Checking her mail

If you’re new to direct mailing for your business, it can seem overwhelming. But the truth is, it’s easy and affordable to promote your business or event to customers through their mailboxes. 

When it comes to direct-mail marketing, it’s all about planning: Set a goal, make a direct-mail strategy and implement that plan. Here’s an overview of direct mail options and ideas for making your direct mail campaign a success. 

Why direct mail?

Simply put, direct mail works. Recipients will pick up and look at your promotional piece, whether it’s a brochure, postcard or catalog. According to the Direct Mail Association, 65 percent of consumers have bought something from a direct-mail piece. 

Direct mail also helps establish credibility with your customers. In fact, 56 percent of consumers say print marketing is the most trustworthy type of advertising.  

Direct-mail options for small businesses

If you’re ready to try direct mail for your business, there are two direct-mail strategies to choose from: traditional direct mail or Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM).

Direct mail

Direct-mail marketing allows you to send postcards, catalogs, newsletters, flyers, brochures, booklets, sales letters and more via the United States Postal Service (USPS) to your audience. You can use your own mailing list or purchase a mailing list from a mail house or printing partner. You can fine-tune your mailing list and target your customers by age, income, gender and other characteristics.


If you don’t have a mailing list, you might want to give EDDM marketing a try. EDDM is a USPS service designed to reach customers with targeted mailers in specific neighborhoods — no mailing list required. Just enter an address or ZIP code to select your desired neighborhoods, and your postcard is delivered to — you guessed it — every door in those neighborhoods.

How do you choose between direct mail and EDDM? 

It comes down to the amount of flexibility and options you require to run your campaign. If you have your own mailing list, and you want to send out catalogs, newsletters, brochures, flyers or other print marketing materials, then traditional direct-mail marketing is for you. If you don’t have a mailing list, and postcards work for your direct-mail campaign, then EDDM marketing is an excellent option.

4 tips for a successful mailing campaign

Whether you opt for direct-mail marketing or EDDM, both share a few key details to make your mailing campaign successful.

1. Add value

Give your customers a reason to buy now. Make your offer irresistible enough to provide great value to your customers without breaking your budget. 

Don’t forget: Make the offer time-limited with a redeemable coupon code, so you can measure your campaign’s success.

2. Use your words

Why should customers do business with you? Do you offer a better price, super quality or more friendly customer service than the competition? Great promotional copy highlights the features that make your business the best choice.

Don’t forget: You need to motivate customers through a call to action that directly relates to your great offer. 

3. Look good on paper

An eye-catching, professional design that stands out in your customers’ mailboxes but also works to reinforce your message is essential to direct-mail marketing success. Follow basic design rules, but don’t be afraid to get creative. 

Don’t forget: Whatever direct-mail marketing piece you choose, make sure it’s printed on a quality paper stock. A flimsy paper stock won’t stand up to the wear and tear of mailing services, and a poor product reflects poorly on your business.

4. Send, track, repeat

By including a coupon code, you can track your response rate. After your first campaign, you can tweak and test other campaigns and determine what generates the best response rate. Repetition is key to direct mail success, so repeat your efforts once you’ve identified your winning mailer for predictable profitability every time.

Marketing by mail 101

This handy infographic breaks down the differences between direct mail and EDDM, and it includes some postage basics as well. Need more help with direct mail or EDDM? Talk to your printing partner.

Marketing by Mail 101 infographic

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