Direct mail campaigns that work

Will direct mail work for your small business?

Being surrounded with news of online communication tools and technology, direct mail has kind of got lost in the dust! But I do think there is still room for direct mail in most small business marketing plans.

A hand written letter sent through direct mail…

Something that has worked very well for myself and many of my past clients, is a direct mail piece that looks like a handwritten letter. There are 3 important parts you need to include to make this work:

  • A special offer – Make it good
  • A deadline – A week or 2 tops
  • Follow upEach direct mail campaign should consist of at least 3 mailings. Be creative!!

Test it in one or two postal codes near you by sending 3 creative letters over a 3 week span.  Make sure each letter has a special offer or incentive, and a deadline. The cost in BC is about 11 cents per house, and 14 cents per business.  Visit the Canada post website and research their requirements here:

Canada Post’s Precision Targeter


I would do the printing in-house if you are going to do this regularly.  If you don’t have a good printer, lease one.  Also, get a tri folding machine.  This will save you all kinds of money in printing!!

Other mailings you can try are: post cards, a photograph, or basically anything that is totally different from the rest of the junk mail people receive.   If you can, try to give your direct mail a personal twist.

See below for a few direct mail campaign examples:

Cut Out Contest

An optical store in Nanaimo BC sent a mail-out with a cut out of a funky pair of glasses.  Their call to action was to send them a photo of you wearing the glasses for a chance to win a prize.  This was a very successful campaign.

Bill Glazer the Direct Mail King

Bill Glazer, a published author and professional speaker, earned his claim to fame with his incredibly successful direct mail campaigns. One that stands out is his Breakfast Diner campaign.  He had his offer sent out on a paper place mat, complete with coffee stains.  The offer was written in crayon!  Awesome!!

Foot in the door

This is a campaign I ran in Edmonton when I was just getting my start as a marketing consultant.  I photo copied my foot with a hand-written note saying “just wanted to get my foot in the door”. On the back was a list of marketing services I offered. This was an incredibly successful campaign. And I still use variations of it to this day!

here is a few photos to get some outside box idea’s in your brain!


Have you seen an effective “outside the box” mail-out campaign? Or run a successful direct mail campaign yourself? Tell us about it in the comments section below.  Share your ideas!


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  1. Pingback: Small business Online Marketing Newsletter 2015 | Marketing Darcy

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