Are you utilizing direct mail in your marketing mix?

Direct mail is a fantastic way to market your product or company to your target audience. It physically puts your business in the hands of consumers and helps strengthen the potential of a return. If you’re not on board with the idea of using direct mail, here are a few stats for you to consider:

  • 23% of mail recipients visited the sender’s store location. (USPS)
  • 60% of online shoppers love receiving catalogs. (USPS)
  • Direct mail recipients purchased 28% more items and spent 28% more than non-direct mail recipients. (USPS)
  • Over 60% of direct mail recipients were influenced to visit promoted website – with the greatest influence on first-time shoppers. (USPS)

You can learn even more about direct mail in our previous blog post here. If you are using direct mail but aren’t sure how to improve the quality or creativity of your direct mail campaigns, we have a few ideas for you to consider.

1. Variable Data Printing (VDP)

Businesses, especially marketers, understand the importance of data. With such vast access to millions of data points online, you’re bound to come across the right information for you. The more data you can access, the better your ability to identify trends, keep track of sales, and carve out your target audience. You can use it to send email campaigns, build out targeted social content, and direct traffic to your website. Data is a powerful tool to have, but you may not have considered using it for print and direct mail purposes.

businessman hand working with modern technology and digital layer effect as business strategy concept

Here’s where variable data printing comes in. VDP, as it’s abbreviated, is a great way to add a personalized touch to your mailing pieces. It allows you to create a template design with graphics and text spaces that are interchangeable through the use of databases or external files. How does it work? Let’s say, for example, you want to send out a postcard piece to various customers in different states. Put together a design that has a space for your customer’s name and maybe add an image of their state as the background. VDP accesses a database with your customers’ information and prints different designs tailored to each one. Bob from Arizona will receive a postcard that says “Hey, Bob!” with a picture of the Grand Canyon in the background while Judy in California will receive a “Hey, Judy!” with a looming Los Angeles skyline. It’s a simple yet effective way of sending one message to multiple people while also keeping it personal.

2. Add Technology

Ever considered using Augmented Reality or QR codes in direct mail? Maybe an NFC link or Personalized URL accessible through a consumer’s smartphone that brings them to a website page customized for them? The line between print and technology is starting to blur in this day and age of marketing. Mail pieces are being injected with video players and AR experiences that are evolving the way we view print. You can shoot a video showcasing your company culture, upload it to YouTube or your website, and then link it to your mailing collateral where consumers can watch it with the simple touch of a button on their phone. If you’re a company that relies a lot on technology, this is a very creative opportunity for marketing your products and services using things like AR and PURLs.

3. Product Sampling

Step it up a level and actually put your products in your consumers’ mailbox. Taking bite-sized samples of what you’re selling and putting them in people’s hands is a great way to allow consumers to get acquainted with your product. Selling cologne or perfume? Include a scratch-n-sniff, something that has been around for a long time. Selling cosmetics? Send out samples enough for one or two days of use. Even if you aren’t selling something that can be shrunk down to the size of a mailbox, get creative with it! Find a way to put something physical, or at least visual, in your mailing pieces. The more creative you can get, the greater your potential for piquing your consumers’ interests.

4. Arts & Crafts

Ditch the postcards and magazines, and instead try crafting your own pieces. This might require a little extra time and budgeting, but if your target audience is relatively small, it can be worth the investment. Here are a few examples of companies who have gone above and beyond the outside of the box with their mailing creativity.

IKEA used 3D popups to advertise their tables. (Source:


A gym designed a calendar to visualize workout progress over the course of an entire year. (Source:


The National History Museum mailed out erasers with a message regarding extinction printed on it, looking to raise awareness on the issue. (Source:


You can find more of these here and here. These are all ideas that transcend traditional mail and have the potential to make a lasting impact on consumers. Part of marketing is figuring out how to stand out, and using arts & crafts in your direct mail campaign can be a unique way to bring attention to your brand.

There you have them: a few ideas to help improve your direct mail campaign. Don’t be afraid to combine these ideas! Create an origami mail piece and customize it using VDP. Add a QR code to your product sample. There are all kinds of possibilities to consider, and with technology being integrated into the print world, there are some very interesting things that can be used in your next direct mail campaign.