16 Good Direct Mail Marketing Ideas

Direct mail is often avoided by the modern marketing agency, but it is still one of the most effective ways to get a message to a specific demographic for a low cost. If you do direct mail the right way, you can get higher returns on your investment than in other more modern marketing efforts, such as email marketing or social media.

The place to begin with any direct mail marketing campaign is to get your message clear and concise. If you create confusion with your marketing efforts, your direct mail campaign will be more likely to find the trash can and that means you’ll have just dumped your marketing budget into a black hole of waste.

Successful Direct Mail Marketing Ideas

1. Go Old School
When you simulate the appearance of a telegram with your campaign, you’ll often find higher open rates than other methods. It’s not everyone’s favorite because it is used by a lot of people, but strangely enough the more old school the envelope or postcard looks, the more likely it is to be opened because it has created a feeling of intrigue.

2. Throw in a Sample
To counter the hatred that some people have for junk mail, throw in a sample to give that person a sense of the value that you can provide. Will it still get thrown out? Maybe… but not if their neighbor talks about the awesome samples you sent them as a surprise.

3. Use Reverse Psychology
If there’s one thing that people hate in general, it’s an ultimatum. By telling people what to do directly, they tend to do the exact opposite. From a direct mail perspective, that means telling them not to open the envelope or look at the postcard.

4. Slap On a Colorful Sticker
The human eye is naturally attracted to sharp contrasts in color so including colorful boxes with a brief message will help you quickly get your message across. Just don’t use blues or greens for this for two specific reasons: it is difficult to read the text in these colors and it is the range where most people tend to be colorblind.

5. Put Something Unique In the Envelope
People are naturally curious to things that are crinkly or shiny and having this kind of item in your mailing will encourage people to look at it. Even if the only thing you put in there is a small block of bubble wrap, people will perceive that your mailing has more value.

6. Mail Something Tangible
In order for people to want something, they must relate to it in some way because otherwise it will seem worthless. Contractors might send an advertisement through the mail with a chunk of a brick. A photographer might send sample photographs. A writer might send a descriptive sample of their work for consideration.

7. Create Something Interactive
When people can play with your direct mail marketing effort, they are more likely to remember your brand and engage with the product when they have an opportunity to do so. Whether that is through magnets or through other forms of play, you’ll be more likely to drive customers your way.

8. Use 3D Imagery
Even though pop-up 3D direct mail has been used a lot, it’s always a surprise for someone to get something like this and because it is uncommon, it will be memorable. If you you can create a mailing that can become a useable product for someone, that’s even better.

9. Support a Good Cause
If you partner with a charitable cause, then use direct mail to support them and yourself with a tangible product that relates to the charity with whom you’ve partnered.

10. Create a Stunning Visual
People are more visually orientated than ever before, so play off of this fact by creating a visually dramatic image that relates to what you’re trying to market. For a disinfectant product, you could use ink that disappears from vision under certain lighting conditions to show how effective the disinfectant happens to be.

11. Solve a Problem
Value always comes from solving problems, so solve your target demographics problem right now in some small way. Whether you’re helping someone visualize weight loss or you’re using a small mirror to show them relaxing on a gorgeous tropical beach for a travel agency, you’ll encourage the instant gratification in a small way that will likely turn a want into a need.

12. Think of a Surprise Party
The reason why surprise parties are so meaningful to people is because it shows that others care. By using a direct mail campaign that will surprise your target demographic in some way and you can provide something of value to them, then you’ll create a visual impression that will stick with them for a long time.

13. Send a Game
People are inherently competitive and a game feeds right into this core component of humanity. Games are more fun when others are involved, so encourage group involvement by creating a website around the direct mail campaign so people can compete with each other. Give prizes out to the best of the best to further enhance the effect.

14. Offer a Guarantee
People want to know that they will get what they’ve promised and a no-risk guarantee will communicate this effectively. It tells people you’re willing to back up your product because you have confidence in it.

15. Put an Order Form In There
If you’ve got a stunning offer, then let people order it right away by including an order form they can submit right away. Give them a website where they can input this information for an even faster ordering method if you wish.

16. Don’t Mix Your Fonts
Consistency is the key to any good message so don’t mix a bunch of fonts together. It might look visually impressive, but the results to someone who is trying to read it will be uncomfortable at best and at worst, you’ll have your direct mail thrown into the recycling bin.

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