You have probably heard before that “print is dead”. However, the data proves otherwise. Not only are people almost 4x more likely to open direct mail versus email (Epsilon), the direct mail response rate has actually increased since 2010 (DMA). This means that when done strategically, direct mail is a great way to increase revenue for your small business.

I like that you specifically mentioned art design and quality control. I get it, mail marketing design is hard sometimes, but nothing is going to make me less interested in your product than sloppy design. I won’t name names, but I get catalogs sent to my house by a major music retailer and those things are a NIGHTMARE to read. Product layouts that change from page to page, inconsistent use of pictures, it was just rough. I get not everyone has that Restoration Hardware/IKEA budget for catalogs (especially in an industry that doesn’t rely on them as much anymore, so maybe it’s not the fairest comparison) but a little more time and care will make me much more interested in whatever this year’s new Fender is.


By focusing on market research, the psychology of attraction, creativity and ingenuity, students learn the best ways of implementing a direct mail campaign. A marketing education informs a future marketer about what motivates people to purchase, donate, or vote; and gives them the practical and creative skills to produce media to achieve the desired results. (See also Consumer Psychology)

Have a clear purpose for the blast. Email blasting customers or partners is not an arbitrary task. Each blast should have a concise purpose before you begin to draft it. Determine what you're trying to deliver and how you want the recipients to react to the email. The blast's purpose could be enticing customers to purchase something, updating employees on a new project or initiative, or a newsletter to recap the month's events. Once you determine the purpose of the blast, you can work on making the message more clear to your recipients.[1]
As email marketing has blossomed and matured over the years, the terms email blast and e-blast have declined in popularity due to their negative connotations, being replaced with more palatable terms like newsletter or email campaign. And along with the new names have come innovations that allow marketers to create email blasts that are more personalized, better segmented, and thankfully less aggressive. We’ll talk about those innovations a little later.
Thanks for the post, Neil! I have been trying to find good resources for brainstorming what kind of offers our content marketing should have. For some reason, my creativity is completely dried up in this arena. The question “What does your target audience want?” for some reason doesn’t get at the root of the problem for me. Do you have any resources you would recommend for brainstorming that “Tantalizing” content?
As mentioned before, the type of email campaign you send depends entirely on your goals with email. If you’re looking to drive direct sales then sending marketing offer and announcement campaigns are going to return the best results, however if you are simply looking to keep your existing customers up-to-date on the latest projects, products or developments at your company, then sending a regular newsletter is going to be the best way to achieve that.
There are organizations called blacklists like Spamhaus as well as other filtering organizations like Cloudmark and Brightmail. Email clients like Yahoo and Gmail and Hotmail rely on them to help block spam (yay!). These blacklists leave spam traps or honeypots for shady list sellers to collect. Then, if one of those email addresses ends up in your purchased list, you're in big trouble! It's like having bad credit - it can take a long time and a lot of hard work to rebuild trust with blacklists and until you do, you'll have poor delivery results even if you've stopped using the purchased email list.

This ties into the second 40 of the 40/40/20 rule – now you’re probably beginning to see why that was listed up front and why it’s universally considered the gold standard when it comes to direct mail marketing guidelines. With other forms of advertisements or marketing, it is perfectly acceptable to only go after impressions – a billboard in a highly-trafficked area or a TV spot that is more of a teaser in nature can sometimes go a long way toward educating the public of your existence, which is the first step in getting them to engage. With direct mailings however, you might as well be printing cash to send out to people if you don’t have a compelling call to action to give people.
Adding visual elements to the email newsletter will help the reader to connect with the message and it can also help to illustrate the point even further. Using images and graphics to compliment the text can make it more digestible for the reader and it can be a great way to drive the message home. Additionally, you can use imagery as an opportunity for branding within the email blast. 

If you’re serious about growing your business, building a healthy email list should be one of your top priorities. When it comes down to it, your list is one of the only online assets that you have 100% control over. Having a solid social media presence is absolutely essential (here’s why), but you’ll always be at the mercy of new and changing algorithms (think Facebook’s Edgerank). And achieving high search engine rankings is great too, but again, you’re at the mercy of changing algorithms and updates.

I think this email also makes quite a brilliant use of responsive design. The colors are bright, and it's not too hard to scroll and click -- notice the CTAs are large enough for me to hit with my thumbs. Also, the mobile email actually has features that make sense for recipients who are on their mobile device. Check out the CTA at the bottom of the email, for example: The "Open Stitcher Radio" button prompts the app to open on your phone.
Most newly-minted marketers entering the workforce spent their college focus learning digital marketing – social media, mobile marketing, search engine marketing and possibly email. If you’re one of them, and are looking for ways to improve your overall marketing results, think about using direct mail. With everyone getting bombarded by digital campaigns, a well-done mailpiece can really stand out.
×