Issue 3

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Direct Mail, which in my opinion should be called Targeted Mail, is still a great way to attract attention, give information and move people to action where your product or service is concerned.

Think of the many kinds of direct mailing pieces which should advance your company’s message each time they are sent: appointment confirmations, thank you notes, information/facts sheets, newsletters, brochures, invoices, holiday greetings, marketing letters, flyers, article reprints, invitations, new product/service announcements, fax cover sheets, e-mail signature…. And these are not all of the so many opportunities to present your clear and consistent message.


To whom are you sending these pieces?

  1. Current clients come first because the best business comes from current customers and referrals.
  2. Your own list of potential clients gathered from business cards, inquiries, networking…
  3. A purchased list of potential clients which can be narrowly defined by specific parameters– zip code, number of children of specific ages in family, income level, education level, frequent buyers of specific products, hobbyists. This is where you define your target market.


  1. Make the message and the call to action very clear and simple to understand and act on.
  2. Think carefully about the benefits of your product/service to the person who is receiving the piece. That’s what you want to sell!
  3. Do not throw everything about your company into this piece. Focus on one product/service/theme and tell about other aspects of your company in subsequent mailings.
  4. Ask yourself—what is the point of this direct mail campaign?
    • To remind current customers that you and your services are very much alive
    • To cross sell to existing customers by presenting a new offer/product/service
    • To attract new customers by giving them information about your company for current or future action
    • Any of the reasons for sending the pieces mentioned in the beginning of this PR Tip
  5. DOING ONLY ONE PIECE of postal mail is generally useless as research shows that these days it takes 12-15 impressions before your product registers in the mind of the consumer. Don’t even begin a campaign unless you are committed to several mailing pieces/other types of contact and follow up!


What should the piece look like? In this message filled world we inhabit with so many “things” assaulting our senses, what will make us take a second look at a piece of mail?

  1. Hand addressed or made to look like it
  2. A real return address
  3. The name and address of the recipient spelled CORRECTLY
  4. A teaser on the address side which would make the recipient want to open the piece – this information may be the “answer” or “solution” to their problem or pain
  5. Use a stamp, not bulk mail to avoid the look of mass mailing.
  6. Take the time to get the name of the right contact and personalize your piece—no Dear Marketing Director, Business Owner…
  7. You don’t have to have a give-away in your mailing, but if you do, make sure it is a real benefit to the customer and that, on the other hand, you aren’t giving away too much.
  8. Use eye appealing colors; easy to read type faces; no screaming; lots of white space; the important stuff only in bold.
  9. Check with the United States Postal Service re the cost of postage for various size envelopes and weight of envelope plus contents.
  10. Also check with USPS for any necessary coding and the placement of it on the envelope.
  11. Seriously consider using a postcard for one or more of your direct mail pieces. There is no envelope to open; the message is right in front of the recipient. Oversized and in color is very eye-catching.


  1. You will need to do different things to continue to make impressions.
  2. How many pieces should you mail at one time? Mail in small batches (no more than 500) BECAUSE
    • If you are going to do telephone follow up, you may not have time to cover all of your prospects in a timely manner so that they remember they got your mailing.
    • Be sure to have enough staff and product to fulfill the requests that the mailing may generate—be prepared for success!

Lightspeed Research recently found that 42% of marketing professionals say direct mail is the best advertising vehicle for proving Return on Investment (ROI). It is also the preferred method among US consumers for receiving information from a company. So, go ahead and do it and do it right!

For informative tips on sending direct mail through email, check out this article from Set Now Solutions – “Email Marketing: Creative Success Secrets.”

Read other PR Tips.