Direct Mail

What Does Direct Mail Mean?

personalised direct mail small

Direct mail marketing is a marketing method, which involves sending promotional items and information direct to physical mailboxes and addresses. Examples of different types of direct mail that can be used by businesses, organisations or brands include flyers, catalogues, brochures, leaflets and postcards. 

Direct mail definition

According to the Collins English Dictionary, the definition of direct mail is, “A method of marketing which involves companies sending advertising material directly to people who they think may be interested in their products.”

The history of direct mail

The history of direct mail marketing can be traced back centuries, with early examples dating back to Ancient Egypt. More recently, direct mail marketing took off during the introduction and proliferation of the printing press in the 1400s. As technology has advanced, direct mail has evolved but the key concept remains the same. Brands, companies and organisations can use the postal service to connect with customers, increase sales and raise brand awareness. 

Today, companies not only have access to incredible software and programmes that facilitate the simple, fast production of beautiful, professional-looking brochures, flyers and postcards, but they can also collect and analyse data to improve the quality of leads and reach out to customers who have a genuine interest in the products or services they are selling. 


In the digital age, it’s natural to assume that businesses are going all-out to impress online with SEO, social media marketing and PPC. While digital marketing can be extremely effective, direct mail remains a very popular and effective marketing technique. Research suggests that direct mail campaigns have a higher ROI (return on investment) than paid search and online display adverts and a response rate 5.3% higher than email.

The most popular uses for direct mail include:

  • Product catalogues
  • Printed coupons and vouchers
  • Promotional flyers for flash sales, launch events and new business openings
  • Charity fundraising letters, information and updates 
  • Financial guides and approved credit card applications
  • Local business guides with classified adverts

Benefits of using direct mail

Direct mail can be effective because it provides an interactive experience, it’s often more memorable and engaging than email and it’s accessible to a wide range of people. It is particularly beneficial to consider using direct mail if your target audience doesn’t tend to spend a lot of time online or in front of the TV. 

Another key advantage of direct mail is the freedom to be creative. You can use all kinds of different types of materials and combine innovative ideas with original designs to promote everything from deals and discounts to new products and charity campaigns. 

Tips for brilliant direct mail campaigns

If you’re looking to make a splash with a direct mail marketing campaign, here are some top tips:

  • Define your audience and create an ideal buyer persona
  • Run tests and analyse results
  • Make sure all your materials include a clear CTA (call to action)
  • Use direct mail to encourage interaction across channels, for example, visiting your website and following you on social media
  • Check all mail for spelling and grammatical mistakes before printing and sending


Direct mail is a marketing method, which involves sending printed materials, such as brochures, leaflets and flyers direct to people’s letterboxes. An effective direct mail marketing campaign can help you attract new customers and boost sales.