With 2020 in full swing, we look forward to all the possibility it holds in the upcoming months. But as we look forward, it’s important to look back, too—at what works for us, in our industry. What elements impact at the success of a direct mail campaign most? Let’s look at best practices in order to apply them throughout 2020.

Your audience

Your list is the most important part of your DM campaign—this seems like a no-brainer, since you’re going to get a better response if you mail to potential customers who are interested in your products and services (if you own a chain of pet supply stores, you want to mail to people who have pets, as opposed to non-pet owners).

Chances are you already have a list existing customers and prospects. If you want to expand on that, you can work with a company to develop your list. Whether that’s through renting or buying a specific list or incorporating geo-targeting tactics, your list is so important it’s worth it to invest both time and money into making it the best it can be. The right list will maximize your response and balance out your costs.

The offer 

We talk about the offer a lot here. How good your offer is makes a big difference in whether people respond to your DM campaign. Whether you’re offering a percentage off, a buy one get one free offer, or a coupon, make that offer count.

Make sure your offer is clear and easy to find in your direct mail piece. Include it in your teaser, in your headlines, and your CTA. How to redeem the offer should also be very clear, and not something the recipient has to hunt for in your communication. Call out phone numbers, email addresses, or other instructions with bolding or headlines. There is nothing worse than a great offer the customer can’t figure out how to use!


Creative has to do a lot of work in a DM campaign. The OE does the heavy lifting—simply getting the recipient into the package. You can maximize the impact of your OE by adding a teaser that highlights your offer, or by using color or an unusual size that stands out in the mail.

Inside the OE, less is more. A clean look that emphasizes key points (like the offer, and how to redeem the offer) is important. Copy should follow suit—avoid being overly wordy. Be as concise as possible, hyping the offer and giving the recipient the information they need to know to respond.

Track your campaign

This is the only way to measure your results, so making your DM trackable is key to understanding the impact of your campaign and your investment. Consider using one of the following to track response:

  • Trackable website
  • Trackable phone number
  • Coupon codes
  • QR codes

Another way to track your direct mail campaign is through Informed Delivery. A service offered by USPS, customers sign up to receive an email summary of the mail they are going to receive each day—the summary shows black and white photos of the mail pieces.

Marketers can take advantage of this service by upgrading their image to color, and including a “ride-along” image, which is a link to the offer page. This allows your recipient (as long as they are opted in to Informed Delivery) to go ahead and check out your offer—sometimes, before they even receive your email. USPS will share data with you resulting from your campaign—such as who clicked on your link and who didn’t, so you can better target your mailing list.

Get help from experts!

A seasoned direct mail company can help you in every aspect of direct mail, from developing a strong list to hashing out winning creative. At EdgeMark, we can help you with every aspect of your campaign, including the production and mail side. Whether you want to develop a mailing from scratch or need an extra set of eyes to evaluate your creative, EdgeMark is here to help.