Formats that can be used in direct Mail

July 2021

Effective Direct Mail Formats

Direct mail marketing can emotionally connect you with your audience, boost response rates, increase brand exposure, and improve online campaigns when laid out properly.

Adapting the style and format of your marketing campaign specifically for your audience can make a big impact on how well it performs, and one of the best things about direct mail is how creative you can be, the more personalised it is could produce better response rates for you.

There are a variety of formats that can be used and each have their own unique use within direct mail.


Different Types of Direct Mail Formats

  • Postcards are perfect for quick messages. Usually used for reminders or special offers, postcards are one of the most effective marketing tools if your message is brief but informative. For example, if you wanted to simply gain more brand exposure or announce a new service you provide, postcards are the most cost-effective choice. They can be printed in a variety of sizes, although larger ones are more likely to create a visual impact, and since they don’t need opening, you can guarantee your message will be seen.

How to Improve Your Direct Mail Postcards With Audience Targeting

  • Self-Mailers, or more commonly known as leaflets and brochures, attract all customers. This format is self-contained and closed with an adhesive tab with no outer envelope. Often more eye-catching than traditional mail, they are very popular for when attracting potential new customers as they can include more details of the company and visuals – compared to postcards. These mailers are also more cost-effective. Without the cost of envelopes and inserting letters in to envelopes, this mailer format could save you money.  

DIRECT mail brochure - Google Search | Brochure, Direct marketing, Direct  mail

  • Letters are the most traditional form of direct mail. Despite the modern advances in technology, traditional letters are still used today. They are generally used for confidential information and many recipients often relate letters to containing important information so it is always important to give something of value in your message. Lead letters can be highly personalised for professional clients and can also be paired up with brochures or catalogues as part of a larger marketing campaign.

Direct Mail Printing Services | Mail Shark

  • Dimensional Mailers are seen as an upgraded version of leaflets and brochures as they have a third dimension beyond length and width. They include boxes, tubes, containers, bags and other carriers that have length, width and height. These mailers tend to contain a giveaway item allowing the recipient to physically interact with it and provide an opening experience connecting them more emotionally with your brand.  Although more costly to produce and post (due to handling fees) they can earn you a higher return on your direct marketing campaign than any other type of direct mail and are excellent at attracting higher-end business opportunities.

Promotional Pop-Up Mailer Design Tips - JohnsByrne

  • Catalogues are commonly used by companies that have numerous products or services to offer and typically have a high audience engagement rate. They are an excellent direct mail format idea for potential customers who are not aware of the brand or services you provide, and are a great way of keeping current customers up to date on new products or exclusive deals.

Catalogue Download | Barrettine Products


  • All-in-One Mailer is a combination of different types of mail formats in one direct mailing, this might include a letter, brochure, and/or postcard sent in one envelope. Charities often use this type of approach to gain the most exposure they can for the best response rate. Depending on the charity, they usually include a gift or reward for taking part. You might receive a t-shirt if you are taking part in a sport, while some children's charities include an activity book or soft toys with the rest of their information pack.

WWF Adoption Boxes | Optima Design

Interactive Styles

If you want to offer a more interactive feel to your direct mail campaign, then there are a wide variety of ways to create an enticing and interactive campaign:

  • QR codes are a great way to work your offline and online campaigns together. They encourage audiences to interact with brands through a small amount of effort and provide recipients instantaneous access to further information. QR codes are very popular within direct mail because of how easy they are to use and incorporate within a campaign. Read more on QR codes in Direct Mail.
  • Sensory Mailers are a great way to attract attention and personalise your direct mail campaign. By using direct mail to enhance your recipient’s senses (touch, sight, sound, taste and smell) you can make a great first impression as recipients are intrigued by the non-typical DM’s they are used to receiving. Read more on sensory mail.

We’re passionate about post and love to find new ways to help connect brands to consumers in their homes. To find out more contact us today.  

Posthub is here to help you produce the the best direct mail campaign possible. Get in touch with us today and find out more on how we can support you.

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