Introduction to Direct Mail Printing, Data and Mailing for SMEs

by Rich B

What is Direct Mail?
For many marketers, Direct Mail is an indispensible and cost-effective tool to connect with customers. It is physical mail that is sent straight to the target customer. The mail can be in a wide range of printed formats – with postcards, leaflets, brochures and catalogues being the most common – and is sent with the aim of either communicating a specific message or getting the receiver to take an action (usually to buy something).

direct mail printing materials

A cost effective & targeted way to reach your customers

Direct mail is used to great effect by a huge range of companies of all sizes – from sole traders to multinationals. And whereas larger organisations employ teams of people to manage the printing, the data and the entire process, the good news for smaller companies is that there’s a great deal of help out there from direct mail providers and print management companies, many of whom can advise and manage your direct mailing project for you.

Personalised Messages and Printing
The key to many direct mailing items is that the sender can tailor the contents of the printed mailer to appeal to each individual customer meaning that, in theory at least, the customer should open a piece of mail that speaks directly to them. This in turn should increase the effectiveness of the mailer and resultant response rate from the customer.

Data, Print, Mailing
There’s a few components to making a successful direct mail campaign. They are data, print & mailing.

We’ll look into each of these components in the future as getting each right is key to creating a successful (and cost-effective) direct mailing campaign. But here’s a quick overview of each:

Data. Drives the message and delivery of your direct mailer. Having up to date, accurate and meaningful data on your customer is key. Experienced direct mail printers should have the capability to analyse your data.

Print. As always, quality printing is vital. However finding a good printer who can analyse the data (to find mailing savings) and get the best out of customer data can be tricky.

Mailing. Can account for the lion’s share of the cost of a DM project so initial analysis of the data by a printing services company who understands the mailing options is vital.

There’s much evidence that receiving personalised mail really does have a much higher response rate than many other forms of marketing – especially to older and younger demographics. And in an era when communications channels are becoming increasingly congested that can be a really exciting proposition.

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