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Direct Mail Marketing Services, Strategies, and Statistics

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Misunderstandings abound when it comes to direct mail. Maybe you’ve heard that direct mail is:

  • Old-fashioned
  • Irrelevant
  • Expensive
  • Impersonal
  • Untrackable

Have any of these fallacies kept you from investing in a direct mail marketing strategy? Here’s the reality. This marketing channel is defined by:

  • High open rates
  • Impressive response rates
  • Integration with digital marketing
  • Tangible creativity
  • Unmatched ROI

Plus, today’s consumers love getting mail! Direct mail also works at every stage of the customer journey, whether you’re building awareness or encouraging long-term loyalty. Let’s dive into why and how direct mail should be part of your marketing strategy.

Not sure how well you’re doing with your current direct mail strategy? Take this assessment to find out!


Why Direct Mail Works

Why is direct mail marketing so effective? There are a couple of reasons direct mail stands out among marketing channels.

It’s the answer to digital fatigue.

Digital fatigue is a growing trend that is making it harder and harder to capture and hold consumers’ attention in the world of digital marketing. Put simply, people are spending more time online than ever before. Americans spend an average of more than five hours per day checking their personal and work emails! Add to that the more than two hours spent on social media and the time searching the web, reading online articles, using apps on your phone, streaming shows, and more—and you have a day full of screen time. And keep in mind that those totals can soar even higher for younger generations!

In nearly all these activities, people are confronted with ads from both familiar and unfamiliar brands. Although some may land, it’s safe to say many of these ads will feel like white noise—something a consumer instinctively tunes out. So how can you get their attention? 

Meet them in the “real world.” Direct mail is a welcomed alternative to digital marketing because people enjoy the experience of receiving physical mail. Digital marketing isn’t going anywhere, but if you want to stand out and break through the digital fatigue, direct mail is the way.

People love getting mail!

Do you enjoy getting mail? Studies show that most people do. Sure, you can get a text from your friend telling you they wish you were with them on the beach, but would it make you smile as much as a postcard with the same sentiment arriving in your mailbox? “Snail mail” may be traditional, but for many people, that’s why it’s effective. It has a unique charm that texts, emails, and online ads can’t match.

According to USPS research, most consumers agree that the mail brings a sense of daily discovery they look forward to. This is true of all generations, including the youngest consumers. In fact, 72 percent of Gen Zers say they would be disappointed to no longer receive mail!

Its tangibility keeps people engaged.

Direct mail engages recipients in ways that digital messaging can’t quite match. For one, getting something tangible involves touch and sight. This is why direct mail marketers must think through the whole experience. Is a postcard or flyer best, or a mailer inside an envelope? What size, weight, and texture should the substrate be? What inks are vivid enough to seemingly leap off the page? These are all important considerations.

Having a piece of physical mail to hold onto can make something like a promotional offer feel more valuable. Imagine slipping that coupon into your wallet as you plan your next trip to your favorite store. It can also make something like a sale ad remain top of mind if the recipient pins it to the refrigerator or somewhere else they’ll continue to see it. Direct mail can continue to make an impression long after it’s first opened.

Personalized Direct Mail for Maximum Impact

If you want your direct mail to have an impact, you need to personalize it. Modern consumers don’t want generic messaging from brands—they want an individualized experience. According to McKinsey & Company, 76 percent of consumers get frustrated when personalization is lacking. This frustration can have severe consequences for marketers. In one study, 62 percent of global consumers said a brand would lose their loyalty if it failed to deliver a personalized experience. 

Fortunately, personalization is one area where direct mail delivers. Sure, digital channels like email marketing allow you to personalize your messaging, but so does direct mail. Here’s how it works.

Start with detailed customer data.

You can’t personalize something unless you know the person it’s for. Imagine trying to pick out a birthday card for a stranger. You’ll find yourself wondering, what’s their age? Gender? Interests? Personality? Whether it’s a birthday message for a valued customer, a promotion for an upcoming sale, or simply a postcard to raise brand awareness, the most impactful direct mail pieces feel tailored to the recipient. 

You can achieve that personalization by knowing the person you’re trying to appeal to. Put your customer data to use by collecting and leveraging information about your customers’ demographics and buying behaviors. For instance, you may want to know their:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Parental status
  • Location
  • Purchase history
  • Loyalty program participation

These details shouldn’t just sit in your customer relationship management (CRM) database. They should inform your personalized direct mail campaigns!

Are you reaching out to new potential customers? Make sure you work with a carefully curated list. Targeting the wrong audience is an all-too-common mistake that can impede your success.

Don’t just personalize names!

