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September 13, 2022

To the Letter: Best Letter-Based Direct Mail Campaigns

by 
Stephanie Donelson

It’s pretty obvious that we love direct mail around here. From finding the best ways to automate it to optimizing it, we care about everything that goes into creating a great piece of mail.

That’s why we started showing off our favorite pieces of mail over on our best direct mail campaigns page. The mailpieces in our collection have what it takes to catch consumers’ attention and drive action. 

But there are a lot of different factors that go into creating a really great piece of mail: the form factor, the CTA, the copy, personalization and targeting, and so on. How do we know if our next direct mail campaign is the best it can be?

We thought it’d be fun to break down what’s working among some of the mailpieces in our best-of collection. This month, we’re taking a closer look at form factor and analyzing top-performing letters.

Creating a high-performing letter campaign

When we think of letters in direct mail, we often think of transactional letters or perhaps pre-approval letters for loans or lines of credit - but there are so many other creative ways to use letters in your marketing campaigns. 

Let’s examine three brands that are effectively using letters in their marketing campaigns or using direct mail to streamline business operations. 

Travelers - Auto insurance

This letter appears to have been triggered when a prospect looked at auto insurance rates with Travelers or used a calculator tool on the website. This acquisition campaign has many great elements working in its favor:

  • Simple design: This letter is easy to scan and has plenty of white space to bring balance to the letter. The use of red text also helps draw the prospect’s attention right to the Call-to-Action (CTA).
  • Action-oriented copy: Travelers is directly telling the prospect to choose them in their bulleted copy. It’s actionable and in the present tense.
  • Personalization: The letter includes the specific date the prospect looked at insurance quotes through Travelers, as well as their first name to tailor the letter to them.
  • Social proof: The use of a customer quote reaffirms the main message Travelers is getting across, that the prospect can save more than $600 by switching insurance companies.
  • CTA: The Call-to-Action is straightforward and provides two easy ways to take action, either calling a toll-free number or visiting a specific landing page.

Trafilea - Retail

The use of a letter by Trafilea (parent company of Shapermint) here is a great use case in testing different form factors as Trafilea does send postcards too. Using a letter helped them stand out among other promotional offers and provided a clear and sincere apology without worrying about space constraints. This retention campaign has some winning elements:

  • Copy: By using a letter format Trafilea had the space it needed to accurately explain what had happened, convey its regret over the shipping issues, and address how it plans to fix the issues. The letter feels more personal than a postcard with the same promo code offer.
  • Offer: The CTA is to give Trafilea another try and take $30 off with a custom coupon code. 
  • Branding: The letter has subtle branding using its signature pink and a big “S” in the background that makes the letter identifiable to the customer but it doesn’t distract from the message.

Booking.com - Travel

This example is unique as it’s imperative to Booking.com’s business operations but not necessarily a marketing use case. In fact, Booking.com uses Address Verification and automated direct mail to reduce fraudulent listings by having property owners input verification codes sent through the mail. By sending out these letters, Booking.com saw a reduction of 97% in fake properties going live. Let’s examine what’s working in this letter:

  • Personalization: Each letter must have a unique verification code personalized to the property owner.
  • Simple design: Like the Travelers example, this one also has a very straightforward design and is easy to scan to understand what action needs to be taken.

Continue learning about Booking.com’s direct mail journey by reading the case study

To sum up, letters can be an excellent form factor for direct mail marketing for various campaigns. They can be personalized both to your brand and the recipient, and they’re actually the preferred form factor among many consumers. Our State of Direct Mail Consumer Insights report found that those 18-34 are significantly more likely to read letters and envelopes than those 35+.  

Recommended reading:

The Modern Marketer’s Guide to Personalization

5 Personalized Direct Mail Examples to Inspire Your Marketing

Best Practices for Direct Mail Copywriting

Instant inspiration for your next direct mail campaign

When it comes to creating a great direct mail campaign, you don’t have to start from scratch. Explore our best direct mail collection to find ideas of what you can incorporate into your next mailpiece or what elements you should be testing to further optimize campaigns.

This blog provides general information and discussion about direct mail marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.

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