Not so long ago, everyone predicted that the digital communication would put a stake in the heart of direct mail. As it turns out, everyone was wrong. Direct mail does just fine with open rates that dwarf email.
It’s the overwhelming volume of digital communication we all face on a daily basis. Every website, every publication, and every organization sends emails out to their mailing list. These days, that can mean you get dozens of emails a day every day.
It’s no wonder that many people treat their inboxes like something they should avoid except when absolutely necessary. In the meantime, the amount of first-class mail sent in the US has plummeted over 40% since 2000.
With so much less mail arriving, people pay more attention to what they get. So what direct mail marketing ideas will attract eyeballs to your marketing messages.
1. Personalized Mail
Personalized mail is always a good starting place. Personalizing a mail piece isn’t a complicated process. Rule one: use the person’s actual name.
In this day and age of customer data gathering, there’s really no excuse for starting any mail with the phrase, “Dear Sir/Madam.” You have that information, so use it.
Also mention any previous interactions, like a prior subscription or attendance at an event.
You can take things up a level here by using certified mail labels. Certified mail gets immediate attention.
Interested in using certified mail labels? You can learn more here.
2. Dimensional Mail
People have a lot of practice at throwing away envelopes. Almost no one throws away a box or mailing tube without opening it.
Using dimensional mail improves the odds that you’ll get your marketing message into the person’s hands. Getting it into someone’s hands makes it a lot more likely they’ll read and respond to it.
3. Long Form Sales Letters
Long form sales letters remain one of the best tools in the marketer’s box for high-value sales. Long form sales letters offer several advantages, such as:
- you can fully explain benefits or features
- you can address every objection
- you detail the pain points you solve
- you can sell yourself as the right choice
- you ensure all the information is accurate
Long form copy only works if you get it right, so make sure you structure it with all the essential elements.
4. Tactile Mail
Ever pick up a piece of expensive paper? It feels different in your hand.
Most mail still gets printed out on cheap 20-pound bond paper. Think of your last utility bill. It’s immediately recognizable as cheap paper.
Using a better quality of paper transmits a subtle message of quality and prestige. It encourages the person to pay attention, even if they can’t immediately pin down why.
It’s often enough to get someone to open the envelope. After that, your sales message must do the work.
5. QR Codes and PURLs
Sometimes, simplicity wins the day over extravagance. Enter QR codes and PURLs or personalized URLs.
QR codes are those funny square barcodes you often see on magazines that lead you to expanded content. Personalized URLs provide much the same service. You can slap them onto a postcard and drop it in the mail with a minimum of extra copy.
Marketers can use these to encourage people to visit for a personalized offer. These come with the added bonus that they make tracking responses much easier.
6. Pop-Up Mailer
Anyone with kids knows about pop-up books. You turn the page and part of the scene springs up to create a faux 3D effect.
If you’re in the right business, you can use the same approach. A gym, for example, could have a pop-up of someone on a treadmill. An interior designer could use a pop-up of a perfectly decorated room.
The unusual nature of the mailer makes it stick in people’s minds. Even if you don’t get an immediate response, you stand a good chance of being top of mind when the person makes a purchase decision.
7. Promotional Items
Promotional items make an excellent direct mail strategy because it accomplishes a couple things. An item gives you the “bumpy envelope” effect. People open envelopes that feel like they contain something.
If you pick the right item, you can also reinforce name recognition. Send things that will get frequent use like thumb drives or magnetic calendars. The recipient sees your name or logo, which cements you in their memory.
8. 3D Printed Items
A variation on the promotional item is a 3D printed item. 3D printing lets you make almost anything you want within reason.
Consider items like a keychain or coaster with your business name or logo printed in sunk relief. The sunk relief provides some texture and makes it stand out visually. Those are also daily use items, so you get the benefit of repeat exposure.
9. Audio Message Cards
Most people have at least seen a singing card that someone got for their birthday. While whimsy is the usual purpose, you can get audio cards custom made for your own purposes.
You can record a message inviting select recipients to visit a website or attend an event. The novelty of the approach can make it a winner for getting responses.
10. Oversized Envelopes
Another basic but effective strategy is the oversized envelope. This approach operates on the principle that different gets noticed.
That one giant envelope stands out against a stack of envelopes made to a standard size. The recipient sees it and, with luck, curiosity will get them to open the envelope. You can add some enticement copy onto the envelope that encourages opening it.
Parting Thoughts on Direct Mail Marketing Ideas
Direct mail is still alive and kicking. Even better, you can make use of one or several direct mail marketing ideas to promote your business.
You can use the different-is-noticeable approach with high-quality paper, oversized envelopes, or dimensional mail. Audio cards benefit from their infrequent use.
You can personalization and long form sales letters if you want text doing the heavy lifting. Promotional items or 3d printed items can encourage people to open the envelope to see what’s inside.
The core of good direct mail is standing out. Find a way to stand out and you’re halfway home.
Looking for more business advice? Check out our post on winning negotiating tactics.