Still using direct mail? Boost your results with these 5 tips.

3 min read
April 21, 2015


In the age of digital, direct mail often gets a bad reputation. Printing and postage can be expensive. The ROI on direct mail is more difficult to measure than digital tactics. And all too often, the end recipient thinks of the print piece as “junk mail” – and it goes straight into the recycling bin.

Does this mean direct mail should be abandoned altogether? Not necessarily. Some industries may still enjoy strong results from direct mail, particularly if those direct mail campaigns are highly targeted and are integrated within a much larger multi-channel campaign.

So, if you are using direct mail, here are 5 tips to maximize your ROI through targeting, design and integrated, multi-channel marketing...

1. Identify the Right Marketing Objective.

If you’re working within a tight budget and want to maximize your direct mail ROI, then don’t use expensive direct mail for brand building or top-of-funnel awareness. There are more cost effective tools and strategies for that — like social media and inbound marketing. Instead, leverage direct mail for more bottom-of-funnel objectives like new sales or driving repeat customers.

2. Target Smartly: Segment Your List.

Get the most out of your direct mail investment by segmenting your list first. Then, modify your copy accordingly so it addresses persona-specific needs.

For example, perhaps the purpose of your direct mail campaign is to renew a service subscription. One possible segmentation is the following:

  • Customers who are coming up for renewal. Your messaging for this segment will include a reminder and a renewal call-to-action (CTA).
  • Customers who recently lapsed their subscription. Your messaging for this segment may include highlights on the unique value your service offers (e.g. your differentiator). Your CTA could include a special renewal offer.

By implementing this two-group segmentation, the business is far better positioned to speak to customers’ needs and offer the value they’re looking for.

3. Design Cleanly.

Don’t overload your print piece with a lot of unnecessary copy or excess imagery. You know that people are quick to sort through their “junk mail”, so make it incredibly easy for your recipient to know exactly what your message and ask is. Use headers and subheaders. Be sure your design and imagery reinforce your message.

4. Repurpose Assets for Use Across Multiple Channels.

Don’t just focus on direct mail. Build your campaign with an eye on the multiple ways you can reach existing and prospective customers: direct mail, email, social media, mobile, your website, to name a few. Now, take your core campaign message and adjust that message for appropriate use across each of your priority online and offline channels.

And don’t forget about integrating your campaign look-and-feel across channels. Design your assets with repurposing in mind. For instance, if your direct mail piece uses a buckslip, design the buckslip with a horizontal orientation so it can be repurposed for you Facebook cover photo, campaign email stationary, and campaign landing page hero image. Of course, each repurposed use will require some slight modifications. But overall, you’ll have cohesive campaign branding across multiple channels at a fraction of the cost of designing each asset separately.

5. Align Direct Mail and Email Segments (and timing!).

Build out email segmentations to mirror your direct mail audience segments. Then, launch a coordinated direct mail and multi-part email campaign across those targeted segments. Try timing your first email to send the day before your expected direct mail in-home date. Send the second email a day or two after the direct in-home date. Then, hold off for about a week and send the third email.

Of course, an important element to all this is that your message should be consistent, yet unique. Don’t ever send the exact same email message across all three sends. Instead, try weaving a story throughout the contact points – a series of mini-stories that hold up on their own, yet tell a larger story together.

How does your business integrate direct mail into cohesive multi-channel campaigns? Share your tips in the comment section below.