5 tips to get the best response on your direct mail

Direct mail gets a bad rap, and we all know it. In an ever-evolving world of technology and marketing, there seem to be hundreds of more “glamorous” tools to connect customers with your brand, but businesses still integrate this old school method in their efforts.


Because direct mail is not dead.

According to a 2016 study by the Data and Marketing Association, the amount of direct mail sent out has decreased, but the engagement it drives has increased by 23 percent. Not only that, but according to the Direct Mail Association, 65 percent of consumers of all ages have bought something as a result of receiving a piece of direct mail. This doesn’t mean people love all direct mail, but they are reacting to better targeting and aesthetically pleasing pieces.

So the question is this: how can you make sure your business gets a slice of that 23 percent?

Here are five tips to keep in mind while forming your direct mail campaign:

  • Know your objective

As with literally any strategy, you have to know what your objective is, and it must be crystal clear. Think of the objective as a guiding light. Without it, you will wander around bumping into things and never really getting anywhere.

An objective is a focused goal. It could be to…

  • Increase sales among _____
  • Improve brand awareness among _____
  • Introduce new products or services
  • Grow market share

Once you know exactly what you are trying to accomplish, you will have a pointed focus. This will result in a piece of direct mail that is purposeful, clear, and cost effective.

Many times, are tempted to target a huge group of people due to a fear of alienating other potential consumers.

But the truth is that without a clear, targeted objective, you are wasting your money by sending out a piece of mail that won’t resonate with anyone.

  • Have a good list

Gone are the days of “send it to as many humans as possible – somebody will bite,” for two main reasons.

  1. They won’t just “bite”
  2. It’s too expensive

If the message and offering is a watered-down blip that will “appeal to everyone” and is then sent to everyone, you will probably appeal to no one.

Instead, use your customer demographic statistics and consumer preference research to whittle down the list of people who will find your offering worthwhile.

To gather the addresses of those who might show interest in your product or service, consider using a direct mail list vendor or broker who has been curating lists of consumers for decades.

If the targeted group you hope to find has not yet been targeted by a previous list, work on developing your own list from people who have bought your product or service before.

  • Have a clear call to action

You can create the most beautiful piece of mail to send to the doorsteps of the most finely groomed mailing list recipients, but if you offer no call to action, you’ve wasted your time.

So think about what it is exactly that you want your customer to do. Do you want them to follow you on social media? To sign up for an email list? To redeem a promotional offer? Figure out what you want their next step to be, and make it clear as day.

If you offer multiple actions, your customer could be confused and do nothing.

Some examples of great CTAs are:

  • “Discover your design style! Find decorating ideas, entertainment tips and help for you next project. Follow Us!”
  • “Like Free Prizes? Like us on Facebook!”
  • “Scan the code with your smartphone for a special coupon download”

    Know your competition

“Keep your friends close but your enemies closer” applies to the direct mail world as well. Take the time to study what your competitors are doing and if it’s working. Avoiding their mistakes and capitalizing on their successes means less wasted time and money for you.  

  • Look good

And here’s where we shine…

If you want people to like what you’ve got to offer, you have to look good. It’s a little vain and superficial, but that’s the deal. A cheesy looking direct mailer will most likely travel right from the mailbox into the recycle bin, but you can do your best to grab the recipient’s attention before this happens.

At Pel Hughes, we offer amazing digital and offset printing services, knowledge of how to manage a direct mail campaign, and so much more. If you don’t believe us, check out what we did for N’tinis and let us know what we can do to help your business today.

What is Every Door Direct Mail?

From e-blasts to event marketing, content to promotional, the available methods for spreading the word about your product or service seems…well, limitless.

And maybe a little overwhelming.

At Pel Hughes, we believe in the power of the tactile. In the irreplaceable impact of an item someone can hold in their hands. Something that says “hey, this is who we are.”

That’s why we love USPS’s Every Door Direct Mail tool. If you haven’t heard of it, you’ll probably never want to live without it after today.

For a quick summary, check out this video: 

What is Every Door Direct Mail?

