How to Direct Mail Coupons?

Include coupons in your direct mail campaign to generate a measurable response and encourage customer loyalty by sharing good value with consumers.

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Coupons which look and feel like as postcards, with attractive colours and messaging, printed on card stock are the most effective form of direct mail advertising, with a response rate of 5.7%. as per Zipdo’s direct mail marketing statistics   

Designing and deploying coupons in your direct mail campaigns is a great way to grow your customer base while keeping current customers satisfied. Retailers use coupons to bring people to their stores and to promote new products or services.


To properly weaponize this marketing tactic, please be aware of the following considerations and take advantage of the industry's best practices.  

Customize  Coupons with Personalization  

It's possible to individually personalize coupons by printing the name and address of the direct mail recipient on the piece. Repeat customers treasure such customizations and could feel they're receiving a reward. This would include full branding with your brand colours and logo so the customer knows exactly who you are, keeping your business at the forefront of their minds. Personalizing coupons can be a reflection of your company, consumers who receive and make the purchase could associate your brand with great deals. 

Coupons Should be Clean, Simple, and Easy To Understand

Nothing is more frustrating than receiving a valuable coupon or discount offer and not knowing exactly how and where it can be used.  Business owners will want to ensure the purchase process is as seamless as possible to avoid any confusion.  There can be negative impacts if a customer is not able to use what they had initially found valuable and goes directly to your competitor.  The best thing to do is to make the instructions on the coupon clear with what exactly the customer will receive and how they go about receiving it.  When creating the coupon, ask yourself, “Do they need to go to physical a store to use the coupon, will they need a code, if we use a QR code - do we have the resources needed to create a separate landing page, can it be used online, do they need to have a minimum purchase in order to use it?”  Once you can answer these questions yourself with a clear resolution, then you are on your way to creating a successful offer!

What Are Typical ValueOptions for Coupons?

Marketing teams should ask themselves, “what do our customers most value?”  Think of how you feel when you receive coupons. Are there certain offers that are more appealing than others? Are there certain discounts that better suit your lifestyle or business?  Here are some different discount messaging examples that are instantly recognizable:

  • Percentage Off –  this is when you have a certain percent off of the entire purchase. This is usually used for a larger ticket item.
  • Dollar-Off  – you can have a certain dollar amount off a purchase. (Consider having a minimum purchase before taxes to use the coupon). This is usually used for a smaller ticket item.
  • Free with Purchase – customers will receive something free with a specific purchase.
  • Coupon Code – use coupon codes when you want to direct consumers to make an online purchase. (Easy to track redemptions and gain insight data into your customers)
  • BOGO – Stands for ‘Buy One Get One’ where the customer must purchase a specified item to receive another item.
  • New Customers Only – when looking to increase your clientele, offer coupons that can only be used by new customers.

Clearly Define the Terms & Conditions of the Coupon Offer 

For any customer that would like to use your direct mail coupons, the terms and conditions, or the “fine print” as some may know it as needs to be very clear.  Not only is this for the customer on how the discounted coupon will work, but it also protects your business as well.  Some examples of what should be included are:

  • Expiry Date - this is when the offer must be used by the customer or within a certain time frame. (It also encourages customers to act sooner rather than later).
  • Limited Time Offer - similar to expiry date, this gives the customer a little more flexibility or helps your business clear out a product that may no longer be available down the road.
  • Location Specific - if you have a store or a new location that needs a boost, you can create campaign offers that are specific to one location only.
  • No Cash Value - this covers your business if someone were trying to redeem for the dollar value and receive cash instead of the product or service.
  • Limit Per Person - you can stipulate on your coupon that only one person per household can use the offer.  
  • Not Valid With Any Other Offer - use this condition to discourage stacking products or services.
  • Not Valid On Certain Brands - if you were a clothing store, you would use this condition if you needed to clear out certain brands and not allow the offer to be used on higher priced brands.

Direct mail coupons are an effective tool for marketing campaigns provided they're not overused.  They help businesses retain existing customers and attract new ones while allowing merchandisers to test the waters and find out what works, and what doesn’t.  If you’re ready to start showcasing your coupons on your next campaign, contact DRMG today to get started!


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