Creating Direct Marketing That Really Hauls the Mail - VantagePoint

Creating Direct Marketing That Really Hauls the Mail

In the age of email marketing, social media and digital ads, it’s easy to think of traditional direct mail as, well, just that. Traditional.

Outmoded, outdated, ineffective, easily ignored.

Heck, it might as well be junk mail, right? Maybe not.

While we may like to complain about our crowded mailboxes, the truth reveals something different. Recent industry statistics have shown that as much as 70 percent of us have made a purchase based on direct mail.

When our team is working on creative concepts for a direct mail initiative, we’re always trying to put ourselves in the recipient’s shoes. What would be interesting to receive unexpectedly? What would catch and hold our attention in a sea of unopened mail? What would be bold enough to spare itself from the dreaded flight across the room (unopened) into the trash can?

From my perspective on the writing side, here are a few approaches that have yielded successful direct mail campaigns in the past:


Sometimes, thinking outside the box on concepts has led us “inside the box” for a solution. When timelines and budgets allow, three-dimensional mailers provide a unique opportunity to control the message from the outside in. Whether it’s a regular box or something more elaborate, there’s plenty of room to set up a step-by-step reveal or lead with a compelling teaser line on the outside label.


Everybody loves getting something unexpected in the mail, especially something personal. Including a small incentive, gift or keepsake inside a mailer can be an effective device for keeping your message top of mind. Whether it’s something to keep on their desk or something they can spend or use for fun, consider how your direct mail campaign can make it worth your audience’s while to pay attention and take action.


Direct mail that sounds like an annoying commercial is more likely to be treated like one — but instead of hitting the mute button, your audience will head for the trash can. Writing copy for direct mail is all about creating messages that resonate. Maybe they solve a problem, or show that you understand a challenge. Maybe they offer a chance to see something new before anyone else. Whatever the “it” is, people will respond to a conversational, approachable tone. It’s coming through the mail, after all, so treat it like a note to someone you know.