Direct mail is one of the oldest and most effective forms of marketing, and it's now more effective than ever before. Think about it - we used to get stacks and stacks of mail. Now, there are so many cost-effective digital marketing delivery mechanisms - such as email, social media, search ads, and SMS messaging - that many brands have left direct mail behind.

This leaves a huge opportunity for smart marketers to use direct mail to get in the hands of their customers -- with a lot less competition for mailbox space. Better yet, combine direct mail with digital marketing techniques to create incredibly impactful results. But first, let's break down this channel.

What is Direct Mail?

Direct mail is a form of marketing that involves sending advertising materials through the mail. It is important to understand that these are materials that the recipient has not directly requested, and they usually include an offer or call-to-action. 

Types of Direct Mail

There are two types of direct mail. The first is standalone mail advertising, which means that your business is the only advertisement on the mail piece. The second is called shared mail because the space on a single mail piece is shared by multiple businesses. 

Pros of Standalone Mail

  • Ability to communicate with the recipient directly
  • Prompt higher response rates
  • Ability to hone in on your target audience
  • Can choose any format presentation you wish

The primary con to choosing standalone mail is that it is more expensive than shared mail. 

Pros of Shared Mail

  • More cost-effective than stand-alone mail
  • Ability to reach a broader audience since shared advertising is sent to every resident within a specific area

The main cons of shared mail are that you aren't able to target a specific audience, you have fewer formatting choices, and you aren't able to provide personalized ads.

related post: how much does direct mail cost?

How to Make the Most of Direct Mail in the 2020s

The concept of direct mail marketing may seem dated, but it still serves as an effective marketing tool when used properly. Here are things you can do with direct mail to bring it into the modern marketing world. 

Brand Awareness

Building brand awareness is all about getting your brand in front of your target audience consistently. Brands should be easily recognizable. For this reason, you want to make sure the color palette you choose for your mailers is consistent with your brand's colors. Use your logo and any other designs or patterns that consumers associate with your company. It is also important to make sure that you get your brand in front of your consumers on a frequent basis. Maybe it's weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. You can test different frequencies to see which gives you the highest return on investment. 

Lead Generation

Direct mail marketing is a great way to create lead generation. Mailers can lead your target audience to your website, which can then provide an informational form to fill out in exchange for an incentive such as discounts or access to a helpful newsletter. The incentives you use will depend on what drives your target audience to take action, and will vary from business to business.

Personalized Offers

Consumers respond to personalization. It is no longer an option, but a requirement in order to stay competitive in your industry. You can use personalized URLs (PURLS) and variable data printing to track online activity and send personalized mailers based on previous online behavior and data collected. 

Amplify the Effects of Digital Marketing

Direct mail can increase the effectiveness of digital marketing by prompting your target audience to visit your website or social media page and take action. You can actually drive traffic to your website and increase online sales by using direct mail marketing.

Jump on Board

If your company hasn't implemented a direct mail marketing strategy, then it is missing out on a huge marketing opportunity. It is a crucial piece of the marketing puzzle that can tie right into your digital marketing efforts and multiply your results. Contact Ironmark today and make the most of your marketing strategy!


Written by Reid Broendel

When you need something done for your digital marketing campaigns, you can count on Reid Broendel to find a way. Reid has been on the Ironmark digital marketing client services team since May of 2019. Reid holds the position of Lead Digital Marketing Specialist and brings with him a knack for content management, as well as an enthusiasm for client support, able to jump in at a moment’s notice to help clients and team members on any and all digital marketing needs. From installing tracking codes, to building out emails, to planning out content calendars, Reid is always happy to help. Reid is a graduate of Penn State University, with a B.A. in Advertising. He runs on coffee and spends all his days not in the office working next to his cats.

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