How To Create a Direct Mail Marketing Campaign
This content is adapted from Canada Post's Essential Guide to Direct Mail.
Our homes are central to our lives—they're where we spend most of our time and where we make life's big decisions. For many Canadians, the mailbox remains a ritual and a vital connection to the world. In fact, Canada Post studies show that more than 70% of Canadians pick up their mail at least three times a week. That makes direct mail the ideal channel for businesses to reach customers where they are.
Like any marketing tactic, it's important to understand the formula for success. What does it take to run an effective direct mail campaign that captures attention and incites action in your customers and prospects? Let's walk through the six steps to creating a successful direct mail campaign.
For a more in-depth process, download our 6 Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketing >
1) Strategy and Planning
The first step to a successful direct mail campaign is nailing down your campaign strategy. Planning ahead will simplify and speed up your decision-making process and will also help guide your creative and print partners (that’s us!) in recommending the best possible solutions.
While developing your direct mail strategy, use this checklist:
- What is your main objective?
- What do you want your audience to do?
- What is your offer/message?
- Will your campaign be integrated?
- What is your budget?
- What data do you have?
2) Targeting and Analytics
If you’re just starting out with direct mail and don’t have an existing database (or yours is in its early stages), you may turn to external sources for your targeting. In this case, you’ll use what you’ve learned researching your target audience to develop a list. Working with our team, we’ll apply those insights to generate your list using a Canada Post list rental.
Canada Post's advanced data allows you to target customers based on hundreds of attributes, including some of these examples:
- Geography and address attributes (region, type of dwelling)
- Demographics (family size, occupation)
- Interests and behaviours (hobbies, pet ownership)
- Lifestyle (outdoor adventurists, vacation homeowners)
- Life stage (families with young kids, retirees)
In this step, you'll also work with our direct mail experts to determine what type of mailing best suits your campaign. For more information on the three types of mailing—Neighbourhood Mail, Postal Code Targeting and Personalized Mail—click here.
3) Creative Design
A perfectly timed, well-written piece that has a clear and relevant message with a compelling call to action is the key to a successful direct mail campaign. If you’re designing your own direct mail piece, we recommend following the 40/40/20 rule—40% audience, 40% offering and 20% creative execution.
- Audience — Consider who you're mailing to and what information you need to reach them
- Offering — Think of your customers asking, "What's in it for me?"
- Creative — How can you use design and formatting to make your piece stand out from the rest?
You'll also need to take into consideration Canada Post's size and weight requirements for each type of mail. For more details, download the 6 Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketing eBook.
Need help with designing your direct mail piece? WCD Creative, our in-house design agency, specializes in designing award-winning integrated direct mail campaigns that get results. Learn more about WCD Creative >
Before WCD can print your direct mail piece, there are a few critical steps we’ll guide you through to ensure your mailers get where they’re going and capture attention when they get there.
First, we'll need to validate your data to ensure you're not mailing duplicates and that all of the addresses on your list are formatted to adhere to Canada Post's requirements. Second, we'll work with you to select the right paper thickness, colour and finishes that will capture the attention of your audience.
5) Mail Preparation and Delivery
With millions of pieces going through the mail stream daily, it’s important to prepare direct mailers properly to avoid issues or delays. Our team will manage mail preparation for you, but having a basic understanding of the process will help expedite things and ensure your campaign gets out the door smoothly.
In this stage, you'll need to:
- Create a Canada Post Business Account — We always recommend our customers sign up for a free account to gain instant access to tools and savings on postage.
- Create a Statement of Mailing (SOM) — Before Canada Post can accept your direct mailers, you'll need to have a SOM with detailed information on the size, weight and quantity of your mailers, distribution routes and more.
As Canada Post Smartmail Marketing™ Expert Partners, we'll work closely with you to manage the mail preparation process. Once printing and mail preparation are complete, it's time for delivery! Our team will organize your mailers and deliver them to Canada Post.
6) Measurement and Insight
Today’s direct mail campaigns are driven by data. With customer journeys constantly changing, it’s important to keep measuring your campaigns to determine what works best.
How can you test and measure the success of your direct mail campaigns? Make sure that any point of contact included in your direct mail piece is unique and trackable. Using coupon codes, landing pages, QR codes and other identifiable trackers are great ways to attribute success to your direct mail campaigns. For a more detailed list of attribution methods, download our 6 Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketing eBook.
Download the eBook on Direct Mail
Eager to learn more about direct mail marketing? Download our free eBook, the 6 Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketingto gain additional insights into:
- The three types of direct mail targeting
- Tips for designing your direct mailer
- Specifications on size and weight requirements from Canada Post
- Tracking and attribution methods that can help you measure ROI on your direct mail campaigns