Every Door Direct Mail is a service that USPS offers to facilitate your targeted direct mail campaign. With the help of its mapping tool and demographic filters (drawn from census data – age range, average household size, income, etc.), you can select postal routes along which you want your direct mail delivered – no names or addresses required. You get those materials printed, drop them off at a USPS location, and they’ll do the rest.

The kicker?

Each mailpiece costs less to send than the price of a stamp.

You can send any of the following:

  • Postcards
  • Product samples
  • Flyers & self mailers
  • Brochures and booklets
  • Letters

Creating A Mailpiece

That’s where Pel Hughes comes in. While you have the option of creating your own piece, you can also recruit a business that lives and breathes printing beautiful, effective marketing materials.

No matter what you choose, the process is simple:

  1. Create a USPS account
  2. Select Your Routes using the mapping tool (we can help!)
  3. Create a Mailpiece (give us a call!)
  4. Call us to get it printed!
  5. Choose your drop off date
  6. Prepare mail bundles (this, too)
  7. Fill out processing forms
  8. Pay online or at the office
  9. Submit mailing to a post office for delivery

If this sounds like the missing piece in your marketing campaign, don’t hesitate to contact us to learn a little more. We’ll be glad to tell you how the team at Pel Hughes can help you navigate the rough waters of direct mail with a service we swear by.

Why Direct Mail is (Still) Important for B2B marketing

Our world has gone digital. We receive important notifications by email or text, banking and buying are done mostly online and many prefer talking to friends via social media instead of in-person. That doesn’t mean direct mail is any less effective in a digital age. All forms of print marketing maintain relevancy in our world today. Here is why your company should still implement B2B marketing via direct mail.

Marketing that stands out

Work emails are flooded with spam and inquiries, sent from a mix of legitimate and illegitimate sources. Sifting through them is something businesses often have to do but never want to. Sending direct mail to the right person means they are significantly more likely to receive and read it, as opposed to just hitting “delete” on an email. Sending direct mail with the person’s name on it straight to their mail slot means much more than a quick email blast, and will continue to hold its usefulness for years to come. Also as a bonus, your direct mail won’t get caught in a spam filter the way an email can.

Some marketing doesn’t reach the right people

Any smart marketing campaign begins with knowing exactly who you need to market to. Unfortunately, certain people can’t be reached via email. This could be a higher-up at a company whose email is unlisted or you could be sending an email to a person who already left the company. Sending direct mail can reach these potential clients in a way email never will. Even if the person who left the company never got the mail, their replacement will, and notice you as a provider of something they need.

Easy to track results

Marketing through social media or email makes for difficulty in tracking results due to fighting spam filters, ad blockers, returned emails and many other factors. It’s nearly impossible to tell who was truly engaged in your advertisement. Direct mail makes tracking conversions easy — just offer a special rate or code only through direct mail.

Direct mail continues to be money well spent on marketing. If you know your target demographic and send personalized mail, results will follow.



Three Creative Outdoor Marketing Campaign Examples

In an ultra-competitive business world, companies have to do all they can to get and maintain customers. One medium that is often overlooked is outdoor advertising, though this is a mistake given how many people companies can reach with a single billboard or sign that is properly placed and has a great message. Keep in mind that a picture or slogan that people see when just walking or driving down the street can stick in their minds when they hit the grocery store, or begin their online shopping. They might also talk to their friends about it, or share great outdoor marketing on social media. In the latter case, these brilliant campaigns have the potential to reach millions of people.  These examples provided by Business Insider give us a glimpse into effective outdoor messaging.

Tourism Ireland

Taking advantage of the huge popularity of “Game of Thrones”, Tourism Ireland placed signs pointing the way to several areas in the country where the show is filmed to encourage visitors to go there. The signs had a fantastic aged look, and some sported ominous black crows.


In order to promote their services, Uber placed an ad featuring a real breathalyzer in Toronto. If people who used the device blew over the legal limit, Uber offered them a free ride home. This is not only a brilliant way to get people to remember your brand, it’s a great public service.


People are fascinated by the very rare solar eclipse. Oreo place an ad at Piccadilly Circus showing the top half and bottom half of their cookie moving at the same pace as the earth and sun during one of these events.



