A Guide to Print Marketing for Businesses

June 2021


In an ever-growing digital landscape, print media continues to blossom for many advertisers across the world. This is because printed advertising is a tangible and memorable media that slots perfectly into the marketing mix driving customers online, in-store and on the phone.

Although traditionally as a channel print media is widely known to work for larger advertisers, it can sometimes be missed by smaller or even medium-sized businesses or marketing teams. Posthub offers hands-on print media advice and is part of the UK’s largest provider of print media logistics, Whistl. We have put together this short but effective guide to print marketing, to provide support and guidance for all business sizes looking to make the most of an effective print channel.

This guide will cover content best practice, creative design tips, effective targeting, reporting and media integration, for the three most popular advertising print channels:

What is Direct Mail?  

Direct Mail put simply is addressed advertising mail, targeted to an individual. This means it can be engaging with its delivery through the door, directly communicating to an addressee. Once Direct Mail is opened, it must be relevant to resonate with the targeted individual or it can be discarded. Ineffective targeting or creative design is key to the next stage in continuing the advertising dialogue. 

Direct Mail Design Top Tips 
Here are some top tips to ensure your design is eye-catching and memorable: 

  • Colour is important: People react emotionally to different colours for example; cold colours such as blue can promote a negative reaction in comparison to warm colours like red which have the opposite effect. 
  • Size matters: Probably a great place to start is choosing what content you need; this will give you a good indication of the size of the item or letter you need to send. For example, if you have a charitable case study and examples of how your donation will make a difference to the cause, this is unlikely to fit on an A5 postcard. 
  • Personalisation is key: If you are sending out a Direct Mail campaign it is more than likely that you will have a recipient’s name so, use it! People tend to respond more when they are addressed within the content of the communication. 
  • Get to the point: Keep your Direct Mail item engaging with informal language, eye-catching images and easy to follow the call to actions. 
  • Paper quality and finish: Deciding on the finish of your paper can help to define your brand credentials and can be more important than you might think. Flimsy 90gsm paper does not scream out luxury for example. 
  • Proof, test and test again: Make sure you proofread everything and get others to check it over too before going to the printers. When you are looking at your design, you may think one choice may work better than another. Why not create an AB split test fairly across your delivery schedule? This can help in understanding how to make your next campaign work, even harder. 

Want more tips on how to create a strong Direct Mail Creative? Read our advice here

Direct Mail Targeting

As we have progressed into a new GDPR world the art of targeting has changed for almost all media channels. Direct Mail is no exception to the change. In the past, it was easy to purchase data lists of addresses, who may be interested in your brand. Today, clean and opted in data is key to your brand reputation and will aid your responses as your contacts have already given permission to receive mail.

There are two key areas to understand when looking at Direct Mail and data to create the most effective Direct Mail campaign.

  • Data cleansing

Has your data been building throughout time but without properly cleaning it? If this is the case, you can be sure you will waste budget sending out mailings to old and out of date address details. Utilising a data cleansing service is a quick and easy way to ensure your data is up to date, compliant and campaign ready. Did you know Posthub, part of the Whistl group offer free data health checks? Find out more.

  • Personalisation

Even if your campaign data lists are now smaller post GDPR, this doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the change, by using effective personalisation techniques. According to the DMA response report, a Direct Mail item with personalisation was 80% more likely to be opened. Using simple personalisation such as the customer’s name or address throughout the copy can considerably increase your campaigns response rates.

Media Integration for Direct mail

Digital media integration is widely known for most businesses; it also works exceptionally well for print marketing channels too. Response rates for Direct Mail have been seen to increase by 40% when run alongside a Doordrop campaign for example. 

Direct Mail can also be delivered on the exact day of your choice. This means it can be perfectly scheduled to support your other marketing channels when running a multi-media campaign. 

Measuring Direct Mail Success

Taking learnings from your media spend is arguably the most important part of any campaign. It tells us what works and what doesn’t. Data can be pretty black and white for most digital channels, and it can be just as clear for printed media. Direct Mail can benefit from utilising trackable elements that help you understand how well your print marketing campaign has worked. Here are a few tips you could try on your next Direct Mail campaign to improve your performance data:

  • If you are sending potential customers online, use a landing page specifically for the Direct Mail piece to see what traffic it has driven
  • You can also use QR codes to drive web traffic and make it easier for your readers to get to your website
  • If you need calls, use a trackable phone number or even just a separate number for the printed piece.
  • If you are looking for store visits, including a removable coupon for them to redeem in store.
  • Use bespoke voucher codes to see how well your Direct Mail piece has worked with the marketing mix

What is Doordrop Media?

Doordrop Media or Leaflet Advertising is an unaddressed item that is delivered through the letterbox. This can be in the form of a simple leaflet, enveloped letter, 30-page magazine or even a product sample. The main difference between Direct Mail or Partially Addressed Mail, is that Doordrop Media is not addressed. This provides some additional benefits around data, that we will touch on shortly. It also means Doordrop Media requires more creative engagement, to capture the attention of the reader as soon as it lands on the doormat.

Doordrop Media Design Top Tips

Here are some top tips that can apply to all Doordrop formats:

Throw some shapes: As Doordrop experts, we have seen a lot of weird and a lot of wonderful and our experience has shown that using circles rather than squares can actually help boost your leaflets response rates.

Colour is still important:  As with Direct Mail and Partially Addressed Mail, colour is key to promoting the right response. Our experience shows warmer colours tend to work better than colder colours on leaflet advertising.  

