Direct mail

Direct mail is one of the most common and recognised forms of direct marketing. It is posted mail that advertises your business and its products and services. Direct mail campaigns are generally organised geographically and sent to all postal customers in an area or to all customers on a list.

Direct mail campaigns encourage good customer response rates by precisely tailoring messages to audiences and allowing potential customers to read your advertising without being distracted by competing advertising.

Types of direct mail

The most common types of direct mail include:

  • catalogues - bound, multi-page promotions of products
  • self-mailers - created from a single-printed sheet that has been folded
  • envelope mailers - with inserts inside the envelope
  • postcards - with your promotional message on one side and the customer's address on the other
  • snap mailers - folds and seals with pressure
  • dimensional mailers - for example, a small box
  • intelligent documents - printed with personalised information from a database.

Tips for direct mail

A reliable, accurately defined mailing list and quality mail advertising will improve the rates of response to your direct mail. Choose a direct mail list that matches your target customers. You can buy lists of addresses in the postcodes you want to send direct mail to, or lists of customers who have opted-in to receive offers from third parties. Find out about Australia Post's direct mail services.

Don't cut corners on the design. If possible engage a professional designer and brief them to design your direct mail material for impact - and for your particular target audience. Keep your messages sharp and brief with the help of a professional copywriter.

Promotional incentives such as discounts improve response rates - but make sure you have the budget to deliver on your offers.

Follow-up with a second direct mail or other direct marketing tactic if your budget allows, returning your customers' attention to your products and services.

Know your responsibilities. Before undertaking any direct marketing you must understand the legislation on collecting and holding personal information. Direct mail campaigns are often responsible for holding information records that are protected by privacy rights regulations.

The Australian Privacy Principles (APP) on the Australian Government's privacy website explain how businesses should collect, use, secure and disclose information about individuals.

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