Direct Mail

How to Run a Direct Mail Campaign

By 20 October 2023May 2nd, 2024No Comments
direct mail campaign

How to Run a Direct Mail Campaign

Marketing campaigns are now even more complex than they ever were. Every marketing strategy employed today uses automation tools. These automation tools enable you to run complex marketing campaigns that stretch across different channels such as email, social media, and so on.

The digital medium offers excellent flexibility and convenience to the marketers that practically everyone has flocked around it. From a consumer point of view, one might even say that it has become a little too much. Just think about all the times your Email got filled with marketing emails.

direct mail campaign

Many of us have at some point given up an email ID simply because it was too exhausting to unsubscribe from all of them. As far as the customer is concerned, it is often easier to create a new email ID. We have already trained ourselves to ignore marketing messages via texts, emails, etc.

Therefore, it is no wonder that marketers are now turning back to direct mail campaigns. The direct mail marketing strategy has a higher response rate and ROI than most digital marketing strategies. The truth is sustainable and effective direct mail campaigns should not be overwhelmingly expensive.

Additionally, effective direct mail campaigns don’t cost you an arm and a leg. The direct mail marketing strategy also offers quick and reliable testing to get a fair idea in terms of the market response of a product/service.

But, running a direct mail campaign is not easy. You can improve your chances of success by using advanced direct mail automation tools like PostGrid. However, you would still need to learn how to run a direct mail campaign.

Mastering a direct mail marketing strategy will inevitably take a lot of experience. However, we have compiled an article that can help you get started and guide you away from making unnecessary mistakes. So, read on to find out how to run a direct mail campaign.

Why are Direct Mail Campaigns Still Relevant

Isn’t it surprising that the direct mail campaign is still very much popular despite not being a digital marketing strategy?

You must be wondering why many companies prefer using it when every company depends entirely on digital campaigns.

What’s even more interesting is that the direct mail campaign strategy only seems to be getting stronger with each passing day. There are several reasons why direct mail marketing campaigns are still relevant for businesses. The high open/response rate is one of the reasons for their continued popularity. Apart from that, it also has a higher return on investment (ROI).

For any marketer, the potential of a higher ROI is a big enough reason to invest in a direct mail campaign. However, there are several other reasons why you should employ a direct mail campaign for your business. Some of these reasons are discussed below.

Direct Mail Is Tangible and Interactive

Direct mail like postcards and letters is tangible. The customer can touch and feel the paper, and they have to take it out of their mailbox physically. It dramatically improves the customer’s chance to notice and open it, unlike a text or Email that can quickly go ignored.

Furthermore, you can use direct mail to include a coupon code that can be redeemed online or at your store. So, you can navigate potential customers to your desired channel (website or store) and also boost interactions.

Provides a More Memorable Experience

Remember the last hyper-personalized marketing email you got from your favourite brand?

You probably don’t, and that’s the thing about receiving messages via digital mediums. Digital channels like text messages and Email are not particularly memorable.

Whereas receiving direct mail that you can touch and feel is likely to ignite a feeling of nostalgia in the recipient. By creating a nostalgic feeling in the recipients, you can generate an emotional response from them.

As we all know, an emotional response is more likely to lead to a sale or conversion than a well-thought-out response. You can further enhance this connection with the recipient with personalization. Use the customer’s name or even a handwritten signature to personalize your direct mail.

Enables You to Access Wider Demographics

In theory, direct mail marketing is capable of reaching more people than digital marketing. However, this depends heavily on the target audience you set for the campaign. One of the reasons why direct mail can reach more people is that not everyone is on social media or has an email account.

So, how do you reach the target audience who does not have a significant presence in the online world?

Direct mail is the only feasible solution for such situations. Canada Post even offers neighbourhood mail which allows you to send targeted marketing mailers to specific areas without asking for an address.

Direct Mail Are More Creative

With today’s direct mail automation capability, you can get more creative with your direct mail campaign than ever before. You have practically limitless ways to combine your digital and direct mail strategy. Also, you can expand the reach of your campaign and your target audience.

For example, you can use direct mail’s high open/response rate for initial engagement with the prospects. You may then direct the prospective customers to your website or landing page using a PURL or QR code. Once the user reaches your website or landing page, you can make them fill a form or make a purchase.

