Direct Mail

Direct Mail Strategies: Best Practices

One of the most effective ways to increase response rates and client conversion rates is to include direct mail as a part of the marketing plan. In this way, businesses will be able to ensure that their message is viewed by their most targeted audience.

Here, we'll go over what direct marketing is, as well as the best direct mail strategies and practices to achieve the results they want.

But, before jumping right in and creating a successful direct mail campaign, it's necessary to understand first what direct mail marketing is.

What is direct mail marketing?

Direct mail includes targeted advertisements such as postcards, sales letters, brochures, and booklets. Any printed letter a business or company sends out to its target audience with the purpose of enticing people to patronize their business is known as direct mail marketing.

Direct mail is one of the oldest and most widely used means of business promotion. Regardless of its age, it remains one of the most effective forms of targeted advertising available to business owners.

Sending excellent direct mail begins with best practices, particularly in terms of design. Remember that creativity contributes to 20% of the effectiveness of a direct mail campaign, so creating an appealing design is crucial to the overall response rate and return on investment (ROI).

Let's look at some direct mail best practices to help your client's get the most out of their marketing strategy.

Direct Mail Marketing Strategies That Work for Businesses

Use formats that have impact

It can be challenging to determine which direct mail format is the best choice for the specific company.

Here’s a breakdown of what each format offers and how it can maximise impact:

Postcards: Postcards are one of the most cost-effective direct mail options because of their size. They are not folded and do not contain any inserts, so they just require a little additional postage. Postcards can be printed on both sides and have a high chance of being read by the intended audience.

According to a study, 56 per cent of customers read the postcard after receiving it, making postcards the most widely read form of direct mail marketing. Also, postcards are very customisable with a type of digital printing that can personalise text, graphics, and images for each piece of direct mail.

You can say goodbye to time-consuming and expensive short-run finishing postcard tasks with the DC-646i PRO. Thanks to its automatic setup, you can focus your priorities on other parts of your print room and leave the cutting, creasing, perforating, and micro perforating duties to the DC-646i PRO.

Folded Self-Mailers: A folded self-mailer is a single sheet of paper that has been folded (bifold or trifold) into panels and sealed at the edges. There is no need for a separate envelope because all mailing information is printed immediately onto the paper.

There is more room to deliver the business’s messages and include eye-catching visuals because of its larger size. These mailers are less expensive and offer more privacy for more personalised messaging.

With oversized printing becoming more popular, the DF-1300L Air Suction Paper Folder has the ability to handle longer and larger papers. This unique air suction folder is ideal for large-format printing services searching for quality folding solutions for tri-fold brochures, letter landscape guides, newsletters, flyers, and other publications with a length of up to 25.5".

Booklets/Brochures: Brochures and booklets are the most effective ways to communicate with the target audience. They enable businesses to communicate their message through more personal storytelling.

They can also impact purchasing decisions as an active type of marketing because they require recipients to take action. While printing and mailing them takes a little more time, the return is huge for most companies.

Many of today's automated booklet machines aren't designed to operate flat. Duplo's iSaddle 2 range gives you the perfect blend: flatter publications with all the time-saving and fast turnaround benefits of an automated system.

Get Personal

Creating customised materials is another way to improve a direct mail marketing campaign. While an impersonal direct mailer is more likely to be thrown away, adding a personal touch will increase the performance of one’s direct mail marketing campaign and make customers more likely to respond. It can start with using a recipient's name and personalising the offered product or service.

Due to the rapid technological advancements, businesses can now use variable-data printing to customise their design and copy to their target customers at a low cost.

VDP (variable data printing) is a type of printing that allows businesses to create tailored messages and designs for specific people. Customising the message's content or images to the customer will make it more relevant. This results in a stronger bond between the piece of mail and the recipient and higher response rates and ROI.

For example, a pet grooming service provider offers 20 per cent off all hair trimming for existing clients. They can use VDP to improve the design. Each piece of mail can include the name and photograph of the dog for which the discount is offered.