Copywriting is key: Your words are one of the key aspects of your design that will keep a reader reading. Keeping them exciting, bold, easy to read and engaging are just a few aspects to help boost your campaign response rates.

CTA: Shortened from a marketers’ favourite phrase “Call to action”, means telling your readers what you want them to do. Without one is like saying 'please read me, forget me and bin me' and no brand spending money on advertising wants this as the end result of their efforts. Make your call to action clear and easy to follow. If you want a user to go online, give them a QR code, a simple web address or a personalised web address (bespoke to the recipients). If you want to drive more phone calls, make sure your number is easy to find, on all sides of the creative, the number its self is big and bold, and that you ask them to call.

Doordrop Media Targeting

Unlike Direct Mail targeting, Doordrop does not actually utilise any personal contact information. Instead, it uses a postcode sector. A sector simply removes the last two digits or characters from a postcode. For example, postcode SL7 1HY becomes postal sector: SL7 1. Postal sectors contain an average of 2,500 households, which means with the right target techniques you can select those who have a higher density of your target audience.

Across the Whistl group, we are experts in data and audience targeting for all printed media channels and have over 50 years of experience in targeting the right sectors for the right businesses. with us today to see how we can find the homes more likely to respond to your Doordrop. You can also use our very own online targeting tool here.

Integration and Doordrop Media

Just like all other digital and printed channels, door drops work even better when included as part of an integrated marketing campaign. Here are a few ways it can work with other media channels:

Local radio: As a door drop can be localised, it works perfectly when dropped while your radio ads are running in the same location.

Digital media: Whether it is your Google display ads or pay per click advertising, all your online media can be set up, to mirror the locality of your door drop campaign. When your ad is seen online and then again on the doormat, it is twice as hard-hitting.

Email: We can overlay your existing customer and prospect addresses with your Doordrop schedule. This means your email is further supported with printed media.

Outdoor (Out of Home): Brand recall can be amazingly high with outdoor marketing. Having something printed on the doormat when they get home makes it even better.

Direct Mail: As mentioned in the Direct Mail section, these two print advertising channels can be a perfect match and planned together to maximise audience reach, in turn, increases response rates dramatically.

Measuring Doordrop Media Success

Measuring a Doordrop campaign is not too dissimilar to Direct Mail as you can utilise the same printed tracking techniques. Here is a reminder of the ways to track success with printed marketing like Doordrop Media:

  • Use bespoke landing pages for your different printed media channels
  • Utilise QR codes to drive customers online
  • Bespoke or trackable phone numbers are a great way to measure calls
  • Including maps to your stores with removable coupons are great ways to drive and track footfall
  • Use separate email addresses for the printed media to track contacts
  • Utilise personalised voucher codes to see what media drives your orders

What is Partially Addressed Mail?

Partially Addressed Mail effectively sits between Doordrop media and Direct Mail. Like Direct Mail, it is usually within an envelope and is addressed however, like Doordrop Media, it is not addressed to an individual. It is still addressed to the household. This allows you to be more targeted than a Doordrop Media campaign, however, your artwork still needs to be strong, to get the maximum response rate.

Partially Addressed Mail Design Top Tips

Here are some Partially Addressed Mail design top tips to ensure maximum impact on the doormat.

Use envelopes: Enveloped items can be seen as more trusting and it also creates excitement. People want to know what is inside so you are more likely to get impressions and readers.

Content is key: It is so easy for the reader to open your letter and disregard the contents quickly. That is why you want to grab the attention quickly with key call outs and clear call to actions. Don’t overload your item with words. Just keep it informal, to the point and engaging.

You can still be personal: Even though Partially Addressed Mail does not use personal data, you can still give a personal feel to the design. Using a person’s postcode or street name for example can give the reader something to relate to outside of their personal details.

Colour is important:  As with Doordrop Media and Partially Addressed Mail, colour is key to promoting the right response. Our experience shows warmer colours tend to work better than colder colours on most printed advertising.

all to action: Just like Doordrop Media and Direct Mail, it is important to tell your readers what you want them to do. It is even more important to make sure it is easy for them to do. Using clear steps can really help drive response rates.

Partially Addressed Mail Targeting

Partially Addressed Mail is targeted in a similar way to Doordrop Media, in that you do not need personal data. The main difference is that it utilises the full postcode, rather than just the postcode sector. This reduces the average amount of households from 2,500 to just 15 meaning the media is much more targeted based on the density of households.

It also allows you to personalise your printed item more based on the postcode itself or address it to your target audience for example: `To the Garden Lover’ or `To the Dog Owner’.

Media Integration for Partially Addressed Mail

Integrating Partially Addressed Mail is very much the same as integrating Doordrop media. You can choose the week in which it is distributed too meaning it can run alongside your other marketing channels.

It also works well with Direct Mail and we can help you overlay your customer data in the same way we do with Doordrop Media. Speak to one of our data and print media targeting experts today.

Measuring Partially Addressed Mail Success

Just like the other printed media channels mentioned in this article, Partially Addressed Mail can be targeted in the exact same way. Here are a few key ways in which you can track the media’s responses:

  • Create bespoke landing pages for the Partially Addressed Mail piece.
  • Test QR codes to drive customers online and to make it easier to find you
  • Bespoke or trackable phone numbers are a great way to measure calls from the printed item itself
  • Including maps, addresses or directions to your stores with removable coupons are all great ways to drive and track footfall
  • Utilise personalised voucher codes to see what media drives your orders

Whether you need Direct Mail services, expert Doordrop Media targeting or want to test Partially Addressed Mail, Posthub, part of the Whistl Group are experts across advertising printed media.

Speak to us to find out more

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