Last Updated: April 28, 2023

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Direct Mail Marketing Services Overview

Direct mail has long been a popular method of marketing. It’s an effective, cost-efficient way to get your message to current or potential customers. Direct mail can be used to advertise new products, promote a sale, distribute coupons, target new customers or simply to spread a message.

Direct mail comes in many different forms. Send letters, brochures, post cards, greeting cards or fliers. Send mailings to every address in a certain geographic area or target certain groups of people, such as former customers or people who have recently purchased a home.

Direct mail marketing companies can walk you through the process of choosing the best type of mailing to reach your audience. They will design a piece of mail based on your desired outcome and send it to the list of people you select.

About Direct Mail Marketing

A good direct mail marketing company will work with you to conceptualize and design your mailer. The first step is putting together an audience - who would you like to reach? Identify groups of people or regions that are top priority. Next, decide what you want the mailer to say. Should you offer coupons? Advertise a sale? Promote a special event?

Here are three important attributes of any successful mailer:

  • It needs to be eye-catching. If most people toss it into the trash, your money is wasted. There are many techniques to catch a potential customer’s eye, including personalized greetings using the customer’s name, bright colors, coupons and even scratch-off games.
  • The piece should identify a need on behalf of the customer or recipient - perhaps a need the person hadn’t previously identified. It might be a need for a new car, dinner out at a new restaurant, a wardrobe update - the list goes on and on.
  • Finally, the piece needs to be accurate and fair. It should accurately reflect what your selling and the discounts you’re offering. You might get customers in the door with dishonest or misleading mailers, but they certainly won’t be return customers.

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Cost of Direct Mail Marketing Services

Direct mail marketing companies typically charge by the piece, with prices ranging from about $0.30-$2.50 per mailing. The price depends on the type of mailing you select, color choices, postage options, the number of recipients and the type of list you select.

Specifically, full-color mailers are more expensive than black and white. First-class postage will cost your more than bulk mailing. And a targeted list (i.e. all new moms in a certain area) will be more expensive than a basic list of everyone in a certain geographical area.

  • Letters range in price from about $0.50-$0.80. Those with tear-off portions and reply envelopes fall on the high end of that range.
  • Postcards typically cost $0.30-$0.80, with double-sided and full-color types falling on the high end.

Direct Mail Marketing Services Pros

  • Mature industry - The direct mail business is more mature than the email marketing business. Direct mail marketers have a better idea of which marketing methods lead to success and the mailing lists tend to be more accurate and up-to-date.
  • Less customer resistance - The average consumer is less inclined to be upset by receiving unsolicited paper mail. Perhaps because email is a much newer medium, consumers put up more resistance to “spam” than they do “junk mail.”

Direct Mail Marketing Services Cons

  • More expensive - Direct mail is typically more expensive, largely due to the cost of printing the material.
  • Time consuming - Direct mail marketing is a much longer process than email marketing. You have to choose a design and strategy, wait for the pieces to be printed and then wait for them to be delivered. It could be weeks or months before you start to see results.
  • Less interactive - You can send a coupon with direct mail and hope your customers respond. But other than that, there’s little opportunity for direct interaction or feedback. You just have to hope the message resonates.

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