Seven Tips to Successful Direct Mail Marketing

By: Katarina Knoff

Statistics show that many SMB owners under that age of 35 have never even considered direct mail as a strategic part of their marketing plan. Nowadays, email, social media and other electronic communication have become a much more popular approach. These marketing techniques are faster, cheaper and more interactive than direct mail. So the question becomes, is there still value in direct mail marketing?

The answer –  yes, when used strategically and executed correctly. Here are some tips to succeed when planning for direct mail marketing for your SMB.


1. Stay True to the 40/40/20 Rule

Whenever you are creating a marketing plan, it is essential that you prepare, create a detailed plan and execute correctly. The 40/40/20 rule states that the ROI (return of investment) of your direct mail marketing is dependent on three different factors – 40% of success is a direct result of how effective your mailing list is, 40% depends on how compelling the offer is and how compelling your call to action is and 20% is a result of all the other aspects. Examples of other aspects would include design, imaging, delivery date and more. Use a marketing consultant for the one-time project if your brain doesn’t work this way! It’s worth the added investment to make sure this marketing effort yields the most successful results possible.


2. Understand that Design is Not the Most Important Aspect

As a rule of thumb, it is more important to take time putting together the offer and mailing list than it is to have the flashiest and eye-catching design. Although it is beneficial to put some time and effort into design, it is a common mistake for a mail marketing campaign to focus too much on the visual aspect and then scramble to put together the logistics. The overall goal is to gain new customers so it is very important to create a deal that will have that effect even if it means losing some money. You may have a lesser profit margin but have the potential to gain many new customers.


3. Focus on Defining Your Target Audience

If a company is selling denture cream, then it is unnecessary to be targeting an audience younger than 50 because that is not the majority of its customers. It is important to be strategic with who you are targeting because if not it has the potential to be a huge waste of money and resources.


4. Test the Market

According to, you should run several different tests with small tweaks to discover the most effective combination of offer, audience and design before launching the direct mail campaign.


5. Proofread and Quality Control

When deciding on the final mailing product, make sure it has gone through a process of proofreading and editing. Make sure to seek out trusted opinions because nothing gets a piece of mail thrown out like a typo or significant formatting error. You want the advertisement to reflect positively and professionally on the company.


6. Follow Up

Following up with customers who have utilized the direct mail service is as simple as sending a thank you note or adding them to a special VIP mailing list. It is important to track the people who are responsive to direct mail marketing for future efforts.


7. Drive Online Traffic

It will be beneficial to encourage online traffic with direct mail marketing as well. As useful as direct mail marketing can be, it is not a secret that online marketing has major benefits. For example, use the direct mail opportunity to also create sales of coupon codes that can be accessed with social media engagement to strengthen your platforms.