4 Ways to Use Winning Content to Produce Effective Direct Mail Marketing


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Content marketing sells.

In fact, it sells so well that most brands rely on a proprietary combination of traditional “salesy” advertising and more creative, education-focused pieces. How many times do you receive an offer to download a whitepaper, read an intriguing article, or watch an exclusive behind-the-scenes video, for instance?

These fall under the umbrella of content marketing, and they’re useful. But they also beg this question: Does successful content have to be virtual? In a perpetually busy digital world where everyone’s inbox is chock-full by 8:02 a.m., the answer is definitely “no.”

Ideally, positioning and delivering relevant content should exist across numerous channels, both online and in the tangible world. A company that relies only on internet-based marketing solutions is missing the power of offline strategies (think direct mail postcards, billboards, clever flyers in product shipments, and even greeting cards). In fact, the more society becomes devoted to screen time, the more primed your audiences are to see something unique — and tangible.

That’s where mail comes into the picture as an effective, profit-producing delivery system. To be sure, sending 100,000 direct mail advertisements doesn’t have the immediacy of blasting 100,000 emails. However, call-to-action conversions tend to be higher for direct mail marketing. Plus, consumers appreciate getting a handwritten note in the mail more than receiving the same sentiment via text. After all, mass digital messages are often missing a human element.

As USPS statistics show, receiving a letter or card means more to 58% of people than getting an email, especially in uncertain, worry-infused times. In other words, as long as your offline content is valuable to the recipients, it’s a terrific way to communicate, inspire, educate, forge awareness, and grow sales.

Improving Return on Ad Spend With Integrated Digital and Direct Mail

Of course, you can’t (and shouldn’t) just ditch your digital marketing. You simply need to develop a content strategy that flows seamlessly from digital to print and vice versa. When you strike a perfect rhythm, you’ll see a noticeable boost in your returns.

So what should you send to prospects? Ideally, your offline marketing content should mimic the overall aesthetic of your brand. But it also needs to be insightful, interesting and targeted to really add to the customer experience. That’s where following a few techniques for developing engaging direct mail advertising comes into play. Here are a few great ways to start:

1. Look toward top-performing digital content for ideas. To create mailer content, look first to your high-return digital collateral. Which webpages, case studies, infographics, and blog posts continuously generate interest, sales, or new customers? Are there any elements on your website that appeal to viewers as shown by heat mapping software? The content on those digital pages obviously has merit, so feel free to repurpose it in your offline messaging. Just make sure any content you upcycle has relevance for your audience and translates well into the printed piece you’re sending.

2. Draft up a suitable CTA for mailed items. Of course, the CTAs you use for online content (think swiping or clicking) aren’t suitable for direct mail recipients. Instead, you’ll want to pick a CTA that’s intuitive for offline. This might mean asking the recipient to schedule an appointment, use a coupon, request a quote, or fill out a survey. Spend time brainstorming CTAs that not only make logical sense for the medium but also help your team achieve its goals. And don’t forget that it’s fine to have your audience jump online to a special landing page to add a digital — and trackable — element to their experience.

3. Engage recipients with QR codes and microsites. Engaging elements are a winning solution for any type of content marketing. So if you want to surprise your print mail recipients, embed a QR code in whatever they receive. QR codes are gaining prominence with shoppers who are spending more time at home (and are therefore more open to receiving interactive content marketing). When consumers scan a QR code, they should have a mobile experience that seems to be constructed just for their individual tastes (e.g., a recommended list of articles or videos).

4. Spark further interaction with scratch-off mailers. Scratch-off mailers might be the ideal solution for your direct mail marketing campaigns because they truly entice consumers to engage with your pieces. You can place anything you want under the scratch-off surface, such as a link or special discount generated via variable data printing. In fact, you might be incredibly surprised at the results this kind of gamification can bring you!

The digital sphere’s role in our lives continues to evolve, but it hasn’t eclipsed our openness to tangible content marketing. In fact, some organizations have seen a 50% higher return on advertising spend simply by turning to offline channels.

Rhonda Basler
With more than two decades of marketing and operations experience, Rhonda Basler is currently the Head of Operations & Agent Experience for Compass in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Nashville. Throughout her career, Rhonda has held the customer in the highest esteem and intimately understands the relationship between employee satisfaction and customer experience. Rhonda's career has spanned both B2B and B2C companies including Dot Foods, H & R Block, Hallmark, and Compass Realty Group.


  1. Rhonda,

    The idea of tying content marketing concepts with offline channels like direct mail is a really strong one. We’re seeing many of our clients use data driven, previously online only marketing techniques deployed in their direct mail campaigns with great success. You get the benefit of analyzing data from your digital marketing efforts and putting them to work in channels where they aren’t typically deployed, AND you’re creating consistent brand positioning across channels for your audience. Great piece!
    Dennis Kelly

  2. Thank you, Dennis! I love making our content creation go as far as possible. Especially when we find that it is resonating.


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