Direct Mail Marketing Strategy for Graphic Designers

Direct mail marketing is an old-school strategy that works well for direct response campaigns. It can be a great way to get your direct mail design in the hands of potential customers. In this video article, we will cover direct mail types and a simple direct marketing strategy, giving you the knowledge you need to harness direct mail marketing for yourself or your clients. If you’re a designer and not using direct mail to grow your business, then you are leaving thousands of dollars on the table!

My advice is not to overlook the importance of direct mail. It will grow in popularity and revenue, even if you don’t have a large budget or find it difficult to develop creative content for each business type or industry sector. With many different mediums available, today’s marketers are able to communicate with clients in every way they choose! So today I’m going to talk about that because there are millions of young people around the world who enjoy receiving mail, and there are a lot of misconceptions out there.

The Direct Mail Marketing Strategy Is Based on Statistics

Direct Mail Marketing Strategy for Graphic DesignersSo you might have heard that direct mail marketing is dead. That people don’t care about physical mail anymore, but that’s not true at all! I have the numbers and facts to back that up today, which I want to share with you guys. I have done a lot of research about direct mail marketing and can share that with you to help you guys with your businesses and even your life. So let me just share some facts with you.

A 2020 USPS customer and market survey actually did the research and found that respondents can find a more meaningful connection to those whom they send mail to while some indicate how important and flexible it is to shop for male products. The survey by USPS found that over 80 percent consider receiving a handwritten letter note or greeting card in the mail still has a lot of value, with many indicating it builds relationships. Mail is personal after all—it’s a really big relationship-building tool.

Modern Solutions

Especially in the times, with the pandemic and people being locked down for so long, we’re just kind of getting back to things. People have felt very lonely and distant, and mail is a great way to bring that connection back. I think that there’s just huge importance for them, there’s actually some serious excitement around these young people getting to check their mailbox for letters mails gifts all the different things that are sent in the mail.

That’s something that a lot of people are looking forward to, especially with packages and other things like Amazon. USPS has recently increased, which is crucial for you to realize since there is excitement and anticipation around your mailbox; a lot of us have already switched our regular payments to paperless billing, so there aren’t as many letters and envelopes going through the mail now.

Shifting Attitudes

People used to dread receiving their mail because it was so crowded with all of the letters they were sending and receiving. People still do, at least around the first of the month when the bills come in. I’ve done it too, but now it’s becoming more special to me. Getting into someone’s mailbox is a little different than calling them or reaching them over the radio. It’s more personal than advertising on a billboard but it’s not as invasive as a phone call; it’s a happy medium between the two.

So I want to read you just a couple more stats because this is really going to send it home. Standard direct mail open rates can nearly reach 90% as compared to MailChimp which reported a 23% open rate. That’s how many people actually open the mail. 62% of the consumers who responded to a direct mail in the past three months have actually made a purchase, another big statistic you gotta understand. Direct mail spending has reached a whopping 38.5 billion dollars in local advertising spending, which is incredible. Almost $40 billion in sales have resulted from direct mail. That’s a huge amount of money. Direct mail has generated almost $39 billion in revenue, according to conservative estimates.

Direct Mail Marketing Strategy 101: Choose the Right Type of Mail

Direct Mail Marketing Strategy for Graphic DesignersNow that we’ve established that the direct mail marketing strategy is alive and well, the next step is to learn about the many forms of direct mail that exist. There are actually seven distinct kinds of direct mail, and I’ll go over each of them briefly so you can understand how to use direct mail for your company and life.


You can send things like treats or promotional items like flashlights and keychains. And even gift cards! I’ve sent Starbucks gift cards; I had a guy that actually sent me a gift which was really cool he was for an energy company and he sent me a two-dollar bill. This was super memorable–literally, I remember it to this day. And I’m even using it in the video above so you can tell right there alone that sending a two-dollar bill with a handwritten card is super powerful. So sending gifts is a really good way to get somebody’s attention and start to build that relationship with them.


Another option is sending letters–either handwritten letters or typed-up letters. Handwritten letters are very very personal. Typed-up letters are fine, but if you really want to get personal and send a special something really, really special, you can do a handwritten letter. But letters are really good direct mail pieces; they really communicate a story and allow you to kind of build that relationship and really share a lot on just a couple of pieces of paper. This is a really good opportunity to build that relationship using letters in direct mail, handwritten or typed.

Marketing Notices

After that, there are marketing alerts. You’ve undoubtedly seen these. Utility companies send you these little tear-off notes so you can give someone an update on their bill or some other type of notice. If you want to make something appear more official and less salesy, tear-offs are very effective. They score around the edges and then the recipients have to rip it off, which makes it seem more official and the likelihood of someone opening it is quite high. I don’t have any statistics for you, but I’m sure that the open rates for tear-offs are extremely high.


The envelopes are fantastic. I’ve sent out a lot of them and we’re beginning to do more and more of these in my business, which is fantastic for my agency. You may put several things in there, such as a greeting card, a gift card, or some sort of other little promotional items. These envelopes help you stand out in your mailbox. Consider if you’re receiving a large stack of mail and then receive this huge flat shipping rate envelope with something inside it; you’ll definitely open it because curiosity would get the best of you. When you open it up, it actually has something good inside of it, and that’s going to leave an impression.


The majority of individuals who work in direct marketing like to go cheap, therefore they utilize a tiny little 4×6 or 4×5 postcard. Sending out at least a 5×10 or 5×8 or bigger oversized postcard will really help you stand out in the mailbox. Sending out monthly routine deals or offers, particularly if it’s something seasonal, can make a lot of money for your clients and for your own business, as well. I personally use postcards in my direct mail marketing strategy, and I highly recommend them–especially for large-scale campaigns.

Catalogs And Magazines

If you’re a member of any organization or are part of the corporate world, you’ll undoubtedly get catalogs and magazines. Because you can generate money off clients that buy advertising inside of that magazine as well as your own sales, sending publications through the mail is extremely effective. So, whether it’s a four-page or 5-page catalog booklet or something thicker, this kind of direct mail is great for keeping top of mind awareness.

Video Brochures

Most people haven’t heard of this, but video brochures are card stock brochures stuck flat with a small screen that’s battery-powered. You can actually set a video to play on the screen and customize the cover to your liking. It’s a bit more expensive, but it adds an individual touch and a dramatic flair to your direct mail marketing campaign that other techniques can’t match up to. Because it engages various senses, video is the king of content in this case as well.

What Are the Benefits of a Direct Mail Marketing Strategy?

Direct Mail Marketing Strategy for Graphic DesignersDirect mail campaigns offer a slew of advantages, like surprisingly high response rates and the ability to garner trust. As I mentioned, you can do a lot of personalization and it’s quite flexible. There are seven primary categories, and that isn’t even close to being all there is. It’s cost-effective, easy to use, and it works. That’s the most important aspect: direct mail marketing works well and gives you a return on your marketing investment.

3 Tips for Success in Your Direct Mail Marketing Strategy

So, there are different types of direct mail marketing that you can do. The simplicity and cost-effectiveness of it are really affordable to do. If you’re doing a large-scale campaign, it can get expensive. However, if you’re doing things on a small scale in terms of quality versus quantity, you can really get a lot of bang for your buck with direct mail even more than additional marketing sometimes. But there are three things that you need to know about the direct mail marketing strategy that I’m going to share with you right now. These tips are going to help you have success with your direct mail marketing campaigns.

Direct Mail Marketing Strategy: Targeting

When it comes to direct mail marketing, the first thing I want you to remember is that if you’re going to run a direct mail marketing campaign, you’ll need to buy a targeted list. You may get quite detailed and narrow down your choices based on your own research and come up with your own list. You could go after all of this varied data by purchasing a list that is targeted at particular regions, incomes, ages, kids in the home, or anything similar. There’s a lot of information and targeting when it comes to direct mail, so I really want you to have access to it.

Direct Mail Marketing Strategy: Tracking

Now, the second thing is to be able to set up your campaign tracking properly. Your tracking of these campaigns is critical because measuring the ROI of these campaigns is what’s going to help you determine what works and what doesn’t work. Using tracking numbers, QR codes, or text-specific codes is an effective method to track your campaigns. Remember, there are seven different types of direct marketing campaigns that we talked about. You may want to try each one of those and see what works or you may know what’s going to work for your audience already. The important thing is being able to track it and see what type of ROI you’re getting from it.

Direct Mail Marketing Strategy: Content

The third piece to making your direct mail marketing campaign successful is actually delivering valuable content. If your content isn’t valuable, they’re going to throw it right in the trash. Not only that, but the next time they get one, they’re going to throw it away too. You have one chance to make a first impression so do something big. Start with a bang and continue that momentum throughout the relationship. I started working in the direct mail industry in 2006 during the downturn, just a year before I actually started my printing company. There is, without a doubt, a massive opportunity for designers to use their creative gifts to make a ton of money in the direct mail marketing industry.

Final Thoughts

Direct Mail Marketing Strategy for Graphic DesignersIt’s difficult to sell a direct mail marketing design project as simply a graphic design job, because it’s really a marketing campaign that starts with the message and all the way through delivery, in which you can actually sell and generate millions of dollars for your customer. When you can sell a marketing campaign for thousands of dollars that will make millions, it is much more valuable to you than trying to sell a graphic design project for, say, three hundred bucks. So, as a designer, you’ll want to keep in mind that this is super crucial information regarding direct marketing since it can help you build your business and make money with it. Don’t sell the project; sell the campaign. That’s why I wanted to talk to you today about direct mail.

Last, but not least, I’d like to share with you if you’re a graphic designer, website designer, or motion designer in the sector, we have a free Facebook group where some of the greatest graphic designers and business owners congregate. It’s a secret community of some of the world’s greatest graphic designers and company owners, but we’re all working towards building a community together called the Instagraphics Pro Network. There are over 400 of us now; I’d love to have you join our tribe and be a part of our community. However, in order to join, please answer all questions carefully so that everyone may benefit from your knowledge. We’re selective; we don’t want just quantity; rather we’re looking for quality individuals. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’m looking forward to seeing you on the next article. I’m Adrian Boysel and as always, keep looking up.