3 Simple Ways to Improve Direct Mail Marketing Efforts

By using these simple strategies, you can create direct mailers that excite and engage your prospects.

Although the Internet has drastically changed the face of marketing, savvy small business owners can still reach prospects and generate sales through direct mail marketing.

In many cases, we’re seeing direct mail marketing as more effective than email or banner ad marketing because there is less competition. Instead of competing with a hundred other emails or image ads, you only compete with a small stack of bills and junk mail. It’s not uncommon for a return on investment to exceed 100 percent . . . not too shabby.

In order to grab recipients’ attention and compel them to buy from you, though, it is important to craft your direct mail pieces carefully. It doesn’t have to be difficult to create a winning piece that gets attention.

Here are a few direct mail marketing tips to get you started:


  1. Drag Out the Pen and Paper

    What do you do when you get a piece of marketing in the mail? Toss it to the side? Does it even make it in the house before hitting the trash? Here’s a tip that works every time: The first goal of direct mail is to get your envelope opened. So here’s a trick: Write the addresses by hand.

    Most direct mail marketers use printed labels or envelopes with printed addresses when sending direct mail pieces. It might be cheaper and faster, but your pieces will end up being nothing more than junk mail. Handwritten envelopes spark curiosity because they are unusual. Prospects naturally want to know what’s inside.

    Less than 1 in 100 recipients will throw away a hand-addressed letter without opening it. If you want to get the word out about a special offer, a new product, or the grand opening of a new store location, this is the route to take.

  2. Opt for Variable Printing

    If you walk into a meeting and are handed a stack of papers just like everyone else, do you feel special? Of course not. Now, if the attendant addressed you by name, and your name was on those papers, you may feel far more important. That’s what variable printing allows.

    You can also use variable printing to insert the prospect’s name, location, and other data into the body of the letter. This extra step of personalization makes recipients feel more special – and if you can make your customers feel more special, you’re already more than halfway to the sale!

  3. Pay Attention to the Layout

    Here are some must-do tips for layout. This isn’t the place to mess up – especially now that you have your readers in the envelope and feeling good about your letter: Use a font large enough to make it easy to read. Big, important messages and points should be larger than other details.

    Don’t use big paragraphs of text. Break it up into small sections. People don’t read long letters, but skim them for information. Also, use a bulleted list. People are naturally attracted to reading bullets, so highlight the most important points.

    Use images, but not too many. You don’t want there to be so many images that the prospect is only looking at the pictures. And one of my favorites: Feel free to use highlighting and handwritten notes in the margin. This drastically improves readership, as it feels more personal.

By using these simple strategies, you can create direct mailers that excite and engage your prospects. As you test and refine your marketing mailers, you can turn a higher percentage of your prospects into satisfied buyers.


Known as “The Entrepreneur’s Marketing Champion,” Charles Gaudet offers more than just business and marketing advice – he helps entrepreneurs push beyond what is considered “ordinary” to build great companies. His advice has appeared in worldwide media such as Forbes, Inc. and Business Insider. He’s the author of “The Predictable Profits Playbook”, an international speaker and business coach. A version of this post originally appeared on the author’s blog.


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