There is Significantly Less Competition

Most companies have already given up on offline marketing strategies like direct mail. Although direct mail is gaining popularity, there are not many businesses out there experienced in running such offline marketing strategies.

It means that the competition in direct mail marketing is far less compared to digital marketing. As a result, it is easier for your business to get noticed via direct mail. You could even say that people are surprised at receiving direct mail these days and hence more effective than any other marketing strategy.

Also Read: What is the Bulk Mail Marketing Services

Advantages of Using Direct Mail Marketing Plan

There are several advantages of using a direct mail marketing plan. For example, you can use your marketing database or purchasable mail lists to run direct mail campaigns. It is highly convenient for marketers as getting their hands on the required data is not too hard.

That being said, using purchased lists could turn into a nightmare if the data quality is poor. You could end up with a significant number of undelivered or returned mail. As a result, all your money would go down the drain. However, this is easily avoidable if you use an address validation tool like PostGrid.

Apart from buying the required data for the campaign, there are several other advantages to direct mail services. Listed below are some of the reasons why you should learn how to run a direct mail campaign.

Precise Targeting

If you can get the targeting right for your direct mail campaign then, then you are already halfway there. It is not so easy to have precise targeting in most marketing strategies. However, direct mail marketing is an exception to this.

Direct mail campaigns let you target your recipients more precisely. As a result, you can get more responses and high-quality leads. Hence, the direct mail marketing strategy is fast gaining popularity, especially among smaller businesses.

Avoid an Overwhelming Response

Some marketing strategies, such as advertisements, may have unpredictable results. You could be aiming to generate 100 responses and end up generating 10 or even 1000 responses. Although the latter may seem appealing, it is not ideal for businesses to get an overwhelming response unless they can meet the high demand.

For small to mid-scale businesses, such an overwhelming response can do more harm than good. Suppose you are unable to deliver the product/service. In that case, it could ruin your relationship with the customer before it even begins.

Direct mail is targeted to individual addresses. Even with the most effective direct mail, it is unlikely that you will get an overwhelming response of such magnitude. Hence, you can ensure the credibility of your brand is undented through a direct mail campaign.


Direct mail campaigns can work for your business regardless of how big or small it is. You can create a direct mail marketing plan to fit your budget. If yours is a small business with modest resources, you can create a direct mail marketing plan that fits your business.

Furthermore, you can quickly minimize or maximize your target audience using the address database. You can also use different mailers such as postcards, letters, brochures, catalogues, etc. Postcard direct mail is perfect for reducing the cost as they use minimum paper and ink.

Test Different Offers

As we mentioned before, a direct mail marketing strategy is ideal for testing your marketing ideas, products and services. However, if you could only test one thing using direct mail, then it should be the value offering.

You can use direct mail to figure out the best offer that resonates with your target audience. For example, you can use AB testing to present different value offerings to two distinct groups. You can then examine the response for the various offers and use the one with better results.

You can try and optimize your direct mail with different offers through further testing. This type of testing is an iterative process by which you can find the ideal offer for your campaign. You may then use the same offer for pitching digital or multi-channel marketing campaigns.

Never Run Out of Prospects

One of the most prominent advantages of a direct mail campaign strategy is that it never runs out of prospects. You can simply find new niche markets for your direct mail campaigns based on numerous data such as demographics, age group, etc.

It means you could decide on potential customer clusters based on factors like geographic area and purchase a quality mailing list. In other words, you will never end up hitting a wall so long as you can think of a way out of it.

However, you shouldn’t make the mistake of choosing a random target audience. Make sure that you put your thought into deciding on a new market niche. You can even seek the help of a list broker or mailing consultant to figure out which market is worth targeting.

Sell Through Mail

The beauty of a direct mail marketing solution is that you can sell right through the mail if you want to. At the very least, you can get the customers to stop in. For example, let’s consider a B2B product; it usually involves a two-step process.

The first step is to get a response from the target audience. Therefore, the initial step is not under your control. But, you need to identify the target audience who is genuinely interested in your offer. You can do this easily if the prospect requests a catalogue, report, or sample.

At this point, you have already entered the lead generation phase. The next step is simple. All you have to do is send the prospects the requested material. You can then follow up via phone call/fax/e-mail or send additional materials via direct mail.

