Close-up on a pair of hands opening a letter. A small pile of envelopes and manila folders sits on a table beneath the hands.
Marketing through the mail seems behind the times at first, but it can actually be a great way to reach customers. — Getty Images/Pheelings Media

For many business owners, the thought of running a direct mail campaign can feel a bit outdated. But direct mail is one of the best ways to get your prospect’s attention. Let’s learn more about why you should try direct mail and how to create an effective campaign.

[Read more: Why Brands are Embracing Good Old-Fashioned Direct Mail]

Why try direct mail?

Direct mail campaigns aren’t as common as they used to be, but it’s still an effective marketing strategy. Direct mail has a median ROI of 29%, only falling short of social media by 1%.

And the fact that direct mail isn’t as popular as it used to be can work to your advantage. The United States Postal Service has experienced a year-over-year decline in the mail sent since 2006. That means your letter will have a better chance of standing out to your recipients.

And for smaller companies, direct mail is a more affordable strategy than online ads while also giving you more control over how many responses you get. A direct mail campaign can allow you to test out different offers with a new audience and see what works best.

How to create a direct mail campaign

So despite what critics may say, direct mail is a good addition to your overall marketing strategy. Let’s look at five steps for creating a successful direct mail campaign.

Come up with your mailing list

According to direct marketing expert Edward Mayer, your direct marketing campaign's success relies on the 40-40-20 rule. This rule states that success in your direct marketing campaign relies on the following three factors:

  • Your audience – 40%
  • Your offer – 40%
  • The execution – 20%

So the best place to start is coming up with your mailing list—because if you reach out to the wrong target audience, it doesn’t matter how effective your offer or execution is.

Take some time to outline what businesses you plan to contact and find the right decision-maker within that company. This ensures that you’re not only reaching the right audience, but someone with the authority to take you up on your offer.

The fact that direct mail isn’t as popular as it used to be can work to your advantage.

Design an effective marketing letter

Next, you need to develop a compelling offer that will incentivize your ideal client to take action. One of the advantages of direct mail is that you don’t have to worry about coming across as too pushy. You’re not trying to inform or entertain—you want the recipient to take action.

You may want to add some design elements that enhance your company’s brand, but only if they don’t distract the reader from the overall message. It can also help to add testimonials so your prospects can clearly see what makes your company stand out.

But above all else, your letter should focus on the prospect and how you can help meet their needs. Focus on how you can deliver outstanding value for their company.

Test your campaign

Once you’ve come up with your mailing list and created your letter, it’s time to test out your campaign. It’s a good idea to start with a smaller portion of your list and see what kind of response you receive. This will help you begin to determine an average response rate and figure out how many letters you should mail out per week in the future.

Track your results

Most importantly, you need to track the results of your direct mail campaign. This is more challenging, but it is possible if you have a strategy in place.

For instance, if your goal is to get your prospects to email you, choose a unique email address specifically for your campaign. Then when you start getting a response, you’ll know it came from direct mail and not some other marketing strategy.

Integrate direct mail with your other marketing strategies

Direct mail campaigns are the most effective when used in conjunction with other marketing strategies. Make sure that your marketing message is consistent with your emails, advertising and social media efforts. This ensures that you always maintain a consistent brand identity, no matter how you interact with prospects.

Most importantly, make sure you stay consistent with your direct mail campaign. It may take time to see the results you want, but with persistence, your efforts should start to pay off.

[Read more: How to Use Direct Mail for Marketing]

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