Is direct mail marketing still a good marketing strategy?

Direct mail marketing might appear outdated in our digital age with social media, email marketing, and other forms of digital marketing being the preferred methods of marketers.

However, it has proven to be effective in reaching customers and generating leads. Direct mail has a higher response rate compared to email marketing. House lists have a 5.1% response rate and audience lists have 2.9%, while email marketing only has a 0.6% response rate. This is according to the Direct Marketing Association.

For instance, one of the reasons why direct mail marketing is more effective is because it is more tangible and personal than email marketing. Your target audience can experience the direct mail piece in their mailbox with all their senses, making it a great opportunity to appeal to their senses and enhance their customer experience (CX).

This article will discuss the pros and cons of direct mail marketing, tips to improve its effectiveness, and whether it is still an effective marketing strategy in today’s world.

What is Direct Mail Marketing?

Direct mail marketing sends promotional materials like brochures, flyers, postcards, and catalogs to potential customers’ homes or offices.

Direct mail marketing aims to establish a tangible relationship with the customer with the intention of encouraging a specific action. This could be making a purchase, visiting a website, or signing up for a service.

Direct mail marketing can be used by businesses of all sizes and industries, from local mom-and-pop shops to multinational corporations.

The reason why we like it at Pirsonal is that it’s a way of communicating with customers and prospects in a targeted and personalized manner.

Benefits of direct mail marketing

Direct mail marketing is still a viable and effective strategy for businesses to reach their target audience. Direct mail offers the ability to send personalized messages to thousands of customers in a cost-effective manner.

It also allows you to track which consumers are responding to your message, enabling you to tailor future direct mail campaigns with more precision.

Let’s cover some of the benefits and opportunities direct mail brings to your marketing.

Direct mail is targeted marketing

One of the biggest advantages of direct mail marketing is its ability to target specific groups of people. From this perspective, localization in direct mail marketing can play a big part in your campaign’s success.

You can tailor your message and offer to a particular audience based on demographics, interests, behavior, and past purchase history.

By targeting the right people, you can increase your response rates and improve the ROI of your direct mail campaigns.

Direct mail has higher response rates than email marketing

Direct mail has a higher response rate than many other forms of marketing, such as email, social media, or display advertising.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, the response rate for direct mail is 5.1% for house lists and 2.9% for prospect lists. In contrast, the response rate for email campaigns in marketing is only 0.6%.

This is more relevant if you really know who your ideal customer is. This means that for direct mail marketing to work, you really need to work on segmenting your mailing list first.

Then, do take into account that in terms of ROI, in many cases email marketing can deliver a higher return because it requires less investment. So it really depends on the average sales ticket of the product or service you offer.

Direct mail can be tangible and personalized

Direct mail is tangible and physical, which makes it more personal and memorable than digital marketing.

People can touch, feel, and even smell the mailpiece, which creates a stronger emotional connection.

This is directly related to one of the dimensions of the customer experience (CX): sensory appeal. With physical mail, your target audience can see, touch, smell, and hear what they get in their mailbox.

Moreover, you can personalize the mail piece by using the recipient’s name, address, and other relevant information.

For instance, you can associate a personalized video with every customer. As a result, you can increase the response rate, engagement, and sales using data-driven video as part of the direct mail funnel.

Direct mail is versatile

Direct mail can take many forms, such as postcards, letters, flyers, brochures, catalogs, and even samples.

You can choose the format and design that best suits your message and offer. You can use QR codes or personalized URLs to direct potential customers to create content, such as personalized landing pages and videos.

Here is an example of a direct mail piece with a QR to scan a personalized landing page with a tailored video:

Example of a direct mail piece with a personalized video and a QR

Moreover, you can combine direct mail with other marketing channels, such as email, social media, or SMS, to create an integrated campaign.

Direct mailing is easy to measure

Direct mail can be easily measured and tracked through the use of unique coupon codes, dedicated campaign phone numbers, web forms on landing pages, and other methods.

It is imperative to measure both access and response rates. Otherwise, you won’t be able to track sales and won’t know what worked and what didn’t.

Disadvantages of direct mail marketing

Direct mail marketing can be a valuable tool for businesses to reach potential customers.

However, like any marketing strategy, there are also disadvantages associated with this approach. Some of the most notable disadvantages of direct mail marketing include:

Direct mail can become costly

Direct mail marketing can be expensive, particularly when compared to digital marketing channels. The cost of printing, postage, and other materials can add up quickly, making it difficult for small businesses to afford.

Direct mail marketing takes time to plan and execute

Direct mail marketing campaigns require a significant amount of planning and preparation.

For example, from designing the mailer to compiling and cleaning a mailing list, there are many steps involved in executing a successful campaign.

This can take a lot of time and resources, which can be a challenge for businesses with limited staff or budgets.

Direct mail marketing has a limited reach

Direct mail marketing campaigns can only reach a limited number of people at a time.

Targeting a specific group or location can be helpful, but it may result in missed opportunities for businesses that don’t have every customer on their mailing list.

Direct mail marketing brings environmental concerns

Direct mail marketing has also been criticized for its environmental impact. The production of paper, ink, and other materials used in direct mail campaigns can contribute to deforestation and other environmental problems.

