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5 Tips for Improving Your Direct Mail

5 Tips for Improving Your Direct Mail

direct-mailDoes it shock you to learn that Americans throw away 44% of their unopened mail?  If you consider what comes inside your home and work mailboxes every day, you can relate to this statistic.

Good news! Done well, direct mail works

When done well, direct mail is a marketing workhorse. As an “intrusive” format, it’s a gentle tap on the shoulder delivered via your mailbox that online activities can’t provide.

The proof is in the numbers. Response rates for direct mail are through the roof. The 2015 DMA Response Rate Report shows that it has a response rate of 3.7% with a house list and 1% with a prospect list. On average, email response rates sit at just 0.1% for both house and prospect lists. Not only is the response rate higher than email, it’s faster too.

According to a statistic published by the  Data and Marketing Association, business to business direct mail is 37 times more effective than email. That means you could send an email once a week for 36 weeks to your prospect and it won’t get opened.

Moving from “toss” to “keep”

If your company depends on business from other companies, you likely have some type of direct marketing strategy in place. It’s also likely that you already have a segmented and targeted mailing list of customers and/or prospects. So you can check that off your direct mail “must do” list.

Whether you choose to send a postcard, traditional letter or a three-dimensional package ,your mailing must stand out to get opened.  There are many tricks and tools of the trade out there to help fine tune your direct mail.

Here are five of the best direct mail tips I’ve found to get you started.

Tip #1 Make it personal

One thing that really sets one direct mail piece apart from another is personalization. This goes beyond a name and address for today’s sophisticated direct mail marketer. Now, using variable data printing (VDP) technology, you can target and engage a recipient with an offer, image, gift card or envelopes that are totally customized and appropriate to their unique needs.

Tip #2   Use engaging visual elements

Great direct mail should make you curious about what’s inside. In a perfect world, you may even feel a tingle of excitement when you open it.

  • Keep words to a minimum and use color and other visual elements
  • Select visually exciting photos and graphics
  • Use your already-created logos and brand colors – your brand’s unique messengers

Consider colors and how they affect emotions. Cools (relaxing and refreshing) and warms (energizing and exciting). Sometimes more isn’t necessarily better. Consider the company and the product and what you want conveyed with color choice.

Click here to see great direct mail pieces and order samples:

Tip #3   Consider other senses too

Simple changes in paper stock and finishes can make your pieces feel different that anything else in the recipient’s mailbox.  

Coating is key to providing a finished, professional look that adds the final polish.The right finish on your direct mail piece will enhance your message – from bright and shiny gloss to soft and warm matte.

Did you know you can even add scent to direct mail? There are companies that specialize in scent activation. Check out Packaging, direct mail, catalogs and handouts can all be customized with scent.

Tip #4  Use a clear call-to-action (CTA)

Don’t make the mistake of omitting a clear and easy call-to-action. An essential component of any effective direct mail piece is to tell your customers exactly what to do for your offer and what you’re going to do for them.

Offer a shortened or personalized URL (PURL) or a scannable QR code so customers can easily visit your website to get the full message. Include your social media as well, but take care not to overload them with multiple requests to “Visit our website,” “Like us on Facebook,” and “Follow us on LinkedIn.”

Stand #5  Stand out with size

According to the Direct Marketing Association, dimensional mail consists of mail that’s more than .75 inches thick. It can be a tube, box or 3D mailer. The idea here is to peak someone’s curiosity, so they open the mailer. This can be an extremely creative way to stand out. It’s best to check first with the USPS guidelines on direct mail and keep updated on new programs and regulations.

  • Consider using an oversized postcard that could really stand out from everything else delivered on a given day.
  • Check the USPS – you can mail up to a 12” x 15” postcard.

For more information on USPS Approved Materials, click here.

Tip #6  Go Interactive

Want an even better direct mail tip? Try interactive mail. Interactive envelopes and mailers are a form of art that involves the recipient in a way that allows the envelope or mailer to achieve its purpose. These types of interactions achieve higher response rates by letting the user participate with the messaging, while simultaneously influencing the course of response (cited from MailShark

EnvyPak has unlimited capabilities to help with the creation of effective envelope and mailer designs that work to enhance messaging through interactive experiences. You can select from stock crystal-clear envelopes, or customize your own piece according to size and design. Single color to full-color graphics can be printed directly onto polypropylene envelopes, allowing for one-of-a-kind inserting and interacting.

Additionally, EnvyPak mailers are made with USPS-approved materials. No more worrying about the security of your contents and whether or not they  will be protected and delivered safely.

Click here to see interactive envelopes in action:

Ready to go interactive?

If you’re ready to try a marketing tool that packs an extra punch, and can increase response rates for your clients and their customers, contact EnvyPak. They offer a full suite of optional services, from product design to delivery. You’ll join other prestigious brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Citibank, Bass Pro Shops and many more.

Contact EnvyPak at 1-800-835-3052 or send an email to

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