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Five Tips to Grab Attention with Your Direct Mail Campaign

Although digital technologies are new and popular, traditional printing and direct mailing is still an important component of successful marketing. Since online ads are only a visual medium, consumers respond well to materials that can be picked up and held. The sensorial impact of printed material gives your message a high quality sincerity that digital marketing often lacks.

Grabbing users attention with direct mail campaigns

The human brain is actually hardwired to pay special attention to items that can be touched, smelled, and felt. A recent Canada Post study took a hard look at the impact of direct mail campaigns. Here’s what it found:

  • 74% of Canadian consumers always or sometimes notice advertising in direct mail
  • 86% of Canadian consumers open mail that’s personally addressed to them
  • Integrated direct mail and digital campaigns garner 39% more attention from consumers than digital campaigns alone
  • The average consumer’s attention span is 8 seconds

For those looking to promote their business in a memorable way, physicality allows you to cut through the digital clutter and leave your audience with a tangible impression. Although it’s true that mailboxes are less cluttered these days, it can still be difficult to hold a recipient’s attention long enough to elicit a desirable response. Once you’ve determined your message and promotional offer, it’s time to design your direct mail campaign. Here are five tips to grab your recipient’s attention and win over new customers:

Tip #1: Be quick and concise

As mentioned earlier, the average consumer’s attention span is just 8 seconds. Even a goldfish has a longer attention span. This is why it’s crucial that your direct mail materials are bold, engaging, and eye-catching.

Many people tend to open their mail in the evenings after returning from work. For many households, this is a hectic time. The children have had a full day at school and are eager to eat dinner. Parents may be preparing the family meal while helping their kids with homework. It will already be difficult for your reader to focus on mail that pertains to bills and other financial statements. Imagine how disengaged the recipient might become when they see a promotional mail piece that looks time-consuming or irrelevant to them.

To avoid this error, make sure your message is as quick and concise as possible. Long, wordy sentences won’t work here. Your headline should be in a large, easy-to-read font that can be quickly internalized by the reader. Whether you’re designing a brochure or flyer, state your message clearly and get to the point. No need for complex backstories and fancy phrases. Sometimes all you need to do is let the recipient know what you’re offering and how to get in touch.

Tip #2: Keep it simple

Building off the previous tip, keep your text and layout as simple as possible. A mailer with limited copy and images work best. Avoid using paragraphs to describe your services.  Recipients may feel that it’s a chore to read the whole thing. Use bullet points to break up concepts into short, digestible bites instead. Highlight your benefits by using a list format and keep the list as simple as possible. Also, avoid stuffing your design with too many graphics. Any use of graphics should add value to your message — not compete with it.

Tip #3: Use high-quality visuals

Consider hiring a graphic designer to create your visuals. Materials with 90s-looking graphics typically won’t do well with today’s audience. Recipients, especially the younger demographic, are accustomed to sleek visuals in rich colours. Although hiring a professional designer may seem like a costly investment, it will pay off when customers take notice. Make effective use of graphics by drawing the recipient’s attention to key text and messages.

Tip #4: Find ways to be unique

We’ve all seen too many tri-fold brochures in our day. Why not get creative and shape your mailer in a more unique manner? Here are some features to make your materials stand out from the rest.

  • Folds: Draw attention to your mailer with special folds. One of our favourites is the endless fold. These are interactive folds that keep going and going. They are interesting to look at and will keep your recipients interested for longer than 8 seconds at a time.
  • Scratch-n-Sniff: Most direct marketing materials lack scent. Smells can evoke certain emotions and memories, so make use of this powerful trigger with scratch-n-sniff features. If you own a flower shop or sell high-end beauty products, this tactic may work well for you. It is important to note that paper and ink by themselves are also scents that can contribute to high sensory value.
  • Die-Cuts: Use special die-cuts to better illustrate the services you provide. If you’re a landscaper, maybe shape your direct mailer like a flower. Or if you provide custom window coverings, consider a die-cut in the shape of blinds. This is a fun feature for recipients and will help them remember your materials for a long time.

Tip #5: Attach tangible giveaways

Let’s face it, people love freebies. Flyers and newsletters are often considered junk mail — until you realize there are tangible incentives attached. Whether it’s a free sample of your product or a gift voucher to your restaurant, most recipients will be thrilled to receive something of value. Be sure your incentives are not advertised as ‘coupons,’ as many consumers have coupon fatigue. Instead, label your giveaways as a ‘complimentary gift’ or ‘free product sample’ instead. By carefully positioning your freebies as tokens of appreciation, your recipients will feel special. This will encourage them to build a relationship with your business.

By following these tips, you’re well on your way to creating a unique direct mail program that will turn heads. It’s time for businesses to stop looking at direct mail campaigns as old-fashioned. Instead, they should be viewed as a tried-and-true way to enhance your brand, in tandem with digital marketing tactics. When done correctly, direct mailing projects can help your business net substantial returns.

For more information on commercial printing and direct mail fulfillment, please call Troi Mailing Services at 1-866-486-0423 or contact us here.

About: Seamus Barton
Seamus Barton - Author
Seamus Barton joined Troi Mailing Services in 2014 after graduating from York University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Writing. As a manager of print and direct mail solutions, he sees how words play an important role in personalizing any experience. Seamus’ passion for writing motivates him to provide frequent direct marketing content that supports each Client’s individual needs. Please chat with Seamus about commercial printing and direct mailing campaigns, or about how to marry digital and physical strategies for optimal Smartmail Marketing success.

You can connect with Seamus on LinkedIn or by calling Troi Mailing Services at 1-866-486-0423 or via email at Read his latest article featured in Direct Marketing Magazine on “Dimensional Mail: Marketing’s Buffet Lobster

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