If you’re serious about small business growth but think direct mail campaigns are old news, stop tweeting and close that Facebook tab in your browser. This will just take a few minutes.

Whether you go it alone or contract with a marketing professional, these guidelines can help first-timers grasp the high points of direct mail campaigns and implement strategies to make them more successful.

For the most part, the success of a direct mail campaign depends on the following three things:

  • Targeting the right audience with your mailing list. A smaller mailing list comprised of the right people is better than a huge list of absolute strangers.
  • Creating incentive for your customer to make the purchase. Make it so people would be silly not to come to you.
  • Packaging the communication creatively while conveying a clear message. Creativity is good, subtlety not so much. Don’t make people guess what you’re up to.

Now that we covered the basics, here are seven ways to enhance your next direct mail campaign.

Maximize Your Budget

The bottom line matters. Your campaign’s cost will be determined by a number of factors including the cost of paper and printing, postage, and ad agency or designer fees. Before you jump in, set a maximum budget and get estimates from your vendors. If your total direct mail program expenses exceed the income you generate, you’re doing it wrong.

Find the Right Audience

This should be straightforward. If you don’t research your target audience, you’re essentially just throwing money at the wrong people. Direct mail works best when you send to a carefully compiled list. Mailing to random directories and simply hoping something sticks is a horrible idea. Don’t do it.

Write Great Copy

Not only does your copy need to be error-free, it needs to be engaging. If your direct mail piece is missing the ever-important call to action and fails to offer your audience something they want, it’s just junk mail. Think about it from the consumer’s point of view.

Avoid Excessive Hype

It might take some practice, but it is possible to generate exciting campaigns without sounding like a greasy used car dealer. Avoid hallow marketing clichés like “Satisfaction guaranteed!” and “We’re the best!” and “We offer quality service!” Instead be conversational, informative and helpful.

Remember Branding

Another benefit of a good direct mail campaign is the opportunity it gives you to establish your brand. To make your business stick in the minds of your audience, your business identity, message, and logo need to play nice together. Consistent branding makes you more memorable.


Don’t get tunnel vision when you develop your direct mail flyer or postcard. Think about how you can use it in conjunction with the rest of your marketing goals. For instance, including your Twitter name on a direct mail postcard can boost your follower rate.

Track Results

Your campaign should include ways to track your success. Using unique promo codes or coupons, you can determine whether or not your campaign is actually working and figure your return on investment (ROI). Leave out results tracking, and you might as well try building revenue at the casino.

With all the buzz about online marketing strategies these days, it’s easy to overlook direct mail. But why would you ignore any opportunity to introduce yourself to new customers and grow your business? If you do it right, direct mail can bring back existing customers and help you meet new ones.

Postage image credit: iwanbeijes