• Jonathan Harmon

The Ultimate Guide to Direct Mail Marketing

Updated: Dec 17, 2020


In the age of digital marketing, direct mail marketing may seem old-fashioned, but smart marketers use all of the tactics available to reach marketing goals and direct mail is a time-tested way to reach customers and prospects.

Read on to learn more about direct mail and how you can use it to help your business succeed.


Direct marketing platform MailChimp defines direct mail marketing as, "a type of direct marketing that’s delivered physically to a prospect’s mailbox through the United States Postal Service or other delivery service."

Direct Mail Examples

Examples of direct mail include the following:

  • Postcards

  • Flyers

  • Catalogs

  • Coupon packs

Why Should I Use Direct Mail to Market My Business?

As more advertising continues to move online, you may be surprised to learn that direct mail is becoming more effective at driving sales.

According to a recent report from the Data & Marketing Association, direct mail response rates are 9% for house lists and 4.9% for prospects.

By comparison, email, paid search, and social media all have a 1% average response rate and online display has only a .3% response rate.

In a world of easily ignored, overstuffed email inboxes, your prospect's physical mail box is a great place for your message to stand out, letting you:

  • identify new customers

  • reconnect with inactive former customers

  • target new prospects

  • inform existing customers

Common Direct Mail Marketing Pitfalls to Avoid

Direct mail can be a very effective way to help you and your business reach your marketing goals, but the following mistakes can cause your efforts to misfire.

Undersized Creative

While traditional mail volume has shrunk through the years as email has gained popularity, your prospects still receive lots of mail and your piece needs to get noticed.

A standard postcard is too small, to stand out from the crowd, use larger sized mailing pieces to grab your prospects attention.

Insufficient Planning

Pressure to create a quick-fix for lagging sales may tempt you to throw together a mailing piece without planning and preparation.

Unfortunately, giving into the temptation to wing-it will only waste money and leave you worse off.