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The types of direct mail marketing

Direct Mail Services Buyer's Guide

There are various types of direct mail marketing. Each has advantages and disadvantages, so you need to make your choice according to

  • your budget
  • the sales message you're promoting
  • the target customer you're hoping to sell to

Brochures, catalogues, leaflets and newsletters
These can prove costly to print and send, so you may wish to limit them to existing customers who have a proven spending history with you. You can also cut your costs by putting an address label on the outside of a catalogue or brochure rather than enclosing it in an envelope.

Despite the expense, brochures, catalogues, leaflets and newsletters are great ways of keeping your customers informed of your latest products and services. They also help to build a potentially profitable long-term relationship with them.

Dimensional mailers
The most expensive, but potentially the most effective, type of direct mail is the dimensional mailer. You can ask the direct mail company to create a unique package in a shape that reflects your company and your product or service, although a cheaper alternative is to use a tube or a standard box. To entice the customer sill further, you can include a product sample or related item such as a pen.

Generally speaking, you don't want to send this type of package on the off chance that the customer might be interested, or to anyone who features on an old mailing list. It's far better to use dimensional mailers to target the customers most likely to buy from you.

Poly-bag packages
These are usually A4 size colour packages, often including a brochure or magazine, wrapped and sealed in a clear plastic cover. Because the contents are visible without opening anything, you can make an immediate and powerful statement about your business and product the moment the customer collects the package from the door mat.

Postcards are small, so you need to ensure the design and copywriting is concise and suits the available space. If you get this right, however, a postcard can make your sales pitch quickly and effectively. To help with this, put your offer on one side and the details, including how the customer can follow up the offer, on the other.

Sales letters
Apart from your offer, you can include all sorts of information with a sales letter such as

  • facts and figures about your product or service
  • testimonials
  • appropriate consumer reports

The trouble, though, is enticing people to open the letter. One technique is to print an attention-grabbing message on the front of the envelope. For example: "Open now to save money".

Self-mailers don't use envelopes, so they help cut your costs. Essentially, they're a sheet of paper folded and sealed with the customer's name and address printed on the outside. There are problems with this approach, however:

  • you're restricted to one side of paper
  • the self-mailer is easily damaged in the post

Nonetheless, self-mailers are a useful and relatively cheap way of getting your message into people's homes.

Snap mailers
Snap mailers are envelopes with perforated sides. Directions on the envelope ask the customer to tear off the perforated strips to reveal the contents, a device that encourages customers to open the mail.

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