Why Direct Mail Marketing Is Critical for Your Business

Direct mail marketing is a promotional strategy that involves delivering physical promotional materials, such as brochures, postcards, catalogs, and letters, to a target audience’s mailbox. This type of marketing is specifically designed to reach potential customers through the mail and can be an effective way to acquire new customers or drive engagement with existing ones.

Businesses of all kinds use direct mail marketing. They do so by creating mailing lists and then sending out targeted advertisements or marketing mail to people based on various factors.

We’ll go over what is direct mail marketing and discuss the types of mailing lists and direct mail options, and then we will look at things like the costs, advantages and disadvantages, and how you can make direct mail marketing easier by partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) solution.

Introduction to Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is the practice of sending promotional materials or messages directly to consumers’ mailboxes. Direct mail campaigns can be a highly effective marketing method, as they allow businesses to reach a targeted audience with tailored marketing messages. Mail advertising can be used by businesses in all industries, from retail to finance, and can be used to promote products, services or events.

Direct mail marketing has been around for decades, and it remains a powerful tool for businesses today. While many businesses have shifted a significant portion of their marketing efforts to digital channels, direct mail marketing remains popular because of its ability to achieve a high response rate. Physical mail can capture a recipient’s attention, and when it’s done right, direct mail marketing can be engaging and persuasive.

Types of Mailing Lists

Take a look at some of the most common types of mailing lists.

Saturation Mailing List

A saturation mailing list is a list that’s derived from geographic location information. You can send mailings to entire carrier routes or ZIP codes based on your preference. The cost of this type of list is fairly low because it’s not very targeted. You can even rent these lists from brokers or providers. If you offer services or goods that a lot of people use, this is a great way to draw a large audience or make a big announcement about new locations, products or special events.

These lists can be sent via USPS standard marketing mail or Every Door Direct Mail.

Targeted Mailing List

Targeted mailing lists are created with a specific audience in mind. For example, you might want to target people based on demographics like age if you’re in the business of selling life insurance to senior citizens. In that case, not going many people in the 20-30 age range will even notice your mailers, let alone respond to them, so you’ll save your money and focus your efforts where they count.

These lists are more expensive to purchase because they are targeted and refined. However, you can also cultivate your own in-house mailing list based on targets and audiences.

These lists can be delivered via USPS marketing mail, First-Class or Priority Mail.

Types of Direct Mail

Several types of direct mail work well. Some are more common than others, but they all have their place and may work differently for each business or brand.

Direct Mail Letters and Envelopes

Direct mail in the form of letters and envelopes is a fairly standard choice. It is a great way to send out mail that includes sensitive details, confidential information or multiple pieces that need to be contained. Based on envelope size and what’s inside, you’ll pay more for postage than you would for a flyer or postcard, but it might be worth it.

Direct Mail Postcards

Direct mail postcards are one of the lowest-cost options for this type of marketing. They come in all kinds of sizes and styles and can be great for thank-you notes, appointment reminders, coupons and other promotions. Postcards are simple but effective, making them a top choice for direct mail campaigns.

Direct Mail Catalogs

Direct mail catalogs are multi-page booklets and mailers that can be used for information, marketing a lot of products at once or providing people with a more detailed look at your business. They come in all shapes and sizes and typically don’t include an envelope.


Also known as self-mailers, these items don’t require an envelope, making them a low-cost choice. They are made from cardstock and designed to be folded or glued. They’re great for menus, in-depth product or service explanations and events calendars.

Circulars and Inserts/Wraps

When the budget is really tight, circulars and inserts might be just what you’re looking for. These are printed on lighter-weight paper, and they often go with newspapers, ads or mailers. They are ideal for advertisements, sales and printed coupons.

Dimensional Mail

If you have high-value prospects or are trying to get people’s attention, dimensional mailers are a great choice. They are more expensive, but they are multi-dimensional and can be designed in any style that you like. If you are looking to target a smaller audience and need to make an impression, this method is a good choice. It’s not cost-effective for broad-reach marketing.

Direct Mail Marketing: Advantages and Disadvantages

You’ll want to consider several advantages and disadvantages when it comes to direct mail marketing. Here’s what you need to know.


One of the biggest advantages of direct mail marketing is its highly targeted approach. By creating a targeted list of potential buyers, businesses can tailor their message to specific recipients to increase the chances of generating a response. Direct mail can be highly personalized with the recipient’s name, address and other relevant details, which can help grab their attention and create a more memorable experience.

Another benefit of direct mail marketing is its ability to be highly measurable. With the use of unique codes or URLs, businesses can track the response rates of their direct mail campaigns and get valuable insights into how well they’re performing. This method allows businesses to make necessary adjustments to their strategies to improve their overall return on investment (ROI).

Direct mail is also highly versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes such as promoting products or services, announcing upcoming events or launching new products. It can also be integrated with other marketing channels like email, social media and mobile to help create a more cohesive and effective marketing strategy.


Direct mail marketing can be expensive with the production and mailing costs that come with it. Businesses not only have to spend money on designing the mailer, but they also have to spend money on printing and postage fees. Plus, there are additional costs if the mailing list needs to be cleaned up or updated.

Mail marketing often competes with email campaigns, which can be much cheaper and may offer a better ROI. However, when done right, direct marketing campaigns offer a level of personalization that rivals even email marketing.

How Much Does Direct Mail Marketing Cost?

Several factors influence how much you’ll spend on direct mail marketing, including the type of mailings that you choose. If you’re investing in a mailing list, you’ll also have to pay for that unless you cultivate your own. When paying for lists, the more targeted they are, the more expensive they will be.

The mailer itself will also impact the cost and is where the bulk of the expense comes in. The complexity, quantity and design of your mailer will determine how much you spend. You might be able to print 2,000 coupon inserts inexpensively. A multi-dimensional marketing mailer to a high-value prospect would cost much more. So many variables are involved.

Postage is the final factor that influences the price of your direct mail campaigns. Marketing mail and Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) rates have lower bulk prices than Priority Mail or First-Class, but the format that you choose and type of mailing list will impact how you can send things too.

Direct Mail Marketing with Print Bind Ship

The best thing that you can do for the best direct mail marketing experience is to partner with a 3PL provider like Print Bind Ship. We’ll handle all of your direct mail printing, prepping and mailing needs to ensure that your campaigns go off without a hitch. Our unique platform – Mail Genius – is the go-to for eCommerce brands and businesses looking to launch their direct mail marketing campaigns.

Contact us today to discuss your needs or learn more about direct mail and how it can help you grow your business. We’ll walk you through the benefits and how to get started, and help you get your business on the path to success with direct mail marketing!


What is direct mail marketing?

Direct mail marketing is a type of advertising that involves sending promotional material by mail to a targeted audience.

What types of businesses use direct mail marketing?

Direct mail marketing can be beneficial to businesses of all sizes, particularly those that have a well-defined target audience.

What are the benefits of direct mail marketing?

Direct mail marketing can be effective for businesses seeking to increase brand awareness, generate leads and make more sales. It allows for personalized messaging to specific audiences.

How can I create a successful direct mail marketing campaign?

For a successful campaign, you need to have a clear understanding of your target audience, come up with strong messaging, choose the right format and design and track your results to make effective adjustments.

What are some common mistakes to avoid in direct mail marketing?

Some common mistakes to avoid include not having a clear call-to-action, having an uninspiring design, using low-quality lists or data and not following up with leads or customers.