Introduction to Direct Mail
What is Direct Mail?Direct mail, in its simplest form, is a strategy of sending a "form letter" – often with accompanying information – to hundreds or thousands of people via the mail.
Direct mail is the written communication that you receive from groups, organisations, businesses or authorities that endeavours to get you to join a club, buy products or goods, vote in council elections (if done by post) or solicit for donations or funds.
The use of direct mail as a fundraiser dates back some decades. It was first used in the US in the 1964 presidential campaign – where Republican candidate Barry Goldwater harnessed "mass mail solicitations" to raise campaign funds.
As a method of fundraising and communication it continues to grow in popularity, and has been further enhanced by the use of databases, lists and other tools which can help groups better target the recipients of their direct mail-out.
What the 'Stats' SayFor community groups, organisations, charities and not-for-profits, direct mail remains a favoured tool both here and overseas:
(More statistics and research on direct mail are available in the Research section of the Marketing, Media and Post Centre.
Reasons Direct Mail is Used as an Advertising Medium
You have more time to persuade, convince and engage those receiving your mail-out. You can ask them a direct question, and encourage a direct response.
Physically, because you often actually supply the means of response - which can include coupons, reply cards, application forms or telephone numbers.
But also in terms of a response, because you are conveying your message to people at a time of their choosing, when they are more receptive to those messages.
Targeting, profiling and segmentation all help maximise return on time and money spent, as well as minimise wastage.
And there are other savings to be made: a printed response-form, for example, gathers exactly the information you need, at a fraction of the cost of a phone call.
Mail is a continuous learning process: the data collection and analysis on mail campaigns can deepen your understanding of your direct mail-out audience.
What you learn can provide return-on-investment information that will help refine your next campaign. Each mailing can be more effective and more precisely targeted than the last.
What's In This Section?The Mail Marketing section of the Media, Marketing and Post Centre is divided into four parts:
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