There are three basic elements that determine the success of a direct mail campaign: the list, the offer and the creative. Here are the secrets you need to know:

Target your list

There is no factor more important to the success of your mailing than the list. The quality of the mailing list represents at least 40% of your campaign’s success.

  • Target recipients to match your offer.
  • Apply predictive list models to target a smaller, more specific audience.
  • Keep your list up-to-date.
  • See Eye/Comm’s publication “Creating a Successful Mailing List” for more ideas. Ask us for a free copy.

Make a compelling offer

It’s the basic driver of response.

  • Offer a discount, free gift or rebate.
  • If your offer is powerful, consider including it in your headline.
  • Put a time limit on the offer to motivate the reader to respond quickly.
  • Use the word “free.”

Emphasize benefits, not features

People want to know “What’s in it for me?”, not what’s in your product or service. Features are what your product has. Benefits are how it improves your life. ?SPF 50 is a feature of sunscreen. Helps prevent skin cancer is the benefit. As an old ad man once said, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”

Make it personal

Speak directly to your customer with a relevant message. A florist sends birthday and anniversary reminders to its customers. A shoe retailer notifies a customer about a new model of running shoe, an upgrade to what she has purchased before. These efforts turn the mail into a customer service tool. And your customers want service. Variable digital printing provides a tool for customizing every mail piece with personalized messages and images.

Add a P.S. to a letter

Readers often read the P.S. before the body of a letter. This makes the P.S. a good place to reiterate the offer or main benefit.

Give the reader multiple ways to respond

Include a phone number, email and website. Make them easy to find. Consider including a business reply card. Even in this day when people may respond by telephone and internet, business reply cards improve response rates. Their very presence communicates that a response is requested.

Tell people what you want them to do

Make it clear how you want the reader to respond. Prompt them to call, come in, visit your website, send in a reply card, or whatever your objective is.

Change the size

If you’ve always had reasonable success with a 5 x 8 postcard, test a 6 x 11 card and see if it catches more attention. What it cost you in dollars, you may get back in response.

Mail frequently

If you are mailing four times a year, test a series of six mailings. It keeps you in front of customers more often and gives you more opportunities to get a response. Tests have shown that a second mailing of the same piece to the same list usually generates 50% of the response of the first mailing.

Now you are ready to increase your reponses. If you have any questions call us 619-448-6111 or email We are glad to help!

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