Direct Mail: SMH

confusedA coworker recently gave me a copy of what a competitor sent his spouse in the mail.  To say the least, we had a good laugh after looking at the business card and the four pages of inconsistent sales pitches.

Beyond the laughter, it did get me thinking about direct mail marketing.

What is successful direct mail marketing?

Yes, there is a level of target marketing that goes with it, but when you move past creating a mailing list, what can be done to improve the message?


TargetsBe consistent not just with your message, but how the overall presentation looks.  For example, a four page direct mail piece should be printed on the same printer instead of having two of the four pages were printed in color, while the other two pages, which should be printed in full color, are printed on a black and white printer.

Here are other points to consider in consistency.

  • Branding: It may sound silly, but if a direct mail piece doesn’t look and feel like it came from your company, then you need to go back to the drawing board. The before mentioned direct mail piece had 2 distinctly different bank logos for the same bank.  Two logos!
  • One Messenger: The competitor’s letter had a business card from a sales rep, an introductory letter from a Vice President and an additional sales letter from an Executive Vice President.  Why not create one piece that contains one contact person?  That way there is one point person who can help measure the success of the mail campaign.


RelevanceIf you have done all the work narrowing down a target market for your direct mail, you should make sure sure the mail piece is relevant to your target market.

Signatures Count

When you are sending a letter as a direct mail piece, the signature is an important part of the letter.  A proper signature ends the letter on a good note and adds a level of humanity to the advertisement.

  • Lose the Top Executives: Unless your CEO or top executives lives in the community, chances are people don’t care if they sign a direct mail piece.  Forget the CEO and executives and use your local senior staff member.  That way people can relate to them and put a face to the name and, more importantly, to the business.
  • Real Signature: A low quality digital copy of a signature doesn’t cut it anymore.  It looks cheap and gives the wrong impression.  If your direct mail piece is a formal letter, then it needs to include a real signature. It’s proof that you took the time to at least sign it and shows a good attention to detail.

Clear Call to Action

A direct mail piece should grab the readers attention quickly and have a call to action that is easy to understand.

  • Simplify the Message: If it takes more than two pages to explain your message, then there’s a problem.  Keep it simple and quickly explain the message.
  • Spell out the Call to Action: A direct mail piece should not only sale a product or service, but also needs to let the reader know how to purchase the product or service.  Clearly state who to contact and how to contact them.

In closing, remember, a little extra planning and proper execution can go a long way.

Have you ever received a direct mail piece you really liked? What did you like about it?


About Jeremy M. Price
For twelve years, I had the pleasure of working in community banking. Starting in customer service, I worked my way up to a senior level marketing and human resources director. It was great leading teams that improved strategic initiatives including, but not limited to brand awareness, digital communication, employee development and product development. This experience has now led to an exciting role with CRS Data. As the Product Marketing Analyst, I am currently reviewing the company's banker suite product. This product is able to help community banks reach their fullest potential in real estate lending. I am extremely fortunate to share time with my son while enjoying life in East Tennessee. The two of us enjoy the views of the Smokey Mountains, eating good food and having fun. During my free time, I enjoy running races, traveling and listening to great live music.

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