Reach your Audience with Direct Mail: 4 Effective Strategies for Small Businesses


hand drawing many envelopes in black and white ink

In a digital world, where we experience a constant stream of social media and overflowing email inboxes, standing out can be a challenge. However, amid the digital noise, there’s a timeless tool that continues to prove effective – direct mail.

Let’s explore how to reach your audience with direct mail and the best strategy for your business.


What is Direct Mail?

Direct mail is physical marketing materials sent directly to potential customers through postal mail. It can take various forms, from postcards and letters, to catalogs and dimensional mailers.

Unlike digital marketing, campaigns that reach your audience with direct mail create a tangible connection with recipients, making it a powerful tool for building brand awareness and driving customer engagement.

woman smiling and sitting on a couch opening a cardboard box

Is Direct Mail Still Effective?

Despite the rise of digital marketing channels, direct mail remains a highly effective strategy for businesses of all sizes.

  • In a study referenced by the American Marketing Association, direct mail delivered open rates between 57.5%-85%, which is about 3-4x higher than email open rates.
  • Direct mail response rates fell between 2.7% – 4.4%, which in comparison to email response rates were around 0.6%.
  • In a 2022 report from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), letter-size envelope direct mail campaigns achieved a 112% ROI.


Who responds to Direct Mail?

According to USPS research from 2021, 71% of Gen X survey respondents say that direct mail is more personal than digital communication.

Their research also showed that younger generations also respond well to direct mail. In fact, 72% of Gen Z customers surveyed said they look forward to discovering mail with excitement, and 38% of them visit a company’s website after receiving direct mail.

  • According to Lob’s 2022 survey  State of Direct Mail Consumer Insights report, 50% of consumers 35+ say that direct mail feels more important than email communication from a brand.
  • The survey also revealed that 62% of consumers say direct mail inspired them to take action.
  • In addition, the average American household received 368 pieces of direct marketing mail in 2022 (Statista). At less than one piece of direct mail per day, direct mail really stands out.

Although direct mail has been a marketing staple for over a century, its impact has endured. Even if your target audience is Gen Z or younger, direct mail is still a marketing channel that delivers results.

Postal worker hand delivering direct mail while walking down a sidewalk in a upscale neighborhood

What type of Direct Mail works best?

When it comes to reaching your audience with direct mail, one size does not fit all. Different businesses have unique goals, target audiences, and budget considerations. Tailoring your strategy to your business and campaign goals is the best way to reach your target audience and maximize effectiveness.

man seated at a desk working on his laptop

4 Direct Mail Audience Targeting Strategies for Small Businesses:


1 | Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)

Ideal for businesses targeting specific geographic areas. 


EDDM allows you to send mailers to every household within a chosen neighborhood or ZIP code.

This cost-effective approach is perfect for promoting grand openings, local events, or special offers to a targeted local audience.


2 | Targeted Direct Mail

Ideal for businesses looking to reach a specific audience segment or B2B businesses reaching high-value accounts. 


Instead of targeting an entire zip code, targeted direct mail is sent to a specific audience segment mailing list.

You can leverage your own customer data and send mailers to a specific segment of your known costumers. Or you can reach a prospects beyond your customers by purchasing a mailing list of consumers that match your criteria.

Targeted mailers are also used by B2B businesses to send marketing materials to mailing lists of their high-value accounts.

Targeted direct mail allows you to tailor your mailers to resonate with the preferences and behaviors of your target audience. Tailoring your mailer to your target audience increases engagement and conversion.


3 | Triggered Direct Mail

Ideal for businesses that sell physical products or products that need to be replenished, replaced, or maintained. 


This type of direct mail is triggered by specific actions or events, such as a customer’s birthday, a recent purchase, or even their behavior on your website.

By integrating direct mail into your automated marketing workflows, you can deliver personalized messages and offers at key touchpoints in the customer journey, enhancing customer loyalty and retention.

Direct-to-Consumer companies leverage this method to send samples or an offer to website visitors that exhibit specific behaviors on their website. For more information on sample mailers, click here.

Triggered Direct Mail ultimately allows you to engage with both new prospects and known customers at the right time, like when it’s their birthday or when they visit your website for a certain amount of time.


4 | Omni Mail

Ideal for businesses serious about growing their audience—this strategy amplifies the effectiveness of direct mail by combining it with the efficiency of digital marketing. 


Omni mail takes a holistic approach, combining direct mail with digital channels to create a seamless omnichannel experience for customers.

By integrating QR codes, personalized URLs (PURLs), or other trackable links, you can drive recipients towards engagement and conversion.

Increase the impact of your mailer, by reinforcing your offer with a coordinated campaign of via social media ads, digital retargeting ads, and email.

According to Lytics, businesses that leverage at least four different marketing channels see an increase in ROI of up to 300%!

Omni Mail adds 8-16 more touches per target so your offer stays top of mind. Learn more about Omni mail here.


Close up of executive woman hands opening direct mail delivery package on a desk at the office

Why should I use Direct Mail?

Direct mail remains a potent tool for marketers, offering a tangible and impactful way to connect with customers.

Capture audience attention with creative design, targeted messaging, and strategic timing. And drive desired actions, such as; making a purchase, visiting a website, or attending an event.

By understanding the right strategies for your business to reach your audience with direct mail, you will unlock new opportunities for growth and engagement in an increasingly digital world.

Interested in how a Direct Mail campaign might be your next move? Let us know what you need.




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