Additionally, many recipients may simply throw away the mailer, contributing to waste and pollution.

Although direct mail marketing can help businesses reach potential customers, it’s crucial to consider the possible disadvantages.

By carefully weighing the costs and benefits, businesses can make an informed decision about whether direct mail marketing is the right approach for their needs.

Types of direct mail marketing

There are several direct mail formats that businesses can use to reach their target audience. Some of the most common types include:


Standard postcards are a popular and cost-effective way to promote a product or service.

They are easy to design and print, and they can be sent to a large number of people at once. Postcards can be used to announce a sale, promote a new product, or invite customers to an event.


Letters are more personalized and persuasive than postcards, especially when you target current customers.

They allow businesses to tell a story, explain a product or service, and make a direct call to action.

Letters can be used to generate qualified leads, cross-sell or upsell products, or thank customers for their loyalty.


Brochures are versatile and informative direct mail formats to showcase a product or service. For example, in real estate marketing. Real estate agents use it to promote properties and services in local markets.

You can create brochures in various sizes and styles, with visuals like pictures, graphics, and charts to showcase the advantages and characteristics of the item or service.

Brochures can be used to introduce a new product line, educate customers about a complex service, or provide a detailed comparison with competitors.


Catalogs are a comprehensive and visually appealing way to present a range of products or services.

They can be designed in different styles and layouts, and they can include product descriptions, specifications, prices, and ordering information.

Catalogs can be used to cross-sell or upsell products, promote seasonal or holiday items, or provide a reference guide for customers.


Self-mailers are a type of direct mail marketing that involves sending promotional materials to potential customers without the use of an envelope.

Unlike traditional direct mail, self-mailers are designed to be mailed as-is, with the promotional content and recipient address printed directly on the mailer itself.

How to build an effective direct mail marketing strategy

To improve the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign strategy, try taking the following tips into account:

Know your target audience

One of the most important factors in the success of any marketing campaign is understanding your target audience. When planning your direct mail campaign, take the time to research and identify the characteristics and behaviors of the customers you want to reach. This will allow you to tailor your message and offer to their needs and interests.

Personalize your mail

Personalization can greatly increase the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign. Use your customer data to personalize your mailers with recipients’ names, past purchase history, or other relevant information.

Add personalized video marketing to your strategy to help current and potential customers pay attention and take action with tailored videos. This represents one of the main video marketing trends, also powered by AI and interactivity in some cases.

You can easily create a tailored video for every customer using personalized video creation software such as Pirsonal.

For most marketers, video personalization seems complex, and it’s actually a new marketing approach.

However, no matter your level of expertise, audience size or even campaign production workflow, at Pirsonal we walk with you to help you succeed with personalized video marketing in your direct mail campaign.

Personalization can help to create a connection between your brand and the recipient, increasing the chances that they will respond positively to your offer.

Use eye-catching designs and formats:

A direct mail piece that stands out from the rest can make all the difference in grabbing the recipient’s attention.

Use bright colors, bold fonts, and unique designs to make your mailers more visually appealing and memorable.

Consider using unconventional formats such as postcards or fold-out brochures to create a sense of intrigue and excitement.

Include a call-to-action

A clear and compelling call-to-action is essential in any direct mail campaign. Encourage recipients to take a specific action, such as visiting your website, making a purchase, or requesting more information.

Make the call-to-action prominent and easy to understand, and provide a clear incentive for taking action.

Follow up

Following up with recipients after your initial direct mail campaign can be a key to success.

Send a follow-up email or make a phone call to remind them of your offer and encourage them to take action.

This can help to build a relationship with the recipient and increase the chances of a positive response.

By implementing these direct mail marketing strategies, you can make your direct mail marketing campaigns more effective and increase your chances of success. Remember to track your results and make adjustments as needed to continually improve your approach.

Measure performance

To succeed with any marketing strategy and tactic, it is important to constantly measure and optimize performance. This is essential to improving accountability within your marketing team and to making sure you are targeting the right marketing goals.

When you track progress regularly, you can identify areas for improvement and celebrate successes.


Direct mail marketing can still be a powerful tool in a marketer’s arsenal, despite the rise of digital marketing.

While it does have its disadvantages such as cost, time, limited reach, and environmental concerns, these can be mitigated through careful planning and execution.

To improve your direct mail marketing results, you can personalize your message to suit your audience, use attractive designs and formats, add a clear call-to-action, and follow up with your recipients after sending your mail.

To make your direct mail marketing more relevant and achieve higher response rates, add personalized videos to your campaigns.

This process can be automated with scalable video personalization software. At Pirsonal, we’ll work with you and your team to achieve success with personalized video marketing, regardless of your audience size, experience, or workflow.

We do this by providing software anyone in your team can use and a service team that adapts to your needs.

Contact us now to learn more about how you can increase the engagement of your direct mail campaign with personalized videos.

With the right approach, direct mail marketing can help you stand out from the competition, reach your desired audience, and drive conversions.

Interactive Marketing and Video ConversionsScreenshot of personalized video invitation