When you have the data, you want to use it. Personalizing a recipient’s name on a mailer is a great start, but there’s far more data you can leverage to individualize your direct mail. For example, based on what you know about the recipient, you could manipulate a mailer’s:

  • Design (photos, graphics, and colors)
  • Messaging language
  • Products or services highlighted
  • Call to action
  • Promotional offers
  • Map or location information

The more you can personalize, the better. When you speak straight to the recipient, showing them you understand what matters to them, you’re more likely to motivate a response and build a strong long-term relationship with your brand. 

Check out this infographic to see how to craft personalized content for highly effective direct mail campaigns.

Get personalization on the page with VDP.

You may wonder how this level of personalization is possible with physical marketing materials rather than digital ones. The answer is variable data printing (VDP). This technology makes it possible to turn your data into personalized mailers without manually changing elements. In fact, with a direct mail partner like Baesman Group, you can print hundreds of thousands of personalized direct mail pieces in a single run without ever needing to stop to manipulate anything.  

This efficient process begins with some upfront work, telling the software how to translate customer data into personalization. For instance, the direct mail system can use a recipient’s home address to determine which business location(s) should be listed on their mailer. Or it might draw on their purchase history to feature a product likely to grab their attention.

A lot of logistics make personalized direct mail possible, but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated! With the right direct mail partner, you can implement a solid direct mail strategy and watch the positive response roll in.

Learn more about personalizing direct mail by reading our eBook, The Customer Experience Just Got More Personal!

Who Can Use Direct Mail?

Direct mail marketing is an impactful means of communication in nearly any industry. Consider these direct mail examples:

  • Retail companies can accomplish various marketing goals through direct mail. They can raise brand awareness, feature new products, advertise a sale, or share personalized coupons that increase traffic in their storefront or eCommerce store. They can even engage with loyalty program members through birthday messages, reminders about promotional points, and more.

  • Political organizations and campaigns can reach the public with information about particular candidates and issues or encourage recipients to get out and vote. According to USPS research, most voters agree that direct mail is more trustworthy, transparent, informative, and harder to ignore than other forms of political advertising.

  • Home and commercial maintenance businesses can advertise their services to potential customers through direct mail. For example, a landscaping company that has done work in a particular neighborhood can offer a promotion to neighbors. Cleaners, painters, contractors, and more can expand their reach through direct mail.

  • Non-profit organizations can leverage direct mail to share their mission and impact with community members. They can also encourage people to volunteer, request donations, or thank them for their charitable gifts. Through VDP, you can even denote the exact amount a donor gave on their mailer.

  • Colleges and universities can use direct mail to reach students who may be interested in applying for one of their degree programs. You can also use direct mail to elicit charitable donations from alumni or advertise special events for the community.

  • Restaurants can use direct mail to share coupons like buy-one-get-one (BOGO) entrees or free desserts that encourage new and existing customers to come in for a tasty meal. They can also highlight mouthwatering new or seasonal menu items. Chain restaurants can use VDP to include the address for the recipient’s nearest location(s).

  • Healthcare organizations, such as insurance companies and medical practices, can use direct mail to encourage healthy behaviors. For example, they can remind patients to schedule wellness visits or routine screenings. With the right data, they can tailor these recommendations to the recipient based on their demographics and health history.

  • Banks and credit unions can raise brand awareness, advertise promotions, and acquire new customers through direct mail. They can also educate their members on responsible financial practices and make them aware of additional accounts, lines of credit, or other financial products they could take advantage of. Take a look at how we increased speed to market by 200% for Huntington National Bank with the help of direct mail strategies. 

Finding the Right Format and Finishes

Because it’s a print medium, direct mail allows you to get creative with not only the message itself, but also the way it’s presented. The options are seemingly endless when it comes to ways to make your mailer stand out.

direct mail myths

A direct mail partner can help you choose the right format and finish to ensure your message shines.

Direct Mail Formats

Direct mail comes in many shapes and sizes! Consider whether one of these formats would make the most sense for your next direct mail campaign:

  • Postcards don’t require an envelope and typically cost less to mail than other formats, making them an economical option for various direct mail campaigns. Use postcards to convey a straightforward message or share a promotional offer to grab recipients’ attention as soon as they check their mail.
  • Letters consist of paper contained in an envelope. Letters (and envelopes) can vary in size, paper weight, and other factors. Because of the privacy they afford, letters are the perfect choice when you’re including a recipient’s sensitive personal data, as in the case of financial or healthcare messaging. 
  • Self-mailers do not require an envelope. Instead, they fold closed and are sealed with an adhesive strip or sticker. Self-mailers come in a wide range of sizes and folding options. A bi-fold is a good choice when you don’t have a lot of information to convey but want to afford privacy or generate anticipation for what’s inside. If you want to share more information, you can opt for a larger self-mailer with as many as six panels.
  • Catalogs are another good choice when you have a large quantity of information to share. Catalogs are a more premium option but can be impactful in the right instances, informing the recipient about your brand’s products or services and inspiring them to make a purchase. 
  • Unique dimensional mailers allow you to think outside the box with your direct mail. Try pop-up-style cards or other forms of mailers that are sure to stand out. You can even include items like magnets or bookmarks that will continue to make an impression long after they are received. 

