Direct Mail Tips

In today’s environment some experts are showing that it will take as many as seven hits before a recipient will respond to a direct marketing offer.  This can make things difficult when trying to send the right piece at the right time, while trying to avoid target market fatigue.

What are some ways to balance the effort of sending the right number of communications?


Testing is a necessary expense and crucial in determining the best way to show ROI for your efforts.

  • Segment your mailing list into 2 or more lists depending on the quantity and number of different appeals you want to manage.
  • Create several unique formats and types of mail pieces with the same concept or appeal.  For example you may start with a postcard and follow up with a letter/envelope followed by an 8.5×11 flat.
  • Send various pieces to one segment of your list within 1 to 2 week intervals and to another segment of your list within a different timeframe and interval period.
  • Track results of the different segments to determine where the responses came from and what produces the best ROI.

These steps will assist you in preparation for subsequent mailings going to the same target audience.

Prospect Expectations

What notifications are your customers or prospects expecting to receive from you?

  • Have they subscribed to a mail or email list?
  • Is your product seasonal in nature where they expect a notice by a certain date?
  • Do you typically provide notices when an offer is about to expire?

Your customers and prospects may be accustomed to your marketing efforts or efforts from your competitors.  It is important to keep in mind when creating your campaigns.


The value of your product or service can affect the number of attempts you make with your prospects.  The more valuable your offer is will allow you to attempt more frequent contacts with your prospects until you see no results come through.  The key is to offer something new with each effort in order to prevent your mail piece from immediately going into the trash.

“What’s in it for me?”


The timeframe for your offer determines the frequency of your mailings.  Back to school offers begin in July with more intense efforts right before school starts.  Non Profits want their appeal mailings to be received before recipients have made other donations or have started Christmas shopping.  Consumers and mail recipients welcome the information in order to make decisions on where money will be directed.

Guide Your customers / Prospect

  • Make the offer clear.
  • Don’t muddy the message with multiple offers.
  • Be specific.
  • ASK for the order!