before you invest in a widespread direct mail campaign, start by sending your direct mailer to a small sample audience. Track the response rate and effectiveness of the sample, then adjust and test again. These adjustments can include editing the creative, testing a new call to action, or changing your target audience demographics. Once you have determined a successful campaign strategy, you can expand to a larger audience for a full-scale mailing.


  • Combine with Digital Marketing

A common mistake in marketing is to not market across multiple channels. Restricting your efforts to only a single channel can result in a limited reach. Multi-channel customers also spend three to four times more than single-channel customers. To increase response rates, we recommend combining digital and print to spread your message across several channels. This ensures you reach your entire audience multiple times, keeping your brand top of mind.


  • Retarget Your Audience

Marketing efforts should not end once your mail is delivered to the post office. Not all consumers act on a single impression of a brand. Following up with your direct mail audience makes your prospects more likely to convert and re-engages your current customers. Tracking your responses also provides insight into which audience members are most likely to be receptive to future marketing.


Types of Direct Mail

There are a variety of direct mail formats that can be used to spread your brand’s message to your audience. To identify which type of mailer you should use, you must consider your target audience and campaign goals, then tailor accordingly. These are some of the most successful types of direct mailers:

  • Postcards

Postcards are one of the clearest and most cost-effective forms of direct mail. Since they do not need to be opened, your message is easily seen and remembered if it is paired with impactful, concise copy. If you want to quickly capture the attention of your audience, postcards are the best option. And because of their lower price point, the ROI on postcards can be higher than average.



  • Letters

Letters are a traditional form of direct mail that can be highly personalized to your recipient’s needs. Confidential information can also be easily shared and kept safe inside the envelope of a letter. We recommend using letters if your goal is to convey importance and professionalism and security.



  • Self-Mailers

Self-mailers are a great choice if your goal is to inform and attract new customers. This type of direct mailer is self-contained without the use of an outer envelope. They can effectively grab an audience’s attention with the use of compelling visuals and detailed information about your brand and services.



  • Catalogs

Catalogs are a popular form of direct mail that allows brands to showcase a wide array of products and services to their desired audience. They typically receive high engagement rates and are an excellent way to keep customers informed. For effective utilization, we recommend showcasing your best-selling products and current offers on the cover to pull in readers.



  • Dimensional Mailers

Dimensional mailers are an upgraded version of standard leaflets or brochures. Their attention-grabbing format results in significant open rates and high word-of-mouth value. These mailers are an effective option if you want to spark the interest of high-level business contacts.


Cost to Advertise through Direct Mail

The cost of a direct mail campaign varies depending on several factors, including the type of mailer, how many pieces you send, and any added services or digital integrations. Contact us today to get a quote for your upcoming direct mail project.


Direct Mail Maintains Relevance

Direct mail is one of the oldest forms of marketing, yet is still one of the most effective forms of marketing. If you want to spread your message to your audience in a highly targeted, cost-effective manner, we recommend incorporating direct mail into your marketing strategy.


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BY PRISMAMay 8, 2023

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