Seven of the Best Ways to Use Video on Social Media

Social media marketing is constantly being revised to attract potential customers and clients to various websites and products. With these changes has come the use of video.

Individuals on social media like their information quick and accessible. There are dozens of ways to use a video, but only the best will get you the results you are looking for.

#1. Have the video on auto-play

Users of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are quick to scroll through content, and will often not hit the play button for your video. If you want to grab their attention, make sure your video is set to auto-play.

#2. Share breaking news stories

Whether you are selling comic books or hardware, there is always a story that can be classified as breaking news. These videos will capture the viewer’s attention, and then it’s up to your content to keep them engaged.

#3. Pin a feature video to your Facebook page

This allows new clients and customers to get an idea of who you are and what services you can provide. The video can also announce upcoming specials, giveaways, and daily news briefs.

#4. Cover trending topics with use of hashtags

Hashtags attract viewers in the most simplistic of ways while also allowing your video to show up on various social media feeds. This will expand your audience and can increase your overall engagement.

#5. Have a headline that attracts attention

In the 2-3 seconds it takes to read a headline, your video will have already started playing. With this unique combination, you’re able increase the odds that the reader will stick around to see what your video is all about.

#6. Put micro content videos on Instagram

Instagram allows a video to be up to 15 seconds long. This is a great opportunity to give your viewers a peak while attracting them to your website. The average person will decide within the first 5-10 seconds if they are interested in any video. Using a clip on Instagram can help alleviate that issue.

#7. Create a video with bloopers and behind-the-scenes moments

Customers and clients are looking to relate to you, your services and products. By showing them that you’re “real” in a humorous and creative way, you can engage and attract them towards your company.

By applying any of these video techniques, you can vastly improve your social media game.

How Influencer Marketing Can Help Your Brand

According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Poll, “the most credible advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust.”

Influencer Marketing leverages the trust we place in people that we can relate to and whose opinions we value.

So, what IS Influencer Marketing?

Influencer Marketing is a strategy that leverages individuals who have a strong online following, are relevant to your product or service, and can influence potential buyers to act.

How Can Influencer Marketing Help Your Brand?

You’ll Find Better Customers.

A key to successful marketing is reaching the right audience. Good brand influencers are not just individuals with a lot of followers. They are also thought leaders who have credibility when it comes to the particular subject matter and they already have a relationship with the consumers you are trying to reach. There is a massive difference between marketing to an audience that is receptive to your message and marketing to a general audience that your message may or may not resonate with!

It’s Affordable.

While traditional advertising strategies like banner ads, print, radio, etc., may provide a good return on investment, there is still a considerable investment needed. Influencer Marketing is very cost-effective. Some influencers are compensated financially or receive a commission, but that is not always recommended. Most influencers receive incentives like free products or discounts. Often just showing them some love online is enough. Remember, these are thought leaders, bloggers or, other social media users who have a loyal following within their specific niche, so it is appreciated when you share their content or give them shout outs. These relationships can and should be mutually beneficial.

Influencers Will Help Boost Your Online Presence.

Influencers have a loyal fan base. When they begin sharing your content, your message is amplified. Your brand isn’t just exposed to their followers, it is endorsed by someone those followers trust and relate to! Influencers can boost your online presence when their followers become your followers. Influencers are also great for your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy. They generate back links, create shareable content on behalf of your brand, increase engagement, reach, and ultimately improve your site rankings.




4 Interactive Print Ad Examples

Print advertising has been around long before the internet. It is one of the most original forms of advertising and has not gone out of style even with the introduction of new methods like social media advertising campaigns.

An interactive print advert is a new form of print advertising used to better engage with the customer and compete with all the new marketing methods out there. Advertisers are using this new and exciting method to bring products and their amazing features closer to the consumers. Because of this it is almost impossible to ignore.

Motion Silhouette

This method has been used for a long time in interactive print advertising to stand out from the ordinary flat paper and images. Especially in children’s books, shapes are cut out and arranged to pop up when a page is opened to illustrate a message. This has become more advanced over the years with detailed cut outs and more lifelike silhouettes projected between pages. This can be used in different types of advertising whether for products or services.

