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The use of direct mail as a marketing strategy for companies large and small is growing. Digital fatigue, coupled with increased media fragmentation, has increased the appeal of direct mail. That’s because direct mail doesn’t overwhelm, but creates an experience that allows both businesses and consumers to engage with the advertising or promotion on their own terms in their homes or place of business. Innovations in AI data optimization, variable data printing, and multichannel marketing platforms are adding elements to make targeting the ideal customer easier and more affordable.

The purpose of the guide is to provide marketers, B2B, B2C, ecommerce, and small businesses with comprehensive knowledge on what direct mail is, how to structure direct mail campaigns, and the importance of integrating direct mail with all your digital and social media channels. It reveals the high ROI, response rates, and increased engagements you can expect and covers how to create an appealing direct mail piece, budget your campaign, and when to turn to direct mail companies like Marketing.com to streamline your direct mail campaigns for maximum efficiency.

If you have questions about direct mail, this guide can help you maximize the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns.

What Is Direct Mail?

Direct mail could more accurately be called advertising mail or promotional mail. Businesses and organizations send printed marketing collateral to households and other businesses. Usually (but not always) unsolicited, direct mail serves the purpose of offering something of value to the recipient, creating wide brand appeal within highly targeted markets, and attracting customers with compelling offers, discounts, and coupons.

This marketing material takes the form of post cards, brochures, letters, flyers, newsletters, catalogs, postcards, coupon mailers, and packages. Every form of direct mail should include the brand logo or business name, contact information (including maps and website) and a prominent, motivating call-to action.

This last element of direct mail, a strong call-to-action, is the most important component in the collateral’s design and what makes it one the most effective and traditionally relied upon marketing channels for both B2B and B2C to increase awareness and drive revenue. According to the United States Postal Service (USPS), direct mail drives customers to spend 28% more than those who did not receive mail from a business.

Why is Direct Mail Effective?

Despite dire predictions of its demise in the face of an onslaught of digital and social media marketing platforms, direct mail endures. This despite the changing ways that consumers communicate, shop, and make purchases. In fact, as a means to use collected customer data and create campaigns that reach into targeted households, direct mail is more popular than ever with marketers. According to a Winterbury Group 2022 Report, on average they spend between $100-$550/person on direct mail. Here are nine reasons businesses and organizations find direct mail so effective.

People enjoy getting direct mail

Marketers see high ROI with direct mail

Direct mail targeting increases the value of every piece

Direct mail is personal

Direct mail looks and feels good

Direct mail initiates high response rates

Direct mail can get seen more than once by more than one person

Direct mail faces less competition for attention

Direct mail helps other marketing channels perform better

How to Use Direct Mail

Direct mail is a proven and successful way for businesses to engage and reach prospects and customers at every stage along their decision-making journey and get them to respond. Here are a few ways to fit direct mail into your marketing goals.


Businesses and organizations find success using direct mail to convert prospects into customers. With a solid understanding of their buyer’s persona, both B2B and B2C use actionable consumer data to identify and segment local audiences and potential customers to create a mailer that offers value. With a strong call-to-action, acquisition direct mail entices and influences prospects to take the first step in what will hopefully will be a long and lasting relationship. Small Business Trends discovered that 62% of people who responded to direct mail also made a purchase.


Direct mail has been a proven method to develop customer trust, and in turn build large and loyal communities of repeat customers. It establishes brand familiarity, and with interactive print innovations like the use of QR codes, can deliver incentives and offers based on a repeat customers habits and experiences. According to research from Accenture, 73% of consumers are willing to share their personal information if it leads to a personalized shopping experience. Well-timed mailings encourage e-commerce shoppers to visit websites to reclaim rewards and enjoy the perks of e-commerce loyalty program membership.


High shopping cart abandonment rates dramatically affect e-commerce retailers, and direct mail provides a streamlined way to retarget and reengage with shoppers who have left a site before a sale is completed. Direct mail can offer reminders and incentives to bring shoppers back to finish their purchases. Businesses can automate their direct mail to trigger reminder direct mail pieces with scalable SaaS multi-channel marketing platforms like Dot ™ while the memory of the experience is still fresh. In a USPS commissioned study, retargeted direct mail delivered a 14% decrease in abandoned shopping carts and an 8% increase in average order size.

Expanded Audiences

When a business has a clear understanding of their target customer, machine learning-enabled analysis and optimization of customer data through GoogleAds, Facebook Advertising, or other social platforms can extend reach by creating similar or lookalike audiences. These new potential customers share the traits and behavior of existing ones, increasing the likelihood that the ads they see on these platforms are more relevant, effectively targeted and customized to generate a response. The result can be a greater ROI, improved cost-per-click (CPC), and more customers.

How to Build a Direct Mail Campaign

At some point in your direct mail campaign, you’ll want to turn to professionals to help you save money and avoid disruptions that can easily sabotage the campaign at any stage. However, the more informed you are about what it takes to plan, construct, and carry out a successful campaign, the better prepared you’ll be from start to finish and the odds for success increase. You know your audience, goals, and expected outcomes better than anyone else. The better you can identify the customers you want to attract and offer something you know they will value, the greater is the opportunity to grow your business through direct mail.

Define Your Objective

Define Your Ideal Customer

Set Your Budget

Design Your Direct Mailer

Create Your Direct Mailing List

Launch Your Direct Marketing Campaign

Integrate Direct Mail into Multi-Channel Campaigns

Track Your Direct Mail Campaign

In conclusion, direct mail has become a necessary component of the marketing tool box for every type of business. It consistently shows a proven track-record of delivering a high ROI, driving high customer response, and, when integrated into a multi-channel marketing campaign, it greatly improves the impact of digital and social media marketing channels.

Today, it’s easier than ever for businesses of all sizes to find affordable solutions to create engaging direct mail postcards, brochures, and other marketing material to attract new customers, build trust from the first engagement, nurture loyal customers, and increase revenue.

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