The Ultimate Direct Mail Marketing Guide

March 2021

With more and more businesses choosing to invest in direct mail marketing, it is important to make sure you plan your campaign effectively in order for it to be as successful as possible. With so many options, it can be hard to know how to set up a direct mail campaign and where to begin. To help you prepare, Posthub has created a simple direct mail marketing checklist to support the planning process so you don't miss a trick.

Things that need to be defined:

1. What is my marketing objective?

When planning to send a postal campaign, it is first important to determine what is exactly you are wanting to achieve. For example, is the direct mail marketing campaign objective to:

  • Create more prospective sales or leads for the business?
  • Create a direct sales opportunity, where the recipient can buy an item directly following receipt?
  • Improve brand awareness or maintain existing customer relationships?

The intention of your campaign will massively influence how you choose to run your campaign, from the design you choose to the timeline.

2. Will my mail be unaddressed or addressed?

Unaddressed Mail:

There is the opportunity to deliver items unaddressed with door-drop media. This can allow more creative freedom than addressed mail, as the item does not need to carry an address. Targeting is carried out by audience demographics and specific geographical areas. No use of personal data is needed within the targeting of the campaign or within the mailing item

Addressed Mail:

Postal items that are addressed are typically referred to as direct mail, a mailshot or direct mailing. The recipients for campaigns are based on individuals that meet specific audience criteria. These criteria can be based on demographics, geography or customer data.  Addressed mail is a data-driven media channel and the secure, responsible, and accurate use of data is fundamental to the success of any postal campaign. 

Partially addressed:

Partially addressed mail offers a GDPR compliant way of reaching specific audiences and homes. Items are targeted using demographic and specific geography and items use the postal address information (street, town, county and postcode) but do not need to show the personal details of the recipient’s name.

Partially addressed mail is a hybrid of both unaddressed door drop media and traditional direct mail.

3. Who is my target audience?

Your direct mail marketing campaign will need to connect to your specific audience. These are the people you plan to communicate your message with via your postal campaign. The target audience should be defined by the campaign objectives. Any data records used to build your target audience groups must be clean and up to date, compiling with the Data Protection Act 2018.

If you do not have data for your campaign, you could consider buying or renting a mailing list or working with a planning and insight specialist to create the most relevant delivery schedule based on your geo-demographic needs.

4. What is my budget?

How much money is available for this direct mail marketing campaign and what are your expectations for the return on investment? These questions are key to establishing how many people the direct mailing can reach and the overall cost to the business. The cost of the mailing may be influenced by:

  • The creative (size, format and weight of the item)
  • Creating the target audience and delivery schedule (mailing data or audience insights)
  • The volume of items to be delivered
  • How the item is to be delivered (addressed, unaddressed or partially addressed)
  • How quickly do the items need to reach the intended homes
  • The estimated campaign response

By looking at these factors and the estimated response rates of the campaign, a realistic consideration for the cost per response can be understood for the overall investment needed for the campaign. Estimates should be realistic with a benchmark for best and worst-case scenarios. 

5. What design should I go for?

The direct mail creative could be your first connection with your audience. With a physical printed media channel, you have the perfect opportunity to create an intended interaction with your brand. Direct mail marketing will be more effective if the recipient can quickly see:

  • Who has sent it
  • What the message is
  • How they can respond (the call to action)
  • What is in it for them – the benefit

Be mindful of your target audience and that the message is written to connect with this audience. This will enable more personalisation, allowing the overall message can be tailored to their specific needs and uses language, tone of voice and creatively creates the right connection and impact.  

Check out some of these creative direct mail ideas for some inspiration.

There are also many formats to choose from, such as postcards or sensory mailers. Check out the different types of formats here.

6. When is the right time to send direct mail?

When is the direct mail marketing campaign to be delivered, is this a standalone campaign or is this part of wider marketing communication? For example, if you have a broader messaging campaign for awareness, the direct mail campaign could go out a week following this, allowing message reinforcement.

Think about your target audience and avoid sending the mailshot to reach your audience may not be responsive. For example, if you are targeting families, it might mean avoiding specific holiday periods when your audience may be away from home.

7. What delivery partner should I choose?

Research your chosen delivery partner to understand who they work with already and their credentials around mail security. By following the points above you should have created a strong direct mail marketing campaign and the final delivery will be how your target audience will receive the item. Understand the postal delivery process and any partners they may use for the final mile delivery to all scheduled homes.

8. How will I measure campaign success?

To understand the effectiveness of the direct mail marketing campaign, the responses should be linked back to the original mailing schedule. This includes the positive responses and also any opt-out returns, return to senders or other reasons for an individual not to be contacted in future. This process will allow you to not only look at the campaigns overall return on investment but also ensure that your data is continually kept cleansed for future campaigns.

How can Posthub help with direct marketing?

Posthub is the leading expert in mail delivery and mail management offering consultative support throughout the direct mail planning process. With extensive knowledge and experience, Posthub is best placed to provide cost-effective postal costs to help you with all your direct marketing needs and supports all industries.

If you think direct marketing could be right for your business, get in touch today.

Posthub provides a customer-focused, high quality, competitively priced managed service for clients and their mailing campaigns.

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