Top 5 Most Effective Direct Mail Examples that Will Work for Your Business Now

Direct mail is a powerful and arguably underused marketing tool. It’s cost-effective, has a great return on investment, and holds the attention of its target recipients far longer than digital marketing.

Top 5 Most Effective Direct Mail Examples that Will Work for Your Business Now

Direct mail is making a comeback at the height of the digital age. This is especially true in the era of COVID – more consumers are tired of looking at screens and a walk to the mailbox is now a form of welcomed exercise rather than a grumble-inducing chore.

Not only does direct mail command more attention and confident recall from recipients than digital ads, combining the two mediums can result in conversion rates as high as 40%.

As a business owner, you’ve likely (and understandably) got questions about the effectiveness of direct mail – questions like whether or not it will fit into your budget, what options you have, which formats will result in the most success, and how ornate your mail pieces need to be.

You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers.

Question: What kind of direct mail can I send?

Answer: Direct mail campaigns are not one-size-fits-all. There are several options to choose from.

Depending on the type of business or organisation you run, you have several different options for direct mailers. The top 5 most effective direct mailers are postcards, letters, flyers, catalogues, and magazines.

Direct Mail Postcards

Direct mail postcards are one of the most recognisable examples of direct mail pieces and are used most frequently of all direct mail types. These are especially effective for raising brand or company awareness or for announcing the availability of new products or services.

Postcard mailers are popular among real estate agents hoping to find new clients looking to buy or sell a home. They’re also an effective marketing tool for publicising a home newly on the market or open house tours.

Postcard direct mailers are extremely affordable. Postage costs are low thanks to their simplicity and weight.

Effective postcards should include:

  • Relevant images that connect with the content of the postcard.
  • Clear and concise copy to communicate your message – simplicity is key.
  • A specific and uncomplicated call to action to which prospective customers or clients can respond.

Direct Mail Letters

Direct mail letters are a fantastic way for charities and nonprofit organisations to elicit donations or for B2C companies to sell products. They’re so effective, in fact, they’re the second-most popularly used format chosen for direct mail marketing campaigns.

Including reply devices such as a self-addressed and postage-paid envelope, postcard, or accompanying coupons make direct mail letters especially effective. These inclusions create very clear calls to action and entice donors and consumers to act immediately.

Effective direct mail letters should include:

  • A single-page personalised letter to recipients in a conversational tone.
  • Clear and concise copy – avoid any jargon – explaining the reason the mailer is being sent to them specifically.
  • Reply devices such as self-addressed envelopes or fillable postcards that can be mailed back to your company. (BONUS: Pre-paying for return postage can increase your recipient response rate by as much as 26%.)
  • Alternatively, coupons or special offers will entice your recipients to visit your brick-and-mortar store or website to shop or donate.

Direct Mail Flyers

Direct mail flyers are often used by grocery stores and other retailers to advertise sales and the arrival of new products. Thanks to their bright and glossy finish, they’re very eye-catching and easily stand out in a stack of mail.

These colorful mailers are perfect for targeting an audience in a specific location because they’re generally sent en masse to specific postal codes. Direct mail flyers are ideal for local small and mid-sized businesses.

Effective direct mail flyers should include:

  • A simplified explanation of your message Don’t overcomplicate things by writing a letter. Think of this as a big postcard!
  • A clear call to action and a definitive expiration date to inspire a sense of urgency.
  • Appropriate (but not overwhelming) images to accompany your copy.

Direct Mail Catalogues and Magazines

People still love getting their Canadian Tire, The Bay, and Toys R Us catalogues. Brand-centric magazines like Air Canada’s enRoute are a familiar staple on flights.

Sales catalogues and print magazines may often be thought of as marketing strategies of the past, but they’re making a major comeback for good reason: According to the Data and Marketing Association’s 2018 Statistical Fact Book report (released in January 2019), catalogue response rates rose that year as much as 170%.

Thoughtfully-designed and beautifully-printed direct mail magazines and catalogues are a great way to cut through the digital marketing noise. A recent study by Canada Post found that your potential customers will give their attention to your booklet for as much as 118% longer than they would a digital ad or a digital catalogue or magazine you might send to your email list.

Effective direct mail catalogues and magazines should include:

  • High-quality images and photographs. Whether they’re product photos or stock images, this is not the time or place to cut corners on image quality.
  • Well-written, longer-form detailed copy. Unlike postcards, letters, or flyers, direct mail catalogues are a place where you can get a little “wordy” and really describe the features and benefits of your product or services. Likewise, in direct mail magazines, well-written, longer articles of interest will pique your potential clients’ curiosity and draw them in.
  • High-quality paper and ink. While we wouldn’t suggest going with the “cheapest” option for any of your direct mail campaigns, sending out direct mail magazines and catalogues is truly a moment to put your best foot forward and utilise higher-quality materials.

Q: Does my direct mail piece have to be fancy to be effective?

A: Take our expert word for it: In the world of direct mail marketing, fancy does not necessarily equal success.

You may have seen other direct mail examples across the web that look really beautiful and downright cool, but those are produced for high-ticket campaigns and not in everyone’s budget (nor are they often sent on a large scale).

The two most important components of your direct mail campaign are that it be both informative and enticing – but when we say “enticing,” we’re not talking mega-fancy.

Creating an Informative Direct Mail Marketing Campaign

How much and what kind of information you include in your direct mail campaign depends specifically on what kind of mail piece you send to your list.

The important thing to remember is to get to the point quickly. Even when you’re “allowed” to use more text to explain your position or reasoning, such as in a direct mail catalogue or magazine, your recipients will want to know your main idea early in the content. Use the rest of the available space to extrapolate, but state your point near the top or beginning of your page or section.

Creating an Enticing Direct Mail Marketing Campaign

While you do want to showcase your expertise and attention to detail, you don’t want to break your budget by mailing overly-complicated or expensive direct mail campaigns.

Instead, worry about choosing high-quality materials and designing your mail piece with a specific end-goal in mind. Use that goal to choose appropriate images, concisely and clearly state your reason for sending your campaign, and communicate a specific call to action.

So, is direct mail marketing effective? Yes. Different marketing goals call for different mail piece formats, but all are within reach and easily accessible.

As you plan your next marketing campaign for your business, consider how integrating direct mail postcards, letters, flyers, or magazines and catalogues can help boost your sales and increase brand awareness.