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Direct Mail Best Practices
Jun 02, 2023

Direct Mail Best Practices

Is your mail piece getting noticed in the mailbox or ending up in the recycling bin? To get the most out of your direct mail campaigns, you need to understand and use best practices. By using direct mail best practices, you can capture the recipient's attention and influence them to respond.

When creating a mail piece, you need to apply specific elements and design standards to achieve peak performance. Let's explore the elements to include in your mail piece that adhere to direct mail best practices and why your business needs to follow them.

Key Elements of Direct Mail

Once you establish the direct mail campaign's target audience, objectives, and goals, it's time to create the mail piece itself. Following these best practices will have you seeing a lift in response.

Attention-Grabbing Headline

An attention-grabbing headline will be the first thing that the recipient reads. If the headline is captivating, the recipient will read on and engage with the mail piece. Personalizing the headline by adding the recipient’s first name will draw them in. Consumers are more likely to engage with mail that contains their information. In fact, adding a name to your direct mail can increase response rates by 135%. You can also use numbers, powerful statements, or emotional words to write an appealing headline. Adding numbers to a headline helps to process the information faster. Powerful statements and emotional words can get a reaction from the recipient. 

Actionable CTAs

Once you've hooked your target recipient with an attention-grabbing headline, a call-to-action (CTA) will direct them to act. This action could be visiting a website or calling a phone number. When writing an actionable CTA, it should be straightforward. The goal is to create a sense of urgency to encourage the recipient to take a defined next step.


The strategic layout of the content will help guide the recipient through the mail piece. The flow of the content should be easy to navigate. The recipient will know where to start and where to look next. Another tip to remember is maintaining a healthy balance of text, CTAs, and imagery. If there is too much content, the reader can become overwhelmed and stop reading your mail.

Eye-Catching Imagery and Color

For your design to stand out, use imagery and color to your advantage. The right image can support your message, tell a story, and help the recipient visualize themselves using your product or service. Color can also enhance your message and evoke certain feelings. For example, red is often associated with urgency, and blue can be connected to trust and dependability.

Personalized Messaging 

A major advantage of direct mail is the ability to tailor your message to specific audiences. You can create messaging based on your target audience demographics or purchasing behaviors. Personalized content resonates with the recipient, increasing the likelihood of a positive response. In fact, 84% of consumers feel that personalization makes them more likely to open direct mail.

Integrate with Digital Channels

When you integrate direct mail with digital marketing channels, you can see better results. Coordinating your direct mail with digital marketing can increase response rates by 63%. You can pair direct mail with digital strategies like email marketing, social media, or streaming TV and audio ads. Integrating your campaign across channels creates several touchpoints. This can help to reinforce your message with the target audience.

Run A/B Test

A/B tests allow you to test different elements of your direct mail campaign. You can test to see which headline, offer, or format produces the best response results. When running an A/B test, you need to remember only to test one element at a time. For example, test two different headlines while keeping all other elements the same. This can help to determine which headline resonates best. Once you analyze the results, you can identify top-performing elements and refine your next campaign.

Send Captivating Direct Mail with Darwill's Guidance

Using direct mail best practices enables your business to capture the audience's attention. This leads to increased engagement and response. If you need help building a direct mail campaign or improving upon an existing one, Darwill is here to help! Our expert marketing team will review your campaign goals and provide feedback that will improve your results. Lift response with Darwill today.