Do not overcrowd the design

When it comes to direct mail design, one of the most common mistakes businesses make is inserting too much information into a small space. Overcrowding a design with too many images and text can make it difficult to comprehend, leaving the customer feeling overwhelmed and confused.

Remember that white space is still appropriate in creating a postcard or another form of a direct mail piece. Including a sufficient amount of white or empty space in the message will help direct the customer’s attention. In other words, keep a straightforward approach.

Try bespoke shape direct mailers

Using bespoke shape mailers instead of more standard materials is one method to spice up a direct mail marketing strategy. These may cost more per lead than traditional mailers but have much higher response rates.

It could be a uniquely shaped envelope with small items inside. It could be a small box in different shapes such as spheres, cubes and other unique formats. Using bespoke shapes in direct mailers will help your clients stand out from the competition by showcasing their services or products in a catchy way.

With our PFi Blade B3+ digital cutting table, you may add attractive finishes to oddly shaped products for packaging and label manufacturing, like adhesive sheets, custom greetings and business cards, invitations, tags and small packages.

Remember that texture matters

Customers appreciate the tactile experience of giving and receiving tangible items, and touch is a powerful and essential human sense. According to studies, tangible objects leave a more lasting impression than intangible ones.

Try adding a little unexpected texture to direct mail pieces to make an already remarkable encounter even more delightful. Choose chunky or velvety card paper, as well as embossed or shiny print to delight customers and make them more receptive to what’s on offer.

Get first-class detailing that adds a tactile feature to your client’s direct mail material by using our compact Duplo DuSense Sensory Coater. It enables you to provide customers with the finest, profitable digital embellishment service to improve the texture of the prints.

Also, you'll need to pick the right finish to make the design stand out. The texture and appearance of a direct mail piece might help in conveying your client's message.

Types of finish include:

Soft Touch: Colours appear more polished and refined with this finish, which gives a soft, velvety texture.

Gloss: This shining material guarantees that photographs appear high-definition while also providing a layer of protection. It's ideal for all forms of mail, particularly brochures and postcards.

Satin: This has a similar shine to gloss, but it reflects less light. It also produces bright, vibrant colours and is strong enough to withstand years of use.

Uncoated: Uncoated finishes come in a range of textures and have an elegant appearance. This type is ideal for all kinds of mail, particularly letter packages.

Upgrade your envelope design

Aside from postcards and 3D mailers, businesses should upgrade the envelopes as part of their direct mail marketing strategy. While envelopes serve a useful purpose in that they carry content, they offer nothing to improve the chances of your mailers being read. Consider making envelopes that have a marketing message to attract customers to open them.

Consider the envelope as a storefront. The mail will not be opened unless you can persuade customers to look inside. Too many businesses use basic, plain envelopes for well-designed direct mail materials.

Add an appealing language, vivid colours, diverse shapes, sizes, and textures, real stamps, or handwritten labels to make the envelope stand out. Whatever it is, don't forget about the envelope's importance. It is the first thing that people notice, and first impressions are crucial.

Our PFi Blade B2+ digital cutting table creates custom-shaped stickers and labels. It gives you a higher level of flexibility by allowing you to dynamically kiss cut, cut, crease, and perforate a wide variety of substrates such as boards, paper, laminates, and adhesives.

You can expand your customer base and address other market sectors by diversifying your business offering and providing greater options with products like custom-shaped labels, stickers, greeting cards and hanging tags.


A creatively and strategically designed direct mail campaign can help your clients stand out among the competitors and the dozens of other businesses fighting for the target audience's attention. With high-quality finishing and thoughtful direct mail designs, outstanding content, and customisation across your mailings, you and your client will be positioned for success.

Browse Duplo International blogs for more design ideas and tips. Contact us for enquiries about our high-quality machines or if you need assistance in selecting the right equipment for your business.


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