Best practices for building direct-to-consumer promotions (or direct-response campaigns as they were known originally) came from direct marketing approaches employed by mail-based campaigns. These DTC direct mail advertising programs leveraged data more than any other ad-based medium, collecting and analyzing detailed information about both consumer targets and response rates.

Today, direct mail is enjoying a resurgence most likely due to the fact that consumers are receiving less paper promotional mail with the advent of digital marketing but have a longer attention span when they are offline and not glued to their many screens. In addition, the generation of Baby Boomers are aging and not everyone has a smartphone. It is estimated that in the U.S. only 46% of those over 65 own smartphones so continued use of direct mail marketing just makes sense.

Based on the latest 2018 survey by the Data and Marketing Association, direct mail showed an average response rate of 9% for house lists and 4.9% for prospect lists, the highest average direct mail response rates since the DMA began tracking these statistics in 2003. House list response rates, in fact, doubled vs 2017, indicating that direct mail is still a very viable marketing channel.

Direct mail can be used for market research, to test promotional offers, to announce new products or services and to thank customers for doing something (signing up, ordering, repeat business etc.).

Direct mail campaigns can also be important elements of omnichannel campaigns. Anticipation strategies such as “look for our offer in your mailbox over the next few days” and other attention getting messages can be great drivers of curiosity and excitement within these multi-channel programs. And by reinforcing campaign messages while also delivering more securely, directly to the targeted individual, a final offer for conversion, direct mail can be a good downstream channel option.

Instead of relying on just an ad impression delivered online to accomplish this, a direct mail print piece can help to “seal the deal” and give the target more time to consider the opportunity instead of risking them clicking away to the next site, channel or other online destination of their choice. And there are other lessons learned from direct mail “rules of the road” which provide great guidance for advertising across other mediums.

Read below 3 examples of ways in which you can increase the visual power of your advertising drawn from our deep experience with direct mail at Propelo Media.


Tip #1: Use Headlines and Visual Sales Strategically

If you want to grab attention, there is almost nothing that does this better than a great headline. Memorable, short and emotional, these statements command focus and help ground your campaign across mediums so that they are recognizable and become familiar. Paired with imagery or video which helps tell your story, these proven ad elements can take your offer from “ho-hum” to “hooray!” Ask questions, excite curiosity, be aspirational, find an angle.

Other tips for better visual marketing? Using subheads and bullets are also proven ways to simplify reading down the page. Use emotional trigger words describing the benefits of your product and how your prospect will feel after experiencing it. Repeat your main message at the end of your copy. Use one powerful hashtag.


Tip #2: Keep It Simple and Make it Easy to Take Action

Your campaign will be driven by objective so depending on your promotional goal you may need to drive your prospects in-store, get them to email you or call or go to a landing page. Just remember that the easier you make it for them to “take the next step”, the faster they are likely to take action. Anything more complex or which forces them to go find something, go to a device and do something and you may lose their train of thought. On the other hand, a simple scan of a QR code which links to a video view or an easy to remember promo code may be all you need to get them to grab your offer and take action. You can also use online reminders after your offline campaigns go out to remind your prospects about your offer.

For example, have you considered adding plastic postcards to your omnichannel campaign? Coupon offers on detachable reminder pop-out cards and those with scannable QR codes are great follow-up drivers to offline visitation to your business.


Tip #3: Get “Out of the Box” Creative

They say when it comes to food that you eat with your eyes first, and the same can be said for direct mail.  If you don’t quickly grab their attention they are dramatically less likely to get into the meat of you message.  Being creative is crucial to not only catching the eye, but helps to buy more time for your message and offer to begin sinking in.

Because direct mail is a static marketing channel it forces you to narrow your creativity to a few areas.  You can go with a vivid image, bold/contrasting color pallet or cleverly written headlines & messaging.  One other area that you can get creative in is the actual mail piece itself.

We recently introduced a new type of mailer, a plastic postcard with pop-outs.  Plastic postcards instantly grab attention in the hands of recipients even before they see it because they’re as thick as a credit card so they definitely standout compared to other mail pieces. The other interesting thing is that they can be sent with pop-outs for either business or loyalty size card, key fob shapes or even round medallions.  These catchy pop-outs allow for you to tie the visual elements of your design into the physical shapes of the mail piece.

Best part of this is the dramatic effect that plastic postcards have on the performance of direct mail campaigns:

Recent Plastic Postcard Statistics


Redepmtion Rate


Higher Average Check

Return on Investment

Are you planning a direct-to-consumer campaign to attract new leads and convert them? If so, give us a call at Propelo Media. We’d be happy to assist.

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Contact us for a free one-on-one consultation. Still, we figure you might want to check us out before you do business with us. As a customer-first business, we owe our success on a set of Core Values: 1) Partner, Not Just Vendor, 2) One-stop-shop, 3) Never Shortsighted, and 4) Delight Our Clients.
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