Monthly Archives: October 2016

5 Essential Elements of a Direct Mail Piece

It’s been decided…you’re going to craft a direct mail piece as part of your overall marketing strategy. Good decision! Just like a car that can’t operate efficiently without each of its parts, a direct mail piece must also have specific elements to be effective and yield your organization the greatest ROI.

Whether you are creating a postcard or a 4 page color booklet, it needs to include these 5 elements.


wib-blog_directmailpieceMemorable Headline

It’s the first impression and we all know how important that is. Use this opportunity to capture the reader’s attention so they want to continue reading. This is your chance to imply value to your target audience. While this may be the shortest part of your direct mail piece, as one of the most impactful, it may take you longer to prepare than the others. Don’t rush it…it could make or break the success of your campaign.

Impact Information

While a direct mail piece is essentially a sales tool, the copy written needs to focus on the benefits the product/service being advertised will have on the reader, aka, the potential purchaser or donor. Rather than share the information about the product/service and its features, let the reader know how it will impact them and their lives. This should be done throughout the direct mail piece.

Specific Call to Action

Let’s face it, if you don’t ask, you won’t get! Be sure you have a specific call to action in your direct mail piece. Maybe it’s to call a toll free number, visit your website or complete a form and send it back to you. Whatever it is, be specific in your ask. Create a sense of urgency so the reader does it right then otherwise the likelihood of their putting the direct mail piece down and forgetting about it increases. You can do this by offering something extra or a discount to those that respond in a specified amount of time.  Everyone likes a deal, right?

Communication Channels    

Your call to action needs to include a way for the reader to act. You want to make this is as easy as possible. If it is too much work, the reader may not follow through. If you want them to call you, provide a toll-free number (a vanity number that is memorable is even better) or if you are looking for them to visit your website, consider a QR code or easy to input url. There is no need to list this information more than once in your communication After all, you don’t want to waste valuable real estate on your direct mail piece.

Post Scriptum

The Post Scriptum is better known as the P.S. Studies have shown that many people jump right to the end of a letter (or will even flip over a 2-sided note) to see if there is a P.S. and read that before determining if they want to read the whole thing or not. Knowing this, it is a good idea to include one in your next direct mail piece. It doesn’t need to be overly wordy. A simple reiteration of the main points of your mailer and a reminder that time is of the essence are perfect content for this section! 

P.S. – Have fun with this section!         

Keep in mind that direct mail is part of an overall marketing strategy. Follow up pieces and inclusion of other media sources, such as email, social media and blogging, will increase your overall results!  

Direct Mail Gets Personal

We know direct mail is a powerful sales and marketing tool. By personalizing your next direct mail campaign, you will get even greater impact. Research by InfoTrends shows an average improved return on investment of 50% when personalization is used. Let’s get personal!

wib-blog_directmailWhy Personalize?

Everyone has a name – and everyone likes to see their name in writing. Capitalize on this by including your recipients name on your next direct mail piece. Including a person’s name will also help keep your direct mail piece from being mistaken as a piece of junk mail.

Take advantage of information you have on mailing list members and include it as part of your campaign. Including personal information in addition to their name will make them feel more valued. A more valued consumer, is likely to be more engaged and become a repeat customer/donor.

Data in Direct Mail

You likely have plenty of data on each of you mailing list members. Here are 4 points you want to understand and include as you prepare your next direct mail piece.


  • Name. You should absolutely include your recipient’s name in the salutation of all direct mail pieces. Including it within the body of the piece is worthwhile, too. Yes, this is an extra step, but including it multiple times will help to draw your reader in.  Please, please, be careful and ensure that spelling is correct.


  • Reference purchase history or past donations. Mention the recipients past purchase or donation in the body of your direct mail piece. If they made a donation in the past, share something about how your organization used that contribution and ask if they are able to offer an increased donation again this year. Did they make a purchase from you last year? Share how what you are now selling complements their previous purchase. This is not only a great way to “sell” them but will remind them they were once moved to purchase/donate before and could motivate them to do so again.


  • Location. Understanding the location your direct mail pieces are headed has multiple benefits. You can mention how what you are selling or the cause you are promoting directly affects their location. For example, if you’re selling snow blowers to Colorado residents you can remind them how much snow fell last year.  You can also seize the opportunity to share specifically the impact your cause is making in your reader’s hometown. Showing that their contribution will have a positive impact right in their own community could positively affect the overall success of your direct mail campaign.


  • Timing. When sending out your next direct mail campaign look at the history you have with your recipient. Often times, donors make contributions in conjunction with a special event or milestone. Remind them of this. They will appreciate the reminder and care and likely show their gratitude in the form of another donation.

Ready to make your next direct mail campaign more personal? Check out our post, “4 Ways to Make Your Direct Mail More Personal” for inspiration!