Dos and Don’ts of Direct Mail

Direct mail that is clear and personalized avoids confusion about your message or call-to-action. Read more do’s and don’ts for your campaign!

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Whether you’ve just started a new business, taking over a business or looking to expand your business, you should consider direct mail in your strategy and there are some key points that will make a difference in your campaign planning.  You want to be sure that your direct mail campaign lands in the right mailboxes, right area and on time.  Here is a list of our top dos and don’ts to get you started! 

Direct Mail Dos 

Focus On The Right Audience And Personalize

One of the first things you need to do is know who your target audience is and who would benefit from the product or service you are promoting.  Without this, how can you run a successful campaign?   Don’t have a target audience or buyer persona? Start with identifying your potential customers' concerns, what are they? Are there any purchasing trends you notice?  Through interviews or surveys, you can also ask demographics based questions.  When you feel you have enough data to use, share this with your team and then you can start analyzing patterns you find.  From here this is where you still start to see who your target audience is, or create your buyer personas which will then allow you to start personalizing the ad.  Personalizing may be the location itself, colour/design of the ad and even the copy on the ad.  This will reinforce the message you are trying to get across and ultimately into the right mailboxes.

Have A Great Call-To-Action

This is one of the most important points of your direct mail campaign.  You do not necessarily need to offer a discount or sale, but it needs to be something that entices customers to take the next step in engaging with your brand.  This could be something as simple as a contest to enter, a survey to complete, a coupon code offered, and much more!  Encouraging the reader to take action is one of your main goals, just make sure you are clear with what exactly it is you want them to do. Without having a great CTA (or nothing at all), you’ll quickly realize that it’s too expensive, time consuming and it’s impossible to track results.  


Your direct mail campaign may be a consumer's first impression, or a repeat customer’s reminder of who and what your brand is all about.  Either way this cannot be stressed enough, your campaign needs to be clear, concise and free of errors.  When working so closely with an ad or campaign, sometimes the smallest piece of information or typo can be overlooked.  This is why it is highly recommended that you have a colleague or two proofread your direct mailer.  

Track Campaigns

To know the true success of your direct mail campaign, you need to track results.  Any and all data that has been collected is valuable in some form or another.  Ways to track are with coupon codes, QR codes, promotional codes, call tracking numbers, website links, and more.  You will want to include some kind of end date to your campaign such as an expiry so it encourages consumers to act within a certain time frame.  Without any form of tracking, it will be difficult to know whether the campaign was worthwhile or not, any lessons learned and how to improve the next campaign, or better yet, to not change what worked!

Direct Mail Don’ts

Include More Than One Call-To-Action

To do something well, it needs to be done right.  This includes your call-to-action.  Sometimes companies want to get as much out and into our hands all at once which can be overwhelming.  Not only does this create a lot of confusion but it also sends unclear messages.  It changes the credibility of your company and can tarnish your brand.  Simply put, please do not put more than one CTA on your direct mail campaign.  

Forget To Follow Up

After all the time and effort spent researching, collaborating with different departments, designing/printing your campaign and mailing it out, you do not want to make the mistake of forgetting to follow up.  Through the different ways to track your campaign mentioned above, you should utilize this information on how to best connect or reconnect with your target audience.  To show your appreciation, you can send a thank you email/note or simply add these clients to a priority list. This will show you who will likely be receptive to any future direct mail campaigns.  

Create Confusing Content And Overlooking Design

Too much of a good thing is really too much.  Whether the direct mail is heavy text or has splashes of too much colour, the consumer will not know where to look, what to read or what is even being asked of them to do.  If the message and the design are confusing, it becomes overwhelming and the ad is put to the side.  All that time, effort and money spent working on your direct mail campaign is no longer effective.  The last thing you want is to have something that misrepresents your brand and voice.

Now that you have the tools in place on what to do and not to do for your campaign,  you will be in a better position on how to properly execute, and ensure success for your business going forward.  Contact us today as we can connect you with your local marketing consultant to get started on your next mailout!


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