Direct Mail Is Alive and Well: 5 Tips for Success in 2021


We all—especially these days—spend countless hours behind our screens, communicating via email, private messaging, Zoom, and other online tools. But at the end of the day, who doesn’t still love going to their real-world mailbox and checking to see what surprises (other than bills) may have arrived that day? It might be a greeting card from a friend, a catalog from a store we love, or even a marketing mailer! In fact, a Gallup* poll revealed that 41 percent of Americans look forward to receiving mail each day.

Are successful marketers still sending direct mail? You bet! And, as many of us get things like our bills electronically, we are getting less mail, so it has an even better chance of standing out in the mailbox and getting attention. When making direct mail part of your marketing mix, here are tips to help propel you towards success:

  1. Develop a targeted list. Just like email marketing, you need to target your list. Think carefully about “who” the key decision maker is for what you are promoting and develop a list for only those educators. MDR’s catalogopens PDF file details the audiences that we have information for across the early learning, K-12, higher-ed, and library markets. And, in fact, if you want to reach teachers directly, we have home mailing addresses for more than 4.5 million U.S. educators—K-12, Higher Ed, Public Library, and Day Care personnel. Use ConnectED Cloud ListBuilder to build your lists, targeting your audience with the most precise criteria available. Using the data from ConnectED Cloud, you can get rid of inaccurate and outdated information, improving your delivery and response rates and, ultimately, the return on your investment in a direct mail campaign.
  1. Think carefully about the format that will work best for your direct mail campaign. In many instances, postcards are one of the most effective formats for direct mail. The educator who gets one flips it over and immediately reads your message. Or perhaps your campaign message requires more real estate, so you might want to consider a personalized letter or even a catalog. Just like you want to target the audience for your direct mail campaign, you will want to be sure that the format fits the message and the audience.
  1. Personalize. Good marketing strategies and personalization are always important. The contacts in MDR’s data cloud will allow you to put a name with the address on your direct mail piece—not just “Superintendent” or “Recipient” or “Resident.” With modern direct mail, personalization should extend to the design of your marketing materials. Think carefully about the district your educator works in, the grade level, and the types of programs they have available to them. Be sure to use different imagery if you are talking to a teacher, for example, versus a Tech Director.
  1. Include a call to action (CTA). In fact, try to weave it into the beginning, middle, and end of your copy—the “reach them three times” rule applies. Make sure the action is clear and easy to transition from paper to the next step to encourage responses. Think creatively. Find ways that you can encourage educators to engage with your message. Incentives and free trials are good ways to invite a person to try what you are offering and help you to quickly gauge the impact of your campaign. Be sure to display your web address and/or phone number prominently.
  1. Track your responses. Consider using codes, unique URLs, or phone numbers with your offer. The data will help when you are evaluating the overall success of your investment in direct mail as compared to other channels in your marketing mix. Test your campaign with a subset of your audience. This will give you the opportunity to analyze response rates and make changes to your campaign before you invest in reaching out to a large audience.

Direct mail is still an effective marketing investment. Targeted direct mail campaigns combined with effective digital campaigns provide you with multiple ways to successfully reach educators. MDR offers you all of the tools and support that you need to develop your 2021 marketing campaigns, including direct mail. Our proprietary marketing tools and services are designed specifically to accelerate your return on your direct mail investment.

Contact us to help you plan your next direct mail campaign and your overall 2021 marketing strategy.

*Source: Four in 10 Americans Look Forward to Checking Mail