The dos and don’ts of direct mail – tips for businesses

So your direct mail makes the maximum impact and gets the recipient doing what you want them to do...

The Dos

Two-way communication

You must allow for two way communication. Calls to action and easy responses give people a next step to follow. Multiple options are great because they provide a choice; responders will then usually use what is easiest for them.

  • QR codes
  • Phone numbers
  • URLs
  • email addresses

Make sure that there are people ready to respond, no matter which communication method is chosen.

Use great design

You have one chance to make a great first impression. Good clean design that grabs their attention and quickly tells them what you want to tell them is far more effective than something that takes up their time before they know what you are on about!

Check, check and check again

Typos and grammatical errors detract from your message. People read your messages, but they remember the typos. You can never properly check your own work, so give it to someone else to check.

Personalise your mailings

In the days before mail merges were possible you could get away with “Dear Sir or Madam,” – not any more. Make sure that your mailings talk to the person you’re sending it to and are appropriate in their tone. For some of you, it may be “Dear Mrs Jones”. For others, “Hi Sarah,” may be better.

You should also check your data before you run the merge. Information in the wrong field can produce poor results that the recipient will see and not appreciate.

Segment your mailing list

Don’t send everything to everyone; they will not appreciate it and your brand will suffer if you do. The more appropriate the content is to the recipient, the more likely they are to respond.

Measure your results

Whatever the goal of your direct mail campaign, you want to know whether it worked or not. Integrated technology like QR codes to dedicated landing pages makes some measurement easy. Tracking sales to a particular campaign may not be as simple but you should be able to see spikes in product sales, website traffic or social followers that align with your campaigns.

The Don’ts

Apart from the obvious ones of not doing the do’s, here are some real no-no’s for direct mail campaigns:

Thin stationery

70 gsm paper and cheap envelopes speak volumes, and not in a good way. If you want the campaign recipients to think you provide quality, make sure everything they receive from you is great quality.

Low resolution images

If you include images on your mailings, remember that the files need to be much higher resolution than those you use on your website and social channels. Digital files are often 72 dpi (dots per inch). Whilst great on a screen, print images need to be at least 300 dpi.

Send at the right time

If, for some reason, your campaign is unavoidably delayed, you are better off not sending it at all, than sending it late. Imagine something reaching a potential customer on Jan 4th that wishes them a Merry Christmas – what would they think. Whilst the performance of the delivering company (Royal Mail, DPD etc.) is outside of your control (and our’s the majority of the time), you have the ultimate control in when a mail campaign goes out.

You are far better off having the campaign ready early and it sitting in your office for a few days, so plan ahead.


If you have any questions about what to do, and more importantly what not to do, with a direct mail campaign, we are always happy to discuss things with you. Give us a call on 020 8561 2288 and let’s talk. Alternatively click here and we’ll call you back.

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