Direct mail is a type of advertising medium in which messages are sent to target customers through the mail. Direct mail is an effective way to reach your target audience groups, just like other advertising mediums, including print or broadcast media. Print media messages are delivered through the printed word, usually in newspapers or magazines, while broadcast media messages are delivered through the airwaves, on television or radio. In direct mail, advertising and other types of messages are delivered through the mail.
Successful direct mail programs include the following key elements:
- Prospect list, or target list – from an existing prospect database or purchased list
- Format – finished size of paper mailer or dimensional package, like a box
- Creative – design elements used to break through the clutter
- Timing – utilizing the most relevant of effective times to send the mailer, or package
- Offer – incentivizing the recipient to take action
Flat mailers vs. dimensional mailers
If you have a large audience group, or a simple message going to an unknown prospect list, you might consider sending a flat mailer to reach your prospects. Typically this is a folded piece of paper that can be sent relatively inexpensively through the mail. For highly targeted groups, with a much smaller prospect size, many clients send dimensional mailers with a higher perceived (and real) value. We refer to these as key customer acquisition programs – where you might choose 100 to 200 prospects at a time and send a dimensional box with a promotional item, or product sample, at a much higher expense.
The key to successful direct mail is to commit to a program where you can test different creative options, formats and offers to see what works best for your unique product and service offering. At Red Van, we have decades of experience in designing and executing effective direct mail programs for clients across scores of industries.