Also Read: Direct Marketing: What, Why, How and Examples

What is a Direct Mail Marketing Strategy?

A direct mail marketing campaign strategy involves sending a mailer to a business or home address through a postal delivery service like USPS. Like any other marketing strategy, direct mail marketing also uses promotional pieces or offers to generate responses.

Some of the most commonly used types of mailers for direct marketing strategy include the following.

  • Postcards
  • Flyers
  • Brochures
  • Letters
  • Catalogues

This type of direct mail marketing plan works like a charm in specific situations. For example, direct mail marketing is the ideal strategy for targeting specific demographics. You can target such demographics regardless of whether it is in the same neighbourhood or not.

Advanced Direct Mail Marketing Strategy

The direct mail strategy is not even remotely new. It has been around for almost as long as marketing itself. However, the direct mail marketing plan was eventually dropped by most companies as they turned to digital marketing.

Today direct mail marketing strategy is again taking center stage. You might wonder what has changed so much that direct mail marketing is again gaining popularity. Direct mail is re-entering marketing mainly because direct mail has a significantly higher response rate and ROI than digital marketing.

However, this was always the case and why businesses like real estate never gave up direct mail. Apart from this, advanced direct mail automation tools like PostGrid are also a reason for direct mail to gain popularity again.

Today you can automate the entire direct mail process with a tool like PostGrid. It means everything from personalization, printing, and delivery of mail can now be automated. Furthermore, you also get additional features like geocoding to target your audience better and generate more responses.

Also Read: Customer Onboarding Strategies

How to Understand Your Target Audience

The most crucial factor that can decide the fate of your direct mail marketing plan is the target audience. Your entire direct mail marketing strategy depends on how well you assess the target audience and their needs.

Asking Questions to Yourself About The Audience

As you know, there are different sources for getting address lists that let you target both businesses and consumers. However, you can not just choose any random address list as the audience for your direct mail campaign. Sending direct mail to random addresses could lead to significant financial loss and waste your resources.

You need to pick a list that has a higher chance of reaching the desired conversion goals. For this, you need to understand your audience better. And the best way to begin understanding your target audience is by asking questions about them and their needs.

Use Demographic Data to Your Advantage

The demographic data such as income, age, voter registration, and more can help you ensure that your audience fits the ideal buyer persona. You can even pick a list based on nuanced data such as the type of car they drive, their education level, and even their employment status.

Access to such detailed data reveals how well your target audience’s persona aligns with the ideal buyer persona. The closer this alignment, the better are your chances of generating a response and successful conversions.

Formulate Strategies Based on Target Audience

After gathering enough data on the target audience, you can analyze it to understand their requirements. But it is not enough that you understand the customer requirements. You need to formulate a strategy based on this data and your understanding of the target audience.

For example, a newly opened women’s beauty salon in Vancouver can send postcards to all households with women. Suppose the salon only intends to target women of a specific age group. In that case, they can do so with the help of quality data.

How to Design Your Direct Mail

The designing stage of your direct mail is a crucial one and may seem complicated at times. Once you understand your target audience and their requirements, you can move on to designing your direct mail.

Choose The Right Type of Mailer

First of all, you need to decide the type of mailer you want to use for your direct mail campaign. The popular choices of mailer types when it comes to direct mail campaigns include

  • Postcards
  • Flyers
  • Brochures
  • Newsletters

You must keep in mind that mailers like postcards have only limited space for content. However, it also means that you can minimize your expenses by using postcards. They require the least amount of paper, ink, etc.

So, if your primary concern is reducing the cost of the direct mail campaign, then postcard mail marketing is your best option. But, sometimes your first priority is to convey more details about the product/service to the customer. 

In such cases, you should go for a mailer type that can accommodate more content, like a brochure.

Use Unique And Effective Direct Mail Designs That Stand Out

You must make sure that the direct mail design you use does not come across as bland. The direct mail you send to the customer must stand out from the rest and grab the recipient’s attention. In other words, the direct mail design should excite the reader.

Using flat or boring-looking mailers could make the recipients chuck it into the trash can almost immediately. Adding lively colours and unique design elements is one way of grabbing the recipient’s attention. However, you shouldn’t go overboard as it can distract the reader from the more important aspects of the mailer such as the CTA.

