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Direct Mail Campaigns Can Help Small Businesses

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direct mail marketing

We live in a digital age, and when you have a business or event to promote, the most obvious way to get your message out to the public and your target audience is via the internet and digital marketing strategies. Now it’s more complex with AI.  Your ad agency will suggest using AI tools rather than investing in a print advert.

However, consider traditional marketing too. The aim is to reach your audience as often as possible with the same campaign. Therefore DM (direct mail marketing) is helpful, particularly when integrated with other marketing channels.

You may not be convinced, so let’s look at the answers to these questions:

  • Given the focus on digital marketing strategies, does direct mail marketing still work today?
  • What are some examples of industries that use direct mail effectively?

Where Direct Marketing Works

Many industries find DM (direct mail) marketing highly effective, including:

  • Real Estate – selling homes
  • Retail – DIY, clothing, FMCG and more
  • Non-profit organisations
  • Healthcare providers – clinics, natural remedies, stores
  • Professional services – banking, insurance, accounting

Tangible Impact

Direct mail allows businesses to physically reach their target audience. A well-designed mail piece can have a tangible impact, creating a lasting impression that may be more memorable than a digital ad.

Targeted Approach

Direct mail can be highly targeted, enabling businesses to reach specific demographics or geographic areas. This precision targeting can yield better results by going individuals more likely to be interested in the product or service offered.

Less Competition

With the increasing focus on digital marketing, direct mail can offer an opportunity to stand out. Since many businesses concentrate on digital channels, a well-executed direct mail campaign can capture attention and generate higher response rates.  Startups and smaller companies need to think outside the box and use DM and digital marketing campaigns to get more sales.


Direct mail can be personalized to a greater extent, allowing businesses to tailor their message to individual recipients. Personalization can enhance engagement and make recipients feel valued, increasing the likelihood of a positive response.

Multi-channel Integration

Direct mail can be integrated with digital marketing channels to create a multi-channel marketing campaign. For example, including a QR code or personalized URL (PURL) on a mail piece can drive recipients to a website or landing page, allowing for further engagement and tracking.

Why Direct Mail Works For Small Businesses

Any business using direct mail can realize quantifiable results, and for small businesses, it really has several benefits:

  • You can target recipients accurately (geographic area, for example).
  • You can control the response. A digital advert may provoke negative feedback you are not equipped to deal with, damaging your reputation.
  • Costs are comparatively low, and a campaign can be structured to fit any budget.
  • You can orchestrate a direct mail campaign quickly.
  • You can reuse your mailing list.
  • You can test different appeals to find out the most effective message. Over time, you’ll be able to develop a message that provides a high response rate.

How to run a direct mail campaign

Identify your target audience

Who are you targeting, and why? The more defined your target audience is, the more successful the campaign will be.

Focus the message to the target audience.

The message you include must focus on the product’s benefits to the specific audience rather than a list of product features.

Concise call to action

Don’t overstuff the mail with content that dilutes the call to action. Decide what you want people to do and be clear about it. Use language that suggests urgency or a limited number of products to encourage timely action.

Design your mail

Tweaks to your designs can save you money.  Plus, research any cost implications for the size of the mailshot you are sending. For example, an A5 size may be cheaper to post than an A4. Do you need to have a glossy finish? Suppose you can print your own mail on your own printer. In that case, yocanto further reduce costs, especially by using compatible toner cartridges rather than brands.

Include a Tracking code.

Use tracking codes to enable you to test and refine the mailshots that you send out. You need to know which version has generated the most leads. When customers contact you, the code they use will enable you to shape future campaigns with the elements of the most successful campaigns.

While direct mail campaigns have typically been sidelined in favour of digital methods, the data you can extrapolate from a direct mail campaign can be a positive addition to your integrated marketing strategies.

Final Thoughts

Remember, the effectiveness of direct mail marketing depends on various factors, including the target audience, campaign objectives, and the overall marketing strategy. Integrating direct mail with digital channels is often beneficial to maximize its impact and track responses effectively.