Direct Mail Advertising 101 

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  • Target Print & Mail
  • Target Print & Mail
Published On: February 29th, 2024
Direct Mail Advertising 101 

There are many benefits to reaching out to your desired audience through the mail – one of which is their increased attention to your message. According to a survey by InfoTrends, 82 percent of direct mail is read for a minute or more, which to marketers is a very long time. Over 84 percent reported that personalization made recipients more likely to open a direct mail piece.  

While there’s no question that direct mail can be effective, it is a big task to tackle on your own. Here’s a quick and easy guide to getting started with direct mail advertising. We like to think of it as a three-step process: 1) target 2) print and 3) mail.  

Target Your Audience 

To target your intended audience, you need a list. This can either be your existing customer list (which may need a little clean-up and organization before it can be used) or a purchased one.  

With a purchased list, you can: 

  • Search based on any area on a map or based on demographic data.  
  • Get the list overview and quantities first to review and, once that’s approved, buy the full list.  
  • As a customer, you typically receive the final mailing list the same day it is ordered.  

You can target residences based on this publicly available data:  

Age, children by age, education, ethnicity, gender, income, marital status, religion, college graduate, empty nesters, expectant parents, home purchase, newlyweds, new teen driver, recently divorced, travel/vacation, dwelling type, home value, homeowner/renter, lender type, length of residence, loan amount, purchasing amount and year built.  

A purchased list typically costs approximately $100-200, depending on the size and complexity of the list itself. 

Print Your Pieces 

Next, it’s time to print the items you will be mailing. This could be letters, postcards, brochures, samples, promotional products or other creative options.  

While this step might seem simple, there are many design choices to be made. Do you want an envelope with a window or no window? Will you print on glossy or matte paper stock? What size will the item be? Will it be one-sided or two-sided? Full color or black ink? Will each item be standard or personalized? 

With so many design decisions to be made, it’s a good idea to work with a professional graphic designer to ensure you’re getting the best result. 

Mail Your Pieces 

Finally, it’s time to mail your pieces to the recipients, which is easier said than done. You must: 

  • Apply Intelligent Mail Barcodes  
  • Determine postage (more on this below)  
  • Complete USPS paperwork  
  • Sort by zip code  
  • Box, sleeve and strap and palletize   
  • Deliver to post office 

If you’re printing over a certain number of items, you’ll likely need a professional service to handle this step for you to ensure accuracy. 

The Cost of Direct Mail 

When determining your budget for direct mail advertising, don’t forget to factor in the cost of postage. Bulk postage may apply to your shipment: 200 minimum for bulk standard, and 500 minimum for First Class.  

The final cost of postage depends on the item’s size and weight.  

Direct Mail Advertising, Done on Target 

Sending direct mail is an effective way to reach your audience but involves many steps. Each must be done correctly to ensure that each piece gets to the right mailbox with the right information. That’s why it’s most important to partner with the right printer. 

Our experienced team at Target Print & Mail will help you pick the best options and fulfill complex orders, so you get a clear return on your investment, every time. Our experts can help you visualize your item, finalize the design, print (including personalization, with each recipient’s unique name), prepare postage and ship to the recipient’s door. So, you can place the order and forget about it – until the results start coming in, that is. 

Ready to get started? Click here to request a quote today.