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Andrea Schlottman | Marketing

A Simple Direct Mail Marketing Checklist

Direct mail remains one of the most powerful marketing tools for businesses of all sizes. From local auto garages and home contractors to brick-and-mortar retail shops and international brands, there’s no company that can’t benefit from direct mail.

What’s the proof, you ask? Well, according to a USPS study on direct mail:

  • 56% of recipients say that getting their mail is a “real pleasure.”
  • 77% of recipients sort through mail immediately, and it’s usually done by the person most in charge of the household.
  • Recipients spend 25 minutes on average looking through their direct mail.

That means that with the right postcard, you really do get it all: an emotional connection, a direct line to the household decision maker, and precious minutes of brand awareness.

Now use the simple checklist below to create the best direct mail marketing campaign for you!

1. What’s your direct mail marketing strategy?

Like any other marketing effort, direct mail works best when it’s well thought out. Before you spend time and money to send out your direct mail postcard campaign, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s my objective? Is it more direct-response sales, more social media followers, more referrals, or just general goodwill and brand awareness? Being clear about goals will help you track the results.
  • What’s my budget? Direct mail is one of the most affordable marketing tactics, especially for postcards, which are already so affordable to print. For an excellent idea of what you might spend on this type of campaign, use our easy direct mail calculator.
  • What about timing? Consider what time of year might be best for your campaign. Can you tie your direct mail into a holiday or otherwise make your offer more timely and compelling? 

2. Who will you mail the postcards to?

With your general strategy mapped out, there are two easy options for mailing your postcards:

  1. Send it to a curated list of addresses: This works best if you have your own mailing list (or have purchased one) and would like to target only those people. We call this one “Direct Blast.”
  2. Use USPS Every Door Direct Mail® (EDDM®): If you don’t have a mailing list or would like to expand beyond your own list, EDDM will put your postcard in the mailboxes of everyone who lives in a certain area. We call this one “Area Blast.”

In case it wasn’t obvious, you can do both with our mailing service!

SnailBlast is a new direct mail system powered by MyCreativeShop. SnailBlast has thousands of templates and the same easy online editor—only now with integrated direct mail services. After designing, you can upload your own mailing list (Direct Blast) or use our interactive map to target your preferred addresses (Area Blast). 

If you’re going for an Area Blast, you can choose zip code(s), select specific streets, and choose whether or not to include business addresses. As you build your audience in SnailBlast, you’ll get helpful information like an updated campaign price and key demographics for the households currently targeted.

3. How will you design your postcard?

Direct mail marketing works best when it’s attractive, easy to understand at a glance, and well branded. Sounds like a lot, but don’t worry—with us, you can create a custom direct mail postcard that checks all the boxes. Start with a postcard template and then make your customizations in your internet browser. Piece of cake!

With a template like this one, for example, you can quickly fill in the most important content and design details.

Customize this EDDM postcard template and then mail it out in an Area Blast or Direct Blast.

What are those “most important” details? Here’s what we recommend as the must-haves when designing an effective postcard:

  • Offer: The very best postcards will make an attractive offer that compels recipients to act. The simpler your offer is, the more likely it is that someone will take you up on it.
  • Headline: Use your headline to boldly proclaim your offer, to speak to a customer pain point, or to make a memorable connection (like a clever joke).
  • Call to action: Make it clear and easy for someone to claim your offer. Instruct them exactly what to do: call, send an email, visit a certain website page, scan a QR code to learn more, bring the postcard in person, etc.
  • Photos: Beautiful photos make a postcard more visually engaging and make it more likely that someone takes the time to read the text.
  • Branding: Make sure your postcard is unmistakably yours by uploading your logo and using your brand colors.

4. Do you have USPS-approved direct mailing guides?

Getting all of the above information onto your postcard is certainly important, but even more critical is making sure your postcard meets USPS guidelines for direct mail. If it doesn’t, then your postcard campaign will be dead on arrival!

If you design with us, we have helpful mailing guides directly integrated with our postcard templates. This allows you to design around the correct guides without worrying about how your postcard will look when it’s printed. You’ll avoid the all-too-common mistake of critical information getting accidentally covered up by USPS address data.

Take a look at the top of the EDDM postcard template below for an example of what these guides look like. See those three small white boxes?

Even better: by designing with us, your postcard will also go through a pre-print design checklist (shown below!) to give you final assurance that your design is USPS-compliant.

This checklist provides peace of mind that your postcard is USPS-ready.

5. How will you print and mail your postcard?

There are many ways to print and mail a postcard, but the easiest way is to design with a program that offers integrated mailing services. That’ll save you the hassle of printing in one place and then manually carting postcards to the post office to figure out the rest.

Regardless of whether you have your own address list or would like to take advantage of USPS EDDM services, you can print and mail seamlessly with MyCreativeShop and SnailBlast. After you’ve chosen a template, customized it, and uploaded or built your audience, you can proceed to print and mail with just a few clicks. 

As shown below, you can even select your target delivery date, allowing you to schedule the printing and mailing of your direct mail marketing campaigns in advance.

USPS does not guarantee its delivery dates, but 99% of SnailBlast customers get deliveries within 3 days of the chosen date.
Ready to put this checklist into action? Learn more about how SnailBlast works to build a hassle-free direct mail marketing campaign