September 08, 2022
Every piece of direct mail has its own list of benefits. Your choice (and our guidance) in selecting what type of direct mail to send out depends on your audience, your goals, and your budget. Together, these factors will drive your direct mailing campaign.
Don’t worry—we provide plenty of guidance to our customers when it comes to choosing their direct mail pieces. We may choose only one or we may use a few types of direct mail pieces in your direct marketing efforts. However, the choices may make your head spin if you’re not prepared. Let’s look at each of the types of direct mail to get an idea of what it looks like and how to best use it in your direct mailing campaign.
Short and sweet; that’s how I’d describe a postcard. To me, they evoke a certain sense of eccentricity. You can take advantage of that twinge of nostalgia from the good old days when you would receive a postcard from a friend or family member on vacation. Your direct mail postcard might look different than those, but it will still feel familiar to the recipient.
Postcards have one of the highest engagement rates of any of the types of direct mail pieces. As a direct mailing piece, they allow the most visibility at first glance, with all your marketing material in view. A 5” X 9” postcard will give you plenty of flexibility when it comes to design and messaging. They’re also inexpensive and versatile. We go deeper into postcards and how to take advantage of them in our postcard marketing guide.
Self-mailers, in my eyes, are somewhere between a catalog and a postcard in the direct mailing world. They’re meant to be colorful, and beautiful, and to highlight your business. When you think of self-mailers, think of a brochure or a pamphlet. They can be modest and professional or bright and whimsical. They are largely informational and meant to captivate your audience. I often recommend self-mailers to feature new products or services and bridge the gap between a postcard and a full-fledged catalog.
Take a look at our guide to choosing the ideal self-mailer for your needs and learn a bit more about the sizing guidelines.
Are you looking to impress a sophisticated client base, while adding a sense of formality and privacy to your direct mailing outreach? Letters are the way to go. Calling them “letters” may be a bit vague. Letters, for lack of a better word, describe any direct mail that arrives at a person’s door in an envelope. For marketing and direct mailing, we often refer to these letters as “lead letters”, since they’re meant to generate engagement, find leads (potential customers), and drive revenue.
Letters can be colorful, highly styled, and contain several pieces within one envelope. Letters are a great way to drive donations for nonprofits, connect with current, valued customers, or explain in detail a complex problem your product or service will solve. Sincerity and personalization will always win with letters.
We all remember the Sears catalog, right? Many of our childhood holidays revolved around the crumpled pages of the toy section within that catalog. While we may not see catalogs quite as often these days, they are still an important part of many businesses marketing strategies. Assuming you’re sending them to the right people, catalogs still create excitement for the reader. When designed to include targeted content for your audience, catalogs can be the premier choice for your direct mail piece.
Catalogs are big, colorful, and unfortunately, expensive to print. However, when used in conjunction with a solid product lineup, they are still what drives sales, especially in industries that are always on the lookout for new technology. Let me put it this way; if you’re an electrician, then you’re still getting excited by the latest Fluke catalog when it shows up at your door. That’s not to mention the resurgence of business-to-consumer retail catalogs in direct marketing. There’s a lot we can still say about the surprising effectiveness of the modern catalog; read about it here.
Direct Mail; All Pieces to the Same Puzzle
Your direct mail strategy should be flowing and flexible. I always tell clients that to really communicate with their audience they need to evolve the way they use direct mail. Different types of direct mail pieces – Postcards, self-mailers, letters, and catalogs are all pieces of a larger direct mailing puzzle. Knowing how they fit into your brand is the challenging part and it’s what we help you with at Bluegrass. It’s time to rethink your direct marketing strategy; we’ll work with what’s effective, find new ways to engage your audience, and use the power of direct mail to its fullest.
If you are new to direct marketing and curious about how this all works behind the scenes, we have laid out some guidelines for preparation and timing.