Make Your Direct Mail Stand Out From the Crowd

Marketing messages come fast and furious these days, especially with the excess of channels available to convey them. So how do you stand out? If direct mail is part of your mix, the days of sending the same basic letter or postcard to everybody are long gone.

Direct mail has undergone a metamorphosis, paving the way for positive change and innovation. A lot of the reason has to do with advancements that give today’s direct mail marketer options they never had before. These options translate into opportunities to connect with potential or current customers in a way that was not possible previously.


If your direct mail response rate does not meet your expectations, the following are some great ways to liven it up:


One thing that really sets one direct mailpiece apart from another is personalization. This goes beyond a name and address for today's sophisticated direct mail marketer. Now, using variable data printing (VDP) technology, you can target and engage a recipient with an offer, image, gift card and even envelope that is totally customized and appropriate to their unique needs. The key is to make your direct mailpiece as relevant as possible, leveraging data to facilitate one-to-one marketing that really engages with a recipient. Not only does this create a better rapport and higher open rates, it also helps significantly with segmentation, which reduces cost.

Quick Response (QR) Codes and PURLs

Creating personalized QR codes or URLs (PURLs) involves developing landing pages with content unique to each person, which can be connected to directly from mobile devices and desktop landing pages imprinted on a mailer. These landing pages can be revised as needed, which drives people back to seek out new content. You can even offer the recipient the flexibility to choose which method they prefer.

Sensory Direct Mailers

Appealing to the senses is another compelling way to stimulate a recipient’s interest in your offering via a direct mailer. And by using sense of smell, your prospects and customers can sample your product’s fragrance. You can add flavor strips to allow them to taste your products. By using raised print of an image or section of text or paper with different textures or other materials, you can also engage their sense of touch.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Imagine creating a direct mailpiece that comes to life, can be manipulated by your prospects and customers and is an engaging user experience. Thanks to AR, this is now possible. For example, you can scan an image onto a postcard and link that to a video or 3D graphics. The materials you choose to link to are completely interchangeable, which makes it relevant for far longer than a traditional direct mailpiece.

Video and Audio Mailers

A video or audio mailer adds the component of sight and sound to a standard format. The video and/or audio plays once the mailer is opened or by the simple push of a button. This is a new form of direct mail, and it can be costly.

Dimensional Mail

According to the Direct Marketing Association, dimensional mail consists of mail that’s more than .75 inches thick. It can be a tube, box or 3D mailer. The idea here is to peak someone’s curiosity, so they open the mailer. This can be an extremely creative way to stand out. However, when using directional mail, you need to make sure what you are mailing meets USPS® guidelines. In addition to this method being costly at times, you also need to take into consideration that it has significant quantity limitations due to mass production constraints, which means your mailing list should be highly targeted.

Endless Folds

Another interesting way to grab a recipient’s attention, while simultaneously initiating participation, is by using multiple origami-like folds. Not only can this be engaging, it also has the ability to build curiosity about the product.


  • Today’s marketer has more options to help a direct mailpiece stand out from the crowd.
  • Direct mail has undergone a revitalization that has opened the floodgates to engage with prospects and customers on a whole new level.
  • Incorporating personalization, QR codes and PURLs, sensory capabilities, augmented reality, video/audio, a dimensional format or multiple folds are some of the many creative ways to spice up a direct mail campaign.
Published on July 6, 2017