What is Direct Mail Marketing? Strategies, Ideas & More for 2024

Jun 6, 2023 | Business Tips, Gift Ideas, Marketing

Finding new ways to communicate in a manner that garners attention can be difficult for a business trying to maneuver through the noise in the world of marketing. But there’s a fun way to connect with vendors, customers and clients; which you can get creative with, and that’s direct mail marketing.

What is Direct Mail Marketing?

Direct mail marketing is any form of physical correspondence that is delivered to a recipient’s mailbox. This offline form of marketing is a strategy used to send printed brochures and mailers, promotional products, branded swag and other physical items. All types of marketing professionals leverage this strategy including recruiters, growth teams, inbound and outbound sales teams, demand generation teams and more. 

Reaching wider audiences through digital means has often been a go-to strategy in marketing campaigns. And why shouldn’t it be? Consumers are on their smartphones and on social media for at least 5 hours a day on average. And what better way to reach these followers, influencers, tweethearts, twitterati and exhibitionists other than on their own turf, right?

Well, not actually. The burst of e-marketing has also resulted in a resounding digital overwhelm. In fact, according to Deloitte’s 2021 Connectivity and Trends survey, digital fatigue has overwhelmed consumers such that a third feel the need to manage their subscriptions and the number of devices they use. 

Such increased aversion to digital media is sure to pave the way for another avenue to reach consumers and customers, especially with fierce competition clutching at the heels of marketers. And thus, the need for a way to reach recipients on a more personal level; like at their mailboxes. 

What Are the Advantages of Using Direct Mail Marketing?

The diversification of digital marketing has greatly increased the need for direct mail. If you think direct mail marketing has become a forgotten art, think again. There are several reasons why you should add this strategy to your marketing campaign and they don’t end at your ROI. Here’s a look at some of the advantages of this marketing approach:

Stand out from the crowd: Being the less popular “step sister” of digital marketing, direct mail marketing has less noise – so to speak. And where there is less noise, there is more opportunity. Your campaign can capitalize on the undivided attention of direct mail as less marketers will be sending your prospects or clients physical items; thereby there will be less competition.

It is more memorable: Direct mail is more memorable because it creates the most genuine of human impressions: touch. When your recipient holds or feels your product, letter, brochure etc; it will create a lasting impression that will linger for longer than a few minutes. In addition, direct mail is a physical product. It allows for creativity and therefore, you can be more expressive with your message. This will ultimately leave a resounding impact; more than an email does. 

Wider reach: Unlike a digital campaign, a direct mail campaign will appeal to all audiences and age groups. The wider the reach, the greater the heights. 

Increased response rates: Because of the customer engagement, direct mail has a better response rate, with an impressive 10 to 30X more replies or feedback than email. This is according to research by the printing company, American Litho. 

Creating Your Direct Mail Marketing Campaign 

In the attempt to grow your brand, you need to reach new customers and explore different avenues. But knowing just how to increase your customer base can be easier said than done. If you are in the same boat, feeling as though you are navigating your business around the same waters for longer than you should, take note of these four tips than you can use in your direct mail campaign:

1. Targeting Your Ideal Recipient

Among the older strategies in direct marketing is “mass marketing”. This means sending out mail to as many people as you can because someone has to be interested. But the cost of delivering and creating these pieces of mail are ever increasing, and with so much of your advertising ending up in the trash, a fresher look at this marketing approach is required.

Targeting your ideal customer is a refined, more cost-effective and sensible route to go. Targeted mailing lists, while they can be more expensive, are more likely to lead to a better response rate; as well as generate more loyal customers in the long run. 

2. Understanding your Target Audience

Before you can target your ideal recipient, you first need to understand your target audience. Knowing your target audience’s demographics, such as their age and gender, is a start. But more in-depth knowledge of their profile’s, such as their lifestyle habits and attitude towards social media and trends, are useful when selecting your recipients and generating the messages and items you’ll be sending out.

3. Picking the Right Mailing List 

Your direct mail program is utterly dependent on your picking the most appropriate direct mailing list. The correct mailing list will contain your most valuable prospects or clients and increase your chances of success. From the mailing lists to consider, you should determine if your campaign fits into one of the following three categories:

  • A custom mailing list: this allows you to select the customer’s specifications based on the needs of your marketing campaign
  • A speciality list: a list that enables you to identify your target customers
  • A cloned mailing list: allows you to seek new customers that are similar to your existing ones 

When you have a checklist of all the attributes or characteristics that are necessary, it will be easier to select the mailing list that is best suited to the needs of your business. 

4. Creating your Direct Mail Message

The direct mail message/ package you create is the star of the show. It will represent your brand and who you are. When creating your message, keep it in line with what you are promoting/ selling. If quality is important to your brand and your company, your direct mail needs to reflect that. 

The Cost of Direct Mail Marketing

A lack of planning or budgeting can see your costs increase without necessitation. And while the individual costs of direct mail marketing strategies can greatly vary, tracking your expenses doesn’t have to be an entire mystery. However, always be mindful of the “hidden costs” that can be lurking in the background of your marketing campaign. These can skyrocket your expense in the most unexpected of ways. Some hidden costs include your production time and tracking and analytics, among others.  

A gifting platform like Giftsenda can be a great help when it comes to direct mail marketing. The use of a sending platform removes the need to focus on sourcing gifts, inventory management, manual delivery and tracking. All you have to do is input your recipient details, choose gifts and select the delivery method and pay. The platform also automatically tracks your ROI and reports on it so you can identify areas of improvement with your budgeting and management. 

the cost of direct mail marketing

Measuring The ROI of a Direct Mail Campaign

So you’ve kicked off your direct mail marketing campaign, and it’s now time to measure the ROI of your strategies. Understanding the impact your campaign has had on your customers is important to its success because it allows you to establish baselines and adjust some of your efforts to optimize the results. Measuring the ROI of direct mail marketing strategies is dependent on a few factors, such as the objectives of your campaign, the metrics used to determine success (the rates of conversion, closing a deal or retention) and the return on investment in monetary value. 

Best Practices for Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing cannot and probably should not replace digital marketing. But integrating it with other marketing approaches can enhance its effectiveness and make up for its shortcomings. Direct mail can be a helpful channel when building an email list or when capturing data specific to customers. A successful way of doing this can be sending out an attractive postcard, that includes a hard-to-miss offer, with a subscription to your mailing list. 

A CTA (or call to action) is a practice that is essential because your customers need to know what is required to do business with you and how to go about doing it. A strong and clearly defined CTA directly impacts your marketing strategies, but it should also be easy to follow and candid in terms of timelines/ deadlines. 

An ideal customer profile can be strengthened when you use a test to support your campaign. You are able to extrapolate necessary data when you send direct mail to test recipients, analyzing areas in the process that can be improved and tracking data points from the responses you receive.

direct mail marketing trends


Personalizing your direct mail is an approach that can take time and money, but the results are also often in line with your added efforts. Personalization creates a one-to-one targeted connection that grabs the attention of your recipient and makes them feel special. It is a way of cementing an existing bond in a fashion that ordinary SWAG cannot. Your customizing efforts can be adding a handwritten note to display your endeavors or a carefully curated package of products that show you have invested time into caring for the needs of your recipient. 


Postcards are a quick, cost-efficient form of direct mail that has been on the rise in the past few years. They are easily customizable, come in various formats and don’t leave a gaping hole in your marketing budget to print and mail. 


While direct mail marketing strategies can garner better response rates compared to digital methods, interactive direct mail can see increases in these already impressive areas. Interactivity in your direct mail campaign is simply mail that excites the senses of its recipient. They can include textured finishes or varnishes, such as scratch-and-sniff postcards, or 3D folds and structures with eye-catching images and sleek lettering. For an interactive gifting experience you can also send gift invites via email or a gift link and allow your recipients to choose their own gift from a curated selection – worldwide. 

Make Your Direct Mail Marketing Campaign Better With Giftsenda

With all the information and tips you’ve gathered about direct mail approaches, putting this knowledge into action can be easy when you incorporate the Giftsenda platform. Creating campaigns that help your business rise above the competition starts with harnessing the power of a sending platform. 

With Giftsenda you can send personalized mail to recipients in various countries and track the progress of your campaign too. You can easily create bulk campaigns using info on your CRM. If you do not have all the details of your recipients, you can use our automated sending methods (using an email address or shareable gift link) to allow recipients to provide their shipping details and choose their own gift – in over 200 countries worldwide. 

If you need help to create a project or campaign, reach out and we’ll help you reach new heights with direct mail marketing. No subscription required.

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