Conductive ink

Printing with conductive ink is fast becoming a trend. The ink is sensitive to touch and can emit smell and different senses of touch as designed. By using this method, print advertising is able to appeal to more than just sight but to other senses as well.

Video in Print

Video advertising has now been incorporated into print side by side for a more elaborate explanation. With this new technology direct mail pieces can now become more than just static pieces of paper, but a work of cinema, helping it to gain grounds in advertising.

Augmented solutions

Interactive print adverts with augmented technology now combine technology and print to bring a better picture of the product to consumers. For example, a famous furniture company made a phone app to go with their catalog so that customers could scan the catalog and project furniture in their rooms with the app.

Companies are continually becoming more innovative with interactive print adverts and changing the game of advertising to keep customers interested using some of the above methods and more.




Video Marketing on a Budget

It is now common knowledge that every business with an online presence must invest in video marketing. Video content is engaging, helps explain the features of the product and gives a storyline. However, creating quality videos may be a challenge if you are working on a shoestring budget. Video marketing is becoming an expensive project, particularly when the company is new to the idea.

That should not dissuade you. Here are a few techniques to enable you to come up with amazing video content without breaking your bank.

Don’t buy the equipment, rent

Buying video equipment is a good long-term strategy. However, it is just a waste of money when you are low on your marketing budget. You can rent state-of-the-art video equipment at reasonable prices. Look around for a video equipment rental company that will offer you a bulk package that includes most of the basic video equipment.

Develop the story in-house

There are the chances that there is a writer among your employees. Utilize the talent rather than hiring a writer from the outside as it can get pricey. Come up with the outline of the story together with your marketing team. After you are done with the main points, you can then hire a writer to help in storyboarding if necessary.

Storyboarding is an artistic way of approaching screenwriting as each scene has to be drawn out. The most important points are also drawn in every scene. These drawings act as templates for organizing the images.

Hire amateur and student actors

You have to hire actors with some experience if you wish to have quality videos. However, this doesn’t mean you have to break your bank account to hire leading screen actors. There are many amateur and students actors and actresses that will work at low prices as they build their resumes. Others will work free in return for a good recommendation. You can get the actors from Craigslist, BackStage, Manday, or a nearby university that teaches arts.

Make use of the free editing software

Premium Avid video and Adobe Premier software are the standard software options available for professionals. However, you have to hire qualified staff and buy the license to handle the project.

There are several Smartphone-based and desktop based free video editing software options in the market.If you have a Mac, you can make use of iMovie and Movie Maker for the Windows PCs. They have easy to use features and user-friendly interfaces.

Use DIY video animation

Animation is now a technique of creating engaging concepts without using real people or natural scenes. However, it can get expensive when you hire a company to do it for you. However, there are cheaper software options such as Sparkol and GoAnimate.

GoAnimate allows you to import music and images in the design of the animation. On the other hand, Sparkol enables you to use the entire animation board when making your movie thereby eliminating the need to put any person in front of your camera.

Just because you’re on a limited budget doesn’t mean you cannot (and should not) invest in video marketing. It just may be the tactic that launches your company on the map.

Print Advertising vs. Digital Advertising – When to Use What

John Wanamaker, a 19th century department store tycoon from Philadelphia, once said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Mr. Wanamaker had only print options at his disposal and advertising at the time was in its earliest stages, so imagine how confused he would have been if he were alive today. Print options such as newspaper and magazine advertisements, direct mail campaigns, and flyers compete with an explosion in digital advertising techniques that use social media, influencer marketing, games, and advertising that interprets a user’s online activity to curate advertising content. So how would we advise a modern-day Wanamaker to navigate this complex landscape? Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when choosing between print and digital advertising:

  • Humans still respond strongly to print: A 2015 study by Temple University’s business school found that while digital ads were a cost-effective way of quickly getting the attention of consumers, physical interaction with print left a stronger memory that more directly affected purchase decisions.
  • Geographic target: