All ADMS lists are guaranteed to be of the highest quality in the industry. Lists are updated quarterly, NCOA'd twice a year and certified to be 93% accurate.      

American Direct Marketing Services Blog

Effective Direct Mail Marketing

by Scott Casson | Aug 09, 2012

Direct mail is still one of the most effective and targeted direct marketing tools for B to B (business to business) and B to C (business to consumer) efforts. Delivering tangible marketing materials and not just digital content, directly into the hands of potential customers is an excellent way to influence a buying decision and increase the prospect of a sale.

There are a number of processes to consider in any direct mail campaign strategy. You have only one chance to create a first impression, so the quality of your material and how it’s presented will certainly dictate the impact of that first impression. Let’s start there...with the design.


The design process is of paramount importance in both promoting your corporate identity, and delivering your marketing message. Well designed artwork which complements a concisely delivered message, will help to give a professional appearance to your package.

In designing and writing the copy for your material, you always have to take into account, your target market. Business to business literature is likely to undergo more intense scrutiny than campaigns created for individual consumers.

Appropriate copy (length, content, offer, proposition, etc.) and relevant graphics for the job at hand will go a long way to ensure that your key points and main marketing messages stand out.  Professional direct mail copy writers and graphic artists are worth their weight in gold...sometimes costly, but in my experience, worth every penny.


The print process is of course dictated by the format of your marketing material. Multipage mega-logs, one-page leaflets, post cards, folded brochures...whatever the package you choose to use...there are so many variables to consider that I can’t really cover them adequately here other than to suggest that your best course of action is to engage a direct mail print specialist.  Notice, I didn’t just say a printer, I said a direct mail print specialist.

Mailing Services

You are probably aware that commercial discounts are available for bulk mailing. But they are also available for larger first class mailings as well.  The discounts are achieved through quantity of records to be delivered at the zip code level and thru proper sorting. A mailing services company (letter shop) will run your list(s) through dedicated software, address your material and pre-sort it to ensure that you achieve maximum discounts; then sort, tie, bag and deliver the mail to the appropriate bulk mail center.

The List

The primary effectiveness of a direct mail campaign, in my opinion...up to 50% of the success, depends on the quality, accuracy and relevance of your marketing list or lists.  Established businesses may well have assembled a customer database or prospect file over a period of time. However, the vast majority of direct mail material is distributed to rented lists from third party list owners.

This is why it is critical to enlist the services of an experienced mailing list specialist...there is no substitute for the knowledge of which list(s) have worked for similar or previous campaigns and almost as important, which lists to avoid.

Many a smart description and detailed demographics make some lists sound like the perfect target audience for your message... and they may very well work just fine; but at the cost per piece mailed...can you afford to take that risk?

Putting it all Together

Many direct mail campaigns will also be heavily influenced by the mailing date. As the direct mail process is primarily a three stage process (design/copy; print; list and mailing), it can slip at any stage and begin to run behind schedule.  For important and time-critical campaigns it may well be of benefit to engage a direct marketing agency that has been through the process many times over.

My experience has been that most agencies add a 15% to 20% fee, but this could be cheap compared to a missed mail date or a botched print run.

In Summary

Direct mail is still one of the most effective marketing tools available. Not only is your message tangible, it may well have more sticking power than that of a potential customer landing on your website as a result of an organic search that has thrown up pages of potential competing services. In my opinion, this is one of many reasons why companies continue to embrace direct mail as part of a holistic marketing strategy.

      All ADMS lists are guaranteed to be of the highest quality in the industry. Lists are updated quarterly, NCOA'd twice a year and certified to be 93% accurate.