Direct Mail Marketing

“Direct mail is advertising mail delivered at a household level.

Instead of targeting an entire postcode, direct mail may be delivered to three households and two business addresses within that postcode.”

Direct mail is a tried, true, and tested way to distribute a unique, personalised message to your customers. A direct mail campaign is powerful as it will resonate with your target audience. It’s also guaranteed to be seen, giving it a clear edge over crowded and oversaturated digital channels.

Studies show that direct mail stays in the household for around four weeks, (source: JICMAIL, Kantar), creating multiple interactions with your audience with a single piece of marketing. Thanks to various progressions and innovations in technology, it also gets more and more sustainable every year.


What is Direct Mail?

Direct mail is advertising mail delivered at a household level. In other words, instead of targeting an entire postcode, direct mail may be delivered to three households and two business addresses within that postcode, as an example.

Direct mail uses data to refine an audience, and this data can be a list of prospective customers or existing customers, even lapsed customers. It’s effective as it creates the ability for more localisation and personalisation, reinforcing an affinity between brand and consumer.


How and Why Does Direct Mail Work?

Direct mail uses data. Data is the key to filtering out individuals and households that quite simply won’t resonate with a brand or message, meaning that an return on investment can be optimised.

This is as every household will receive a piece of artwork. The fewer pieces of artwork that need to be printed, the lower the overall print cost. Then, if this artwork is received by households more likely to appreciate it, the campaign wastage is also cut down.

Any data can be used to create an effective campaign. For example, it can be geographic, if the targeting is a radius outside a housing development, it can be customer-driven, for example, coupons for existing customers via a CRM, or it can be purely buyer intent driven, for example, those who have recently moved homes.

Various characteristics and life events will  make your customers more or less likely to interact with your brand. Direct mail helps you communicate with those relevant customers and avoid frustrating households that are highly unlikely to interact.


Partially Addressed Mail (PAM)

Partially addressed mail is very similar to direct mail, and some companies will use the name interchangeably. Usually, direct mail will target a household at a personal level, where partially addressed mail will only target on a household level, e.g. to “the homeowner”.

Partially addressed mail usually uses modelled data or data about the home or business itself to create a list of prospects, instead of addressing itself to specific inhabitants. In other words, homeowners with a poor EPC score are great prospects for energy companies, and getting a message about EPC improvement to those household adds value to them (and the inhabitant’s wallet). If the EPC score is an A, there’s no need to target that household. All of this data isn’t about the inhabitant, but the house itself, meaning the mail can be partially addressed to the resident as a prospecting tool.

Any data can be used here, too, as modelled data can be used to create demographics of first-time buyers and those households targeted via a mail deployment. The message, therefore, can still be personalised to first-time buyers, though zero- and first-party data will always be the gold standard when it comes to communicating with the right people and refining a message.

Designing a Direct Mailer

Effective data can only get you to the right audience and, without an effective message, isn’t enough to carry your brand to newer heights.

A direct mailer needs to evoke some ‘doorstep drama’. It needs to be on brand, eye-catching, and memorable.

Remember, most direct mailers are A5 postcards, so there’s a limited amount of space to work with. Therefore, the best designs don’t clutter a small space with an overload of information, instead showing key details and colourful, on-brand imagery.

The best thing about a direct mailer, though, is that it’s targeted to communicate with a specific audience. This means that you can integrate the reader with your design. If your audience is elderly, the font size and spacing should be easier to read, where if your audience is first time buyers, your images might show young adults.

Knowing your audience and what their pain points are, as well as what they enjoy, what they benefit from, and what they want is always the key to a great marketing campaign and it’s no different when it comes to direct mail marketing campaigns.


Utilising Data Driven Marketing

The data creates a simpler design and distribution process when it comes to direct mail. This is as you can segment your data and campaigns into different demographics, geographies, and audiences. Using data this way allows you to really localise and personalise your message depending on which marketing materials will reach which households.

So, when it comes to data, it’s very easy to see the more straightforward benefits of data helping with finding and communicating with an audience, but the benefits actually run deeper than this. Data allows you to refine your message and segment your artwork to communicate with different groups within your audience in parallel, but more tailored ways.

Data, therefore, can be threaded through your entire campaign from before it begins to after it ends. You’ll be able to measure your results, too, and integrate them into the targeting for your next campaigns, always improving and refining your strategies and your message.


Blending Other Channels

No man is an island, why should campaigns be any different? As mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of print is that it stays in the household for longer. This means that your brand is already interacted with multiple times simply through the format of the message.

However, why not increase these interactions further? Blending campaigns with door drops and refining targeting based on customer intent is entirely possible, as well as retargeting based solely on those who interacted with your artwork.

How would you do this? The easiest way is the ubiquitous link between the physical and the digital: the QR code. Anyone who fills in a form based on a door drop or direct mailer has given your company valuable zero party information. So often, however, campaigns are disparate with forms going to old processes and creating manual work. This is much more difficult to scale where platforms such as Google Ads can retarget those who have interacted with your brand automatically.

So, why not blend channels together and create a multi-channel, localised marketing approach, focused on your brand’s message, audience, and offering. Using data will keep your budget low, here, too, as direct marketing allows you to target subsets of groups and not need to cast a wide, expensive net.


Tracking Results

Tracking results and using metrics to improve is essential. The best way to do this is with a QR code and/or a clear call to action set apart from other campaigns. If you have a temporary landing page URL specific to your artwork, it shows you how many people have directly interacted with your direct mailer.

Having a finger on the pulse of your metrics, campaigns, and analytics will also help attribute campaign success, as sometimes the goal will be an increase in footfall. As digital marketing strategies often have in-built metric collection, sometimes low digital results with a simultaneous spike in success can be attributed to direct mail.

So, moving your audience to a digital channel is one way to track success. However, more old-fashioned methods can also help you track results. Vouchers or offers based on bringing a direct mailer in-store can be counted up to measure the success and return on investment of a campaign.

Usual digital methods can help, too, such as onboarding questions asking where your audience heard about your brand. So long as you’re using this data to refine your strategy, message, and audience, there are a lot of ways to collect this information.


Using Marketing Technologies & Precision Connects

Marketing technologies, such as Precision Connects, automate your direct marketing processes. From designing artwork for multiple channels to distributing it to the household, technologies allow for straightforward brand consistency and distribution, cutting costs and time spent creating campaigns.

Precision Connects also has a household database of over 27 million households and 5.6 million segmented businesses across the UK. This database contains information that can help you refine your audience and ensure your message is received by those who want to receive it, and those who’ll benefit from it.

Brand activation and distribution automation is the future, and it gets simpler and simpler to create localised marketing campaigns on a global scale year after year. To find out more about how Precision can help you with your direct mail needs, you can call the team on 01284 718900 or email us at, or fill in the form below to get in touch.

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Bury St Edmunds

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