Direct Mail Finishes

Get creative with the finishing touches to achieve a particular look and feel for your mailers. For example, a printer might use one of the following finishing techniques:

  • Matte finish
  • Gloss finish 
  • Metallic foil
  • Embossing 
  • Scratch-off coating
  • UV coating
  • Glitter
  • Glow-in-the-dark ink
  • Scented varnish
  • Perforation

There are countless ways you can make your mailers uniquely engaging. When you work with the right printer and can take full advantage of modern printing techniques, you’re only limited by your imagination. 

Direct Mail Logistics: Rely on the Right Partner 

Direct mail is well worth the effort and financial investment, but it comes with some logistics to figure out. This is where the right direct mail marketing services provider can make a world of difference.

Cost-Saving Strategies

Choose a direct mail partner who knows the USPS and has a good relationship with them. Your direct mail marketing partner should be able to find ways to keep costs low while maintaining the quality of your campaigns. For example, they may implement cost-cutting strategies like: 

  • Mail format analysis: This involves choosing the best format for a direct mail campaign (e.g., postcards, letters, self-mailers) based on your marketing goals and budget. You may be able to achieve the same impact with a smaller or lighter mail piece that costs less to ship.

  • Custom drop planning: By strategically choosing where to enter your mail into the system, you can shorten the journey and minimize the work required by the postal service, helping you qualify for discounts.

  • Commingling: A direct mail partner can help you meet quantity requirements for discounted shipping by combining your mail with mail from other companies going to the same zip code.

  • Special USPS promotions and incentives: You may be able to qualify for promotional discounts offered by the USPS for following direct mail best practices or incorporating unique creativity into your campaigns. 

The Need for Speed

When choosing a direct mail partner, location is an important consideration. Speed to market is key when converting customers through direct mail. For instance, if you know someone is searching for a particular product or service that you can provide, you want to get to their mailbox as quickly as possible! 

To achieve that speed, it helps to find a partner who is strategically located. For instance, Baesman Group is located in the heart of the Midwest, allowing for a two-day shipping time for 80 percent of the US population.

Tracking and Analytics

Maybe you’ve heard that an advantage of digital marketing over direct mail is that it’s trackable. In reality, direct mail is trackable too! The right marketing partner will help you collect accurate data on the performance of your direct mail campaigns so you can find what works and what you want to tweak for an even more impactful campaign next time.

Some methods for tracking direct mail ROI include:

  • Match-backs: Cross-reference conversions with your mailing list to see which purchases were likely influenced by your direct mail campaign!
  • Landing pages: Include a URL or QR code that sends direct mail recipients to a unique landing page. By measuring traffic to this page, you can track the impact of your campaign.
  • Offer codes: You can provide a unique promo code on direct mail pieces. Any time someone makes a purchase using that code, you can attribute that sale to your direct mail campaign. 

The right partner will know how to leverage these tactics (and possibly others too) so you can track the success of your direct mail campaigns.

The Importance of a Multi-Channel Approach

We can pit direct mail against digital channels to demonstrate its efficacy, but that doesn’t mean you should replace all your digital marketing efforts with direct mail. Email, SMS, direct mail, and more are all valuable means of connecting with consumers!


It can take many touchpoints before a consumer decides to take an action, so meeting them in their mailboxes and inboxes is a great move. In fact, in every generation of consumers, the vast majority say they prefer an omnichannel experience. This percentage is highest for Gen Zers—88 percent say they want brand experiences to span the digital and physical worlds. What matters is creating a seamless experience across all your channels, ensuring your campaigns work together to convert customers and encourage loyalty.

Baesman Group helped Stanley Steemer combine their email marketing with direct mail, which led to a 200 percent increase in response rates and a 23 percent boost in online bookings in just one direct mail campaign! 

If you want to maximize the impact of your multi-channel approach, find ways to incorporate your digital marketing into your direct mail. For example, include a QR code, add your web address and social channels, or create an online-only promo that will drive traffic to your website.

Make the Most of Your Direct Mail Campaigns with Baesman Group

With its incredible potential, direct mail should be a crucial part of your marketing strategy. You don’t have to be a direct mail expert to reap the benefits—just choose the right partner.

Baesman Group is a partner you can trust for top-notch direct mail marketing services. Instead of shopping around for partners to manage marketing strategy, printing, and more, you can make Baesman Group your one-stop shop for all things direct mail. We’ll work closely with your marketing team to assist or lead the way at every stage, from strategy ➡️ printing  ➡️ mailing  ➡️ tracking performance! 

Are you ready to start making the most of direct mail with Baesman Group? Let’s talk!


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