10 Tips for
Direct Mail

An icon of an envelope on a green background providing 10 Tips for Direct Mail Success.

Ten Tips to Make Your Direct Mail Leave a Lasting Impression.

By Chris Hewitt, Sales Director

Mail as a marketing channel is enjoying something of a resurgence, with organisations finding it an efficient and effective way to get their brand messages into consumers’ hands.

According to recent figures from mail industry measurement service JICMail, in Q4 2022 a majority of mail was read (77%) and opened (66%) by consumers. What’s more, almost half (46%) of those direct or business mailpacks and door-drops were retained by the householder – presumably with a view to finding out more about the sender or taking other positive action.

Royal Mail likes to talk about ‘mail’s journey within the home’. With this – and the standout statistics above – in mind, let’s consider 10 ways that your business can create posted communications that deliver a compelling return on your marketing budget.

Feel the love – A run-of-the-mill, flat and featureless envelope is not going to cut through. Even using a simple tactic such as placing a credit card – dummy or otherwise – inside can create intrigue for the consumer. Getting them to open the envelope and dive in is key to engaging them and ultimately boosting ROI.

Which way up? – Another simple trick to remember with mailpack design is that you can’t be sure how it will land. I don’t mean the effect it will have on the recipient. This is a case of ensuring a clear and compelling call to action is emblazoned on both sides of the outer envelope so it’s clearly visible, no matter how it falls when it comes through the letterbox.

Take a leaf – There are few new ideas under the sun, so sometimes it’s best to go with one of those that you know already works. Seek out successful mail campaigns – the DMA Awards case study database is a good place to start – and don’t be afraid to try similar designs. For instance, generic letter shapes don’t infringe copyright. And as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

Be different… – While mirroring award-winning pack styles is a good way to get noticed, the creative aspect of your mailing matters even more. Put your own stamp on it. In a crowded letterbox, features such as QR codes, pop-ups and the like can catch the consumer’s eye, making them more likely to set it aside to see what’s in it rather than taking just a glance before they bin it.

…but be on-brand – All of that said, your brand must be recognisable amid the dazzling cut-through of your creative mailing. The design doesn’t have to be weird, wacky or even particularly wonderful to work well, as long as it’s obvious to the recipient who it’s from and what you want to communicate.

Go for goals – It’s also vital to remember the rationale behind your mail campaign. It should link directly to your business objectives, whether you see it as a way to win or keep customers, or cut costs compared to other channels. In other words, creativity for the sake of it won’t always work; thinking inside the box for your business is fine too.

Track your pack – One of mail’s major advantages is the ability marketers have to track it. A simple QR code added to the pack and the contents can help you follow the consumer’s trail, such as taking out a voucher in their home to redeeming it at the till. In this way, you can measure ROI – but also track intent and purchase behaviour. Invaluable insight for future campaigns. For example, if someone doesn’t engage, do they prefer digital comms?

ROI is king – Speaking of ROI, there’s little point in running a fancy direct mail campaign if understanding its effect is beyond your grasp. ROI can be affected by multiple factors: cost per pack, economies of scale, even engagement levels. If you can glean this information, it’s further firepower for future marketing initiatives. What’s more, ROI is easier to measure for direct mail in comparison to digital channels alone.

VAT’s magic – Using the right format design can help mitigate the 20% of your campaign costs spent on VAT, and make ROI look real. There are ways to ensure the campaign falls outside VAT, so ask an expert to explain possible efficiencies.

Trail your mail – Don’t just track it: tease it. Using email or SMS to let the consumer know their offers are coming in the mail can be a great way to alert them to keep an eye out for the rewarding content that will soon drop through their door. Anticipation is all, making the recipient more likely to pick up the pack. After all, warm direct mail can achieve nearly 11% response.

So, as far as direct mail strategy goes your creative can push the envelope. But there are clear rules you must follow to make sure it takes its rightful place in the recipient’s ‘keep’ pile, instead of them making a dash to the trash.



ADVERTISINGWEEK.COM – Ten Tips to Make Your Direct Mail Leave a Lasting Impression 

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Chris Hewitt smiling in front of a blue background.

Chris Hewitt

Sales Director - Solutions Division

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