Use Short Paragraphs And Bulleted Lists

No one wants to spend a big part of their day reading long paragraphs on your products/services. The customer may never know about your product’s exceptional capabilities because you described them using long paragraphs. 

It means your design should include short paragraphs and bulleted points that are easy to read and understand. Furthermore, you should also have high-resolution graphics such as charts and diagrams to convey the idea better.

Vital Elements in Your Direct Mail Design And How You Can Optimize Them

There are four vital elements in a direct mail design. You need to optimize all four of them to ensure that your postcard has a unique design that can grab the recipient’s attention. The four vital elements in your direct mail design are as follows:

  • Images
  • Fonts
  • White Space
  • Call-to-Action

So, how can you ensure that these four elements of your direct mail are optimized? Fear not, because we will help you understand the ins and outs of how you can optimize and use all four details in your direct mail below. 


What is the first thing you notice on a postcard or an article? For most people, the answer to this question would be the images. So, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that the pictures are the most vital part of your direct mail design. 

Images or graphics can quickly grab the attention of the recipient. Therefore, it would be a terrible mistake not to include pictures in your direct mail design. Use high-resolution images which can pique the interest of the reader. You can even try going for funny or witty photos to ensure that the recipient reads the rest of the mail. 


Although it may surprise some of you, the font you use in your direct mail design plays a vital role in your campaign’s success. When creating a direct mail design, you should be careful to stick with no more than two typefaces for the fonts. 

Using different and funky fonts may grab the attention of the reader but may end up making your mailer look less professional. However, you can use different font sizes to highlight the important points in your mailer. It can significantly enhance the readability of your mailer and make it look more organized.

White Space

White space is something that often goes ignored in many of the direct mail designs. It is the empty space between the various design elements in your direct mail. These white spaces are provided on the mailers for a reason.

White space plays a vital role in ensuring that your mail is not cluttered with too many design elements and every element is in the right proportion. Imagine reading a flyer jam-packed with all sorts of design elements like images, charts, pointers, and more. Such a flyer or direct mail will likely make the reader feel overwhelmed.

What’s even worse is that overcrowded or cluttered direct mail is hard to understand. Most readers would not even bother to read a direct mail letter with little or no white space. Therefore, you should ensure good use of white space in your direct mail.


Call-to-Action or CTA is important in all forms of written marketing strategies, whether physical or digital. A clear CTA is a must for your direct mail design. The CTA must specify the following action the reader should make after reading your direct mail.

Never leave the reader wondering what their next move should be after reading the direct mail. You can include a coupon or a QR code/PURL to take them to a landing page or even provide a toll-free number. 

How to Use Value-Added Promotions For Your Direct Mail Campaigns

Value-added promotions are a huge part of direct mail campaigns. Although they are not always necessary, it is best to incorporate them for better results. It is hard to meet your direct mail goals if you don’t use a value-added promotion.

Incentives such as sales, coupons, promotions, or bonuses can easily appeal to the target audience. By providing such incentives, you are giving the recipient a reason to make the purchase then and there. So, you need to make sure that whatever incentive you are offering the customers is relevant or useful.

You need to ensure that the offer you put forward provides value to the customers. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask yourself whether you would take the deal. If you feel like the reader won’t take the deal despite the offer, you should probably come up with a better offer.

Ensure The Value-Added Offers Are Measurable

You must ensure that the value-added offer in your direct mail is measurable whether you use coupons or promotions. The best way to do this is to include a code to measure your campaign. It will help you determine whether the campaign is a success or if it needs further improvements.

Furthermore, you can use a QR code to guide the customers to your online store or landing page. You may then use your website’s existing analytics tool to access more profound insights. By doing so, you can better optimize your value-added offers and direct mail campaign.

Look at Your Direct Mail Campaign From The Customer's Perspective

When creating direct mail for your business, you must always take a step back and look at it from the customer’s perspective. It’s not necessary that the customers feel the same way about the mailer as you do.

Therefore, it is essential to consider how the customer reacts to your direct mail before sending it to them. There are a few ways through which you can ensure that your direct mail connects with your target audience and some of them are listed below.

Easily Noticeable CTA

Read the direct mail that you have prepared and check whether your CTA is front and center. Suppose you feel like you can’t stay objective in your opinion on the CTA you created. You may try getting the opinion of someone outside your organization. 

It means you can get the opinion of your friends or even family members on the CTA you created. The more insights you get, the better you can make your CTA. You must examine the colour palettes used in the mailer to ensure that attention is not drawn away from the CTA.

Strong Value Offer

The next thing you need to analyze is the value offer included in the direct mail. Check whether the offer sounds convincing enough for the recipient to take the desired action. Here also you can check with others who work inside and outside your firm and get their opinion.

There is no point in providing an offer that the prospect does not find valuable. It might even be better not to give a value offer if you do not feel the offer’s value is subpar. One of the best ways to ensure the strength of the proposal is to conduct surveys. It provides reliable data on what offers can and can not work on your target audience.

Quality Printing And Credible Branding

The quality of the paper and ink you use plays a more prominent role in the success of your direct mail campaign than you’d think. You wouldn’t trust a brand’s credibility that sends direct mail using flimsy paper and poor-quality printing, would you? The same goes for your prospects or potential customers.

The chances are that the recipients who are not well-familiar with your brand will judge your brand’s credibility based on the printing quality. So, you should outsource the printing of your direct mail to a reliable printer like PostGrid.

Specialized service providers like PostGrid use certified printers and top-quality ink that ensures best-in-class direct mail printing.

How to Come up With a Plan of Action For Your Direct Mail Campaign

The first rule of a direct mail campaign is to never rush the process from beginning to end. Make sure that you give yourself adequate time to plan and prepare the direct mail. A captivating direct mail is not easy to create. The time you invest in it is just as vital as the money you spend on it.

Take Your Sweet Time

Think of direct mail as a personal letter like a Christmas postcard you send to your loved ones. Would you settle for a generic quote you can get from the internet to send to your closest friends and family? No, you will take your time and pour effort into writing that letter.

Similarly, you must take your time to understand your customer and personalize the mailer. Additionally, you need time to finalize the design, print it, and deliver it to the customer. Take all these factors into consideration before you decide on a delivery time for a specific campaign.

Personalize Your Direct Mail

If you target past customers and leads, you should analyze their previous purchases and provide them personalized offers. The more personalized your direct mail, the better it can connect with your prospective customers.

You must at least personalize your direct mail enough to include the prospect’s name. If you don’t address the recipient by their name, then it just ends up sounding robotic. As a result, you could end up losing potential customers on the very first line of your direct mail.

Consider The Holiday Seasonal Rush

An important note you must remember about postal delivery is that direct mail may get delayed during the holiday season. Canada Post often deals with a mind-blowing number of direct mail during the holidays, particularly around Christmas and New Year.

Due to the overload of mail, the delivery may get delayed by days or even weeks. Many companies offer discount sales during the holiday season. So, if you plan on running a holiday campaign, you should start your direct mail process earlier than usual. 

Use an Automated System to Speed up Your Direct Mail Process

If you have ever wondered about the most efficient way to speed up your direct mail process, then the answer is automation. You can use advanced direct mail automation solutions like PostGrid to speed up all your manual processes.

Systems like PostGrid can be easily connected to your CRM and used to personalize your direct mail. Automating the personalization process alone can save you a whole lot of time. Furthermore, the printing and delivery processes can also be automated, which saves you even more time.

PostGrid also offers an address validation API which you can use to verify addresses. A confirmed address from PostGrid includes the complete postal code and is deliverable via Canada Post. The full postal code avoids any unnecessary delays from the postal service provider. As a result, you can speed up your direct mail campaigns.


Direct mail marketing is slowly rising in popularity as more and more businesses are incorporating it into their campaigns. The numerous advantages of direct mail marketing are way too enticing for any marketer to ignore. However, most companies are left wondering how to run a direct mail campaign.

The best way to run a direct mail campaign today is to employ a powerful direct mail automation system like PostGrid. Using an automated system enables you to personalize, print, and deliver direct mail without any manual intervention.

PostGrid’s ability to connect with your CRM and personalize your direct mail makes it a perfect tool for your direct mail campaign. You can also use PostGrid’s API to validate addresses using Canada Post’s official address database. It even provides you with a complete postal code to avoid any delays in delivering your direct mail.