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Direct Mail Services Buyer's Guide - Types Of Direct Mail Marketing

Direct Mail Services Buyer's Guide - Types Of Direct Mail Marketing

Published: 03/31/2011

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Types Of Direct Mail Marketing

You have multiple options for your direct mail marketing campaign. They all have their pros and cons. Select the one that works best for your business based on cost, messaging, and the audience you want to reach.







This is the simplest form of direct mail marketing. Postcards typically feature colorful designs with your logo and offer on one side, and details and a way to respond on the other. They’re the least expensive to print and to mail.


Postcards provide a very limited surface area to deliver your message, but that can actually work to your advantage. They force you to get right to the point and select your words efficiently.



A drawback of postcards for direct mail marketing is that the customer may not feel they are getting an exclusive offer since everyone from the postal carrier to mailroom personnel can see what the offer is. They’re also easy to ignore in large stacks of mail.







Mailers are basic marketing letters in envelopes. You can include one to three sheets of paper and still keep individual pieces to under an ounce. They allow you to provide greater detail on your products, or include other sales materials like white papers or customer testimonials. You can also add a reply envelope to increase responses.



With mailers, the marketing stays inside of the envelope so your customer’s privacy is protected. However, because of the public’s perception of junk mail, it’s difficult to get customers to open the envelope to see what you’re offering. To counter this perception, you may want to put a short message on the outside of your direct mail marketing piece such as “Attention: small business owners” or “Great offer for electronics enthusiasts.”




Brochures, newsletters, and catalogs


If you want to send out more elaborate materials for a direct mail marketing campaign, you have many options. Brochures allow you to promote your business in an attractive format on glossy paper stock. You can also forgo envelopes by printing the address directly on the back and sealing it shut with a tab.



Catalogs detail some or all of the products and services you offer. Newsletters can keep customers informed of what your company does and perhaps offer a few special deals.



The downside to these forms of direct mail marketing is the increased costs of postage, processing, and printing. They are also more time‐consuming since you can’t run the bulkier items through the same machinery as a flat envelope or postcard. Typically, expensive mailings like these are only sent to existing customers.







These are offers printed on a single sheet of paper, tri‐folded, and sealed with an adhesive tab so you can put the postage and address on the outside without an envelope. They help you save money on paper costs while keeping your mailing light and simple. Without an envelope to protect them, self‐mailers run the risk of getting ripped or crumpled during transit, which can look unprofessional.





Snap mailers



These are essentially specialized envelopes that unfold to reveal the offer. They have perforated sides that you tear off to reveal the message inside or to remove a concealed sheet of paper. Many credit card companies and mortgage brokers promote special rates using this form of direct mail marketing, and that may cause customers to instantly label your snap mailer “junk mail.”




Dimensional mail


This is typically the most creative of all types of direct mail marketing techniques. It uses unique shapes and sizes to capture a customer’s eye and imagination. Dimensional mail can be shipped in a box or tube rather than an envelope, which prompts more customers to open it. This can also include something with your brand name on it like a pen, magnet, or calculator. Dimensional mail is the most expensive direct mail marketing option per unit, which means you shouldn’t send it to unqualified prospects or names from an outdated mailing list.