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Direct Mail

Direct mail is a highly effective method of communication and sales strategy if it is managed correctly.

There are some issues to consider to help you have a successful campaign: 



Although this sounds obvious very often a company will state "I want sales", but this may be the wrong perspective for the type of customer they are trying to attract. 

In some circumstances the planned action should be: 

  • Make a donation
  • Get someone to visit a website
  • Make a telephone call
  • Accept a telephone call
  • Come to an open day
  • Visit the showroom
  • Pass a referral onto another prospect

The planning process begins with what is the end objective then must look at the following areas:

  • Who are my prospects? Where have they come from? Do they align with my goals? 
  • What is the emotional attachment to your business ? 
  • Will the quality of materials such as envelopes / letterhead make an impact on the demographic of the prospect? 
  • What is the best trigger to get the prospect to take action?

The database

Firstly, a database needs to be relevant. That is, it needs to be targeting the right audience. There is no point in marketing to CEO's if your letter is generic and is addressed to "Dear sir / madam". 

Take the time to find out who they are. Equally sending duplicate records is both a waste of money and sends the wrong message. 

Consider splitting your message into A customers / B customers / C customers. Have a separate message and call to action for each. 

Have an ability to measure the result for each group. make sure your data is up to date and is complete ie no missing first names or address details.


Your message

This is usually the undoing of many direct mail campaigns because the written word doesn't align with your goals and the intended actions of your prospects.

A successful message talks directly to the part of the readers brain that by-passes rational thought and seeks out selfish gain. This is known as the "reptilian" aspect of the brain's thought process. There is much documented information on google about the workings of the reptilian brain - importantly, it works.

Your message must be focused on the benefits to the reader, the urgency of the offering, the limited and exclusivity. It must seek to be a solution to a problem or a need.  Be careful not to have the message written from the perspective of the seller. It has to be written exclusively from the perspective of the reader. This is both a science and an art that we can help you with.


The design will be dependent on your target audience. It will also be influenced by the product or service being advertised. It needs to be incorporated into the one plan. Design is an area where people sometimes try to cut corners by using inappropriate "American" looking stock images or clip art for logos. We can help with appropriate design. Design also looks at the types of components that will be used such as envelope or postcard letterhead or brochure. It also looks at the composition such as gloss or matt and paper thicknesses.


This is an aspect usually not considered by the uninitiated but used extensively in the experienced charity mail market. Testing is a vital component of direct mail and is made up of a few stages

Stage 1 Working out what you are going to test? - The planning phase will help you decide what you believe should be the emotional attachment, the trigger and the call to action in each situation of your target audience of your A customers / B customers / C customers.

Determine a variation for each of these groups - For example You may create an offer to sell product x. Create a second offer to not try to sell the product straight away but to invite the prospect to visit your website. 

Stage 2  Implementation - The key here is to then mail a small quantity of your database to each and then measure the response rate for each. Do not try to create a test that involves your entire database. Experience has shown that most offers need some refinement. In the case of the charity mail market that creates millions of mail items per year, they will constantly create an additional variation for each stream and then apply it as part of their mailing schedule. The results are captured then used as part of the planning process for the next mailing schedule.

Stage 3 Analytic - Define first what you are going to measure and how you will compare the success of two outcomes. All business need sales to survive but in the buying cycle for your business, you may find that the process requires several forms of contact before a purchase is made (such as buying a car). Begin by defining an action as an 'advancement'. Measure your advancements in terms of their impact on the buying process.


Sometimes we have seen a client be delayed in all the creatives stages then in the rush to deploy they have insisted on lodgement ASAP without much though to the landing date. This is critically important because the individual days of the week can have a critical difference on your advancement rates.

Get a quotation or advice from an expert.  Call us on (03) 9574 6566.

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