Direct Mail Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Marketing your small business with a direct mail campaign is a cost-effective way to build brand recognition when following these tips.

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Do you find yourself asking, how can I market my small business, how do I gain the trust of potential customers, are there any tips and strategies that I should follow?  What form of marketing would have the biggest impact for my small business?  Will direct mail get my message across the way I intend for it to?  These are all questions small businesses tend to ask and we have tips to help guide you in the best way possible for a successful direct mail marketing campaign.



Targeting Your Ideal Audience 

If you can identify and understand who your ideal customer is, this can help when you target an audience directly and optimally through direct mail.  To know exactly who to target, it’s important that the information you gather, whether it’s from surveys, quizzes, or interviews, or simply customer data, can allow you to create your list of potential customers.  Or, if you aren’t quite sure who your specific customers are by address, Direct Response Media Group can assist you with Canada Post’s Precision Targeter tool that allows you to plan out where your direct mail should go using an interactive map based on certain areas, routes, even by demographics (14 categories to choose from). If you’d like to get really specific on the demographics, we can also assist you through our Environics data which gives you an even further breakdown by postal code.

Addressed Mail: Creating Your Mailing List or Target Area

If you are able to identify who your customers are and which ones should receive your direct mail campaign, you will need to supply a mailing list.  A mailing list is exactly as it sounds, a list of addresses to mail out to.  There are a few different types of mailing lists to choose from and consider which one makes the most sense for your business.  They are:

  • In-house mailing list - These are the current list of addresses and names that are currently your existing customers. 
  • Purchased mailing list - These are lists that you can buy or rent from a third-party agency and/or direct mailing service. (Using a purchased list is your best option if you do not have an existing customer base or if you’re looking to target a new one).

Although it’s more expensive, addressed mail is a great way to target known or existing customers right in their home.

Neighbourhood Mail: Targeting Your Ideal Customer

If you don’t have a list of addresses or the budget for personalized mail, Direct Response Media Group offers solo and shared mail options. Shared mail, depending on your location would be one of our magazines or Money Saver Envelope that other companies share the cost of advertising in and reach thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, in circulation.  These give you some flexibility on deciding which predetermined zones (that are within a geographic area) your ad can be mailed too that will best suit your businesses needs. Of the shared mail options we have, whether it’s Money Saver Magazine, Money Saver Envelope, Ad Save, Home Saver or Greater Toronto Living, you can run an ad as little as 5 times a year to as many as 12 times a year, or your business can focus on mailing during a season that is suitable to your industry. Solo mail is a perfect lower circulation, medium cost option where you stand alone in the mailbox. Target specific neighbourhoods based on demographic and household data.

Creating Your Offer and Call To Action 

Once you’ve created and finalized your mailing list or target area, you can start working on an offer.  Depending on your industry or product type, consider what sounds strongest - you can decide to offer a percentage discount, dollar off value or even a BOGO.  Then you need to decide what stipulations the offer will have. Will these be for first time purchases (new customers) only, location specific customers (within a certain radius), should the offer have an expiry date, or anything else that you think is important to cover the offer and your business?   After you’ve been able to narrow down the ad offer, it’s time to think of your Call To Action. This can be the design or an action that engages a consumer, requiring a quick response from the customer to do something right away, to download an app or QR code, download a workbook, upload an offer or even to make a purchase.  This is important because if you have a strong CTA it can make all the difference and it’s meant to grab the attention of your reader.

Designing and Choosing the Style of Your Direct Mail Ad 

Now that you’ve created your direct mail campaign, finalized the offer(s) and CTA, it’s time for the final touches, choosing the style whether it’s postcard, menus or flyers, and designing the ad itself!   Best practice is to create an ad that is eye-catching, grabbing the reader's attention, avoiding any overcrowding content while also staying true to your brands fonts and colours.  

Print and Send 

Last but not least, it’s time to print and send your direct mail campaign into the mailboxes of those you’ve worked hard to source and compile!  If you’re new to direct mail, Direct Response Media Group can help simplify this process by handling the design, printing and delivery of your direct mail g to your customers.  Be sure to ask about costs per direct mail type to see what’s the best fit for your business. Shared mail allows you to cover a large area and share the costs with other advertisers, solo or shared mail allows you to target a specific area with standalone postcards, and addressed mail allows you to target specific addresses or customers. With Shared Mail there are time frames and deadlines that need to be adhered to, which also helps you know when your ad will be in circulation and can plan your campaign accordingly by seasons or the year!

To keep it short and simple, it’s recommended for best practices (and to keep on hand at a glance) that for your direct mail campaign is to:

  • Stay focused on your target audience
  • Keep your list of customers as accurate as possible
  • Avoid crowding the ad, keeping it clear and easy to read
  • Create a strong CTA that will grab attention
  • Always proofread before sending to print


If at any time during the process you have questions, or are not sure on how to create your campaign, contact us today so we can help you start growing your business.  Our Marketing Consultants are here to help you every step of the way!


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