Sending direct mail: How to do attract new customers

The devil's in the detail. We give some practical tips on what to send

Consumers may be more willing to open direct mail, but if they don’t like what they see, it soon goes in the bin. According to the DMIS, 69% of consumers will not read a mailing that looks cluttered. So give some serious thought to what you send.

You could do some market research by asking one or two people, who fit the profile of your target market, what impresses them in a mailing. Each element of a mailing must be carefully considered.

The envelope

White envelopes are smarter but more expensive and A4 envelopes can be a real give-away. Writing out addresses by hand is time-consuming but will guarantee that mailings are opened. Larger envelopes can carry marketing messages, such as ‘special offer inside’. Put your address on the envelope so that ‘gone-aways’ can be returned and you can update your database.

The letter

Start with an attention-grabbing headline and including a call to action. Spell out the benefits clearly and use simple language to communicate your message. Break up the copy using bullet points, sub-headings and emphasising key points in bold. Send a number of different letters targeted at particular groups of customers.

What else to enclose

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Research by the DMIS reveals that special offers and money-off vouchers are the most welcomed form of direct mail, according to two-thirds of consumers, while catalogues are appreciated by over half.

Brochures, price lists and order forms will help your sales efforts and pre-paid reply envelopes or coupons could increase the response. A questionnaire backed up by an incentive such as a prize draw, may provide valuable information about your prospects.

Enclosures with a shelf-life

Sending calendars or useful information, such as lists of local restaurants or taxi firms, can help to keep your company’s name in front of your customers for months. Make sure they are functional and durable. Avoid gimmicks, which can be more of a turn-off than a come-on.

The personal touch

Use the prospect’s name rather than ‘Dear Customer’ and, whatever you do, make sure the name and address details are correct. The DMIS has found that 67% of consumers say it is really important that a company gets their name and address right.

Design and production

A graphic designer can put together a professional mailshot and advise on printing and production.


Mailings that arrive midweek are most likely to be opened as people are less busy then. Try to avoid mailing close to holidays.


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