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Direct Mail Tips: What To Consider Before Sending Addressed Mail

by Sheldon Nesdale on 5 September 2014

in Advertising

Are the following statements true for you?

  • You have a message you want to send out to 50 – 500 potential clients/customers
  • You have a contact name and postal address
  • Timeliness is not an issue. If it takes your audience a few days, or weeks or even months before they take action, that’s ok

If you answered yes to the above statements, perhaps direct mail is a good choice for you.

I just want to be clear, when I talk about “direct mail”, I’m talking about a letter (maybe just a few pages) in an envelope with the recipients name and address printed on the front.

I’m not talking about glossy/colourful items that have been commercially printed.


There are 3 reasons why sending a direct mail might be a better choice than alternatives such as a calling a meeting, making a phone call or sending an email:

  1. Scale
  2. Tangibility
  3. Attention

1. Scale

With direct mail you can communicate with a huge audience. 100 people. 1000 people. 10,000 people. It’ll only cost you about $1-$2 each. If you can make an average of $5 per letter you send out, you are making money.

2. Attention

Seeing an envelope in your in-tray with your name on it, ripping open the envelope and seeing your name at the top, and reading a message written for you, that’s personal. That gets your attention.

It has almost zero chance of not being opened. Can you say that about any other form of advertising?

3. Tangibility

You get to feel the paper in your hands. It exists. A whole lot of complicated logistics got it to you. You can throw it on your desk, and it’ll be there waiting for you later. If you delete an email, however, it’s gone. Out of sight, out of mind. Email is cheap. A letter has much more value.

3 More Direct Mail Tips:

  • Personalise the letter heavily with the receipients first name. Not just the envelope and internal address, put it in your headings and subheadings and 5 or 6 times in the body, and in the call to action at the end
  • Don’t use window envelopes. They look like bills and they don’t build up anticipation of something good. Also, they might not get opened until later in the month
  • Print your return address on the back. The letters that get returned can be removed from your database

Your thoughts?

Have your say in the comments below.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kevin Davis October 24, 2014 at 5:18 am

Thanks for the article. I’ve seen a lot of success with postcards because there is no need to open the letter and a higher chance of being seen. Additionally it seems like there is a lot less competition in the mailbox these days with the shift to online. If done right these can be great.


2 Sheldon Nesdale October 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm

That’s a good point Kevin, thanks for that


3 Catherine Marshall November 20, 2014 at 7:43 am

I agree, postcards are very effective, however it takes time and effort to make sure the postcard isn’t too overwhelming but also give out the message it wants to. Thanks for sharing!


4 Sheldon Nesdale November 24, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Thanks Catherine


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