How to Improve Your Business’s Direct Mail Efforts | Fora Financial Blog
How to Improve Your Business’s Direct Mail Efforts
July 17, 2018

How to Improve Your Business’s Direct Mail Efforts

Americans have been receiving mail since May 1, 1693, when the Internal Colonial Postal Union began making weekly deliveries between Williamsburg, Virginia and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Since then a lot has changed. Today, the U.S. Postal Service processes and delivers 493.4 million mail pieces every day.

Despite the rise of email marketing, direct mail is still a useful marketing strategy. In fact, a study conducted by the U.S. Postal Service found that even though millennials grew up in the digital age, 84 percent look through their mail, and 64 percent would rather scan for useful mail pieces than emails. Additionally, a study by MarketingSherpa showed that 93 percent of baby boomers trust direct mail.

In this post, we’ll list five ways to improve your business’s direct mail efforts, so you can ensure that you’re getting the biggest return on your investment.

1. Understand Your Target Customers

Before you begin sending direct mail, you should understand your target customer demographics. Research not only their age, gender, and marital status, but also psychographics like their attitudes, hobbies, values, and spending habits. By getting into the minds of your target customers, you can use language, colors, and graphics that appeal to them. Direct mail can be quite expensive if you send it to everyone, so you can also save money by only sending it to the people you’re trying to connect with.

2. Include a Coupon or Offer

According to the Direct Mail Association, nearly two-thirds of all Americans bought something because of direct mail, and 70 percent of consumers have rekindled a relationship because of direct mail they received. One way to entice recipients to shop at your store is to include a coupon or offer on your mailer.

A study from found that people who received coupons were happier, less stressed, and had less anxiety. It makes sense; people are happy when they feel like they’re getting a good deal and can save money!

If your business isn’t in a financial spot to include a discount, offer something else of value like a piece of advice or new insight. Whatever you provide, it must add value to their lives. If recipients feel like your business can provide value, they’ll be more likely to consider your products or services.

3. Use Compelling Copy and Design

Americans receive a lot of mail, so it’s important that your mailer stands out. Even though it’s more expensive, using color ink instead of black and white will make people more likely to read it. Entrepreneur suggests the paragraphs should be short, concise, and lead the reader through a story. You can also use bullet points so it’s easier to read, and the main point should be repeated throughout the mailer. Finally, ensure your piece includes a strong call-to-action, so that recipients are encouraged to act on the information they just read.

4. Include Product Samples

Let’s face it – everyone likes to get something free. If your product can be mailed, sending out a small sample is a great way to get potential customers interested. This can expand your customer base and get people to try it even if they’ve never been to your store. If your product is too difficult to mail or it wouldn’t be cost-effective, you can offer a free sample if consumers bring the mailer to your store.

5. Measure Your Results

As with any marketing effort, it’s important to measure results to ensure that you’re spending your money wisely. This way you can tell which mail pieces are working well, or can re-run programs that brought in the best returns.  To differentiate which customers shopped because of your mailer, use a QR code on the mailer or send them to a unique URL so you can track purchases from that specific link. If a customer is redeeming the coupon in a physical store, you can attach receipts to the coupons and add up how much each person who used the coupon spent. By subtracting the cost of the direct mail project from the amount of revenue it brought in, you can see how much money you made from your efforts.


Even with the rise of email marketing, direct mail is not an obsolete marketing tactic. By understanding your target customer and creating mailers that appeal to them, you can boost your sales and gain new customers.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].