Lob's website experience is not optimized for Internet Explorer.
Please choose another browser.

Arrow Up to go to top of page
Best Practices for Direct Mail Creative
November 10, 2021

Best Practices for Direct Mail Creative

Author Avatar
Kim Courvoisier

Best Practices for Direct Mail Creative

Americans receive around 143 billion pieces of mail every year. A sizable portion is direct mail that businesses like yours use to acquire, upsell or retain customers. How do you plan to make your direct mail stand out? The answers lie in using best practices for direct mail creative. In this article, we'll share some actionable tips and tactics you can put into practice immediately to better engage recipients and increase response rates.

Tell your story

Whether it’s with graphics, clever wording, or even single sentence headlines it pays to find creative ways to tell your story. For instance, Amazon recently designed a direct mailer for kids. In the form of a holiday wish book, the mailer contained a host of exciting activities for children such as quizzes, stickers, and coloring pages. It also introduced new toys within the mailer. By combining something of value along with the advertisement for the toys, Amazon created a piece that served two purposes, entertainment and promotion. It's an excellent example of giving your piece a longer shelf life. You can imagine instead of getting recycled right away, parents kept this piece for their kids to enjoy.

Example from Amazon of direct mail creative

Another recent example is Booking.com. The iconic travel planning website’s postcard-style direct mailer had a glossy image of a relaxing travel spot on one side and a discount code on the other side. After a long hiatus from travel during the pandemic, the travel brand knew its audience was prime for a getaway and this inviting piece whet their appetites to book that next trip.

Direct mail creative example from booking.com

Best practices for direct mail creative

Looking for some inspiration and quick tips to ensure your direct mail is more creative?

  • Focus on benefits: Describe your key benefits in big, bold headers with a short description below each. These could be how your product or service can help customers save money, save valuable time, or be privy to a variety of your core offerings. Combine it with personalized images for a powerful conversion driving creative.
  • Offer a range of discounts: Offer various combinations of discounts to entice more potential customers to shop with you. Testing a variety of offers with cohorts of your audience can help you nail the sweet spot between discount and ROI. Try $ off vs % off, free shipping vs flat rate shipping, and other offers that apply to your product or service.
  • Offer free gifts on membership subscriptions: Promise a free gift on a new membership subscription. Ensure the word "free" is highlighted in bold letters. Add a gift icon next to it and offer a relevant gift to your targeted audience that will entice them to sign up for your offering.
  • Milestone discounts: Tap into customer emotions by offering birthday discount when they purchase from you. It's an excellent way to get customer data so you can send a birthday or half birthday discount and drive repeat purchase behavior to increase customer lifetime value.
  • Use QR codes to track responses: Entice customers to respond to special offers with a QR code on your mailer. Add vivid pictures of your special offer next to it. Using aQR code will help you track response rates and attribute it your direct mail piece.
  • Construct creative mailers that can be converted into craft items: Design the mailer itself to convert into a relevant craft item for added value and a longer shelf life like the Amazon example above. For instance, if your business is into furniture or toys, you could design a perforated mailer that can be formed into a chair or a teddy bear after it's read.
  • Support a socioeconomic initiative: Promote a socioeconomic initiative that's in the news. For example, a Belgium-based company recently created a mailer that had the words appear when the mailer was put under running water, to demonstrate the importance of water and why we need to conserve it.
  • Design relevant, creatively shaped mailers: Design your mailer in the form of your main product. For example, create a mailer in the shape of a slice of cake or a pizza if these foods are your business. Add a single sentence or question to tickle the palates of your readers.

You have a world of information at your fingertips. Why not use it?

Automate your direct mail creative

The best practices for direct mail creative ideas can help grow your brand but work best when paired with automated direct mail at scale.

With Lob, you can verify domestic and international addresses to make sure your items reach the right people. You can also automate when direct mail gets sent to consumers. For example, you can create a trigger that automatically sends out a mailer to everyone who signs up for your email newsletter or creates a free account on your website.

Lob takes a data-driven, technology-directed approach to harnessing the power of direct mail. Yes, you need creative concepts for your direct mailers. You also need a no-nonsense strategy to propel your creative ideas to success.

Sign up for Lob to increase efficiency, eliminate redundancies, and drive more engagement and responses for your direct mail.

To learn more, get our free mini ebook, Running a Tactical Direct Mail Campaign.

Continue Reading