Business Process Improvement, Direct Mail, Document Design, How-to Guides

Increase Your Response Rate and Reach with Direct Mail

FSSI logo Kelly McConville on April 13, 2017

person holding a letter with different faces in the background.

Direct Mail Marketing Deserves a Second Look

By turning your back on direct mail, you could be ignoring a valuable revenue stream for your company. According to a forecast from the Winterberry Group direct mail spending in 2023 will increase from 1.6% to 4% of advertising dollars, while spending in many other digital channels will decrease. It is also one of the most profitable ways to reach new and existing clients.

Many marketers were led to believe that traditional print and mail is dead. Given that newspapers were declining in popularity, bookstores were shutting down, and the internet seems to be taking over our daily lives, it was an easy assumption to make.

So, what is outsourced direct mail? It consists of printed marketing offers, promotions, and branded materials delivered to consumers via mail. Circulars, catalogs, coupons, and marketing postcards are just a few examples of the different types of direct mail sent to consumers. These mailers are extremely beneficial for marketing purposes because they can be completely customized and allow companies to reach more individual customers within their target audience. Effective and low cost – direct mail is the perfect fit to enhance your company’s current marketing strategy.

What Makes Direct Mail Marketing So Effective?

Direct mail marketing uses the power of data integration to connect with consumers in a highly personalized way. Data analysis and market research determine who falls inside a company’s target audience and are crucial because the information gathered drives the personalization of direct mailers. Showing your customers exactly what interests them will spark higher response rates.

Think of all the times a mail piece addressed to “Current Resident” is thrown away. People are much more likely to read mail addressed directly to them. Unlike traditional mass marketing, targeting an audience with direct mail ensures that marketing budgets are not wasted on uninterested consumers. For some companies, direct response advertising is a core part of their marketing strategy, and without it, there is a huge loss in sales.

For example, clothing giant, Lands’ End, famously did away with their largest and most effective direct response marketing, their famous catalog. The decision was executed a few years ago to save on production costs. The result was a staggering $15-million-dollar loss in sales. To rectify the situation Lands’ Ends added an option to their website so that consumers could choose to receive the catalog by mail. A whopping 78% of consumers opted to receive the catalog again, proving direct mail builds a connection with consumers young and old alike. Read our Omnichannel Experience Marketing blog post to learn more about how variable data printing and personalized messaging can help reach and engage with customers more effectively than ever.

Direct Mail Marketing is Effective in a Surprising Demographic?

While direct mail is popular with all generations, older and middle-aged consumers are often more comfortable with traditional print mailers. Some tend to be less tech-savvy and don’t have confidence in the security provided by the web and their mobile devices. Many mature consumers still buy directly from catalogs and collect coupons from their mailboxes. A paperless marketing campaign may isolate many older customers who tend to have, and spend, more money than younger generations.

Surprisingly, Millennials, while many do opt for paperless communication actually respond the best to direct mail.  We all experience lots of digital noise. Millennials are the most affected by this. The inboxes of these young consumers are overloaded with countless advertisements and promotions. We haven’t even factored in internet ads. The result of this is that many tune out to lots of digital marketing promotions. That is the power of direct mail marketing for millennials.

Sometimes, a good traditional marketing mailer can be a less intrusive way to break through the noise. Not to mention that lots of younger customers appreciate nostalgia, and react strongly to traditional direct mail strategies.

Cost of Direct Mail Vs. Email Marketing

You might not realize it but the cost per lead on direct mail is actually about the same as email marketing. In addition, the response rate of direct mail and direct response is much higher. The lack of physical mail pieces has made the receipt of traditional mail exciting again. Eye-popping designs and relevant, personalized messages provided by direct mailers have Millennials wowed.

Tips to Make Your Direct Mailers Stand Out


Multichannel communications are important to all customers, but more importantly, younger customers. There is a common misconception that younger customers do not like traditional printed communication. Data has shown that, in fact, that is untrue. Reach these younger customers in a more effective way of utilizing multiple communication channels.

Millennials and Generation Z customers actually have higher response rates, than their older counterparts. Add in QR codes with links to social media platforms, promotional codes that can be redeemed online. Another cross-channel direct mail strategy is to offer codes or deals that can be utilized online or in brick and mortar stores. Using this multi-channel direct mail strategy will keep younger consumers coming back for more.


Stand out from your company’s competitors by including a unique offer only available through your direct mail marketing piece. Segmenting your consumer groups and personalizing your offer to their interests will build customer loyalty.

A loyal consumer who spends money regularly with your company deserves more attention than a normal consumer. Each type of customer provides a very different value to your business. The right direct mail marketing campaign has the power to win those disengaged customers. The direct mail campaign and messaging have to address the customer’s individual needs.

Follow-up is key. Your direct mail list is everything. Always keep your mailing list updated and proactively acquire new leads.


First time venturing into direct mail marketing? FSSI can help. No need to deal with multiple parties. Thirty years of expertise in outsourcing print and mail make FSSI the ideal fit for companies seeking a turnkey solution. FSSI offers a one-stop shop capable of handling all of your data and direct mail marketing strategy needs, along with your print and mail needs. Enjoy the benefits of personalized content, versatile formatting, integrated marketing communications, and response measurement with FSSI’s direct mail campaigns. Call (714) 436-3300 to set an appointment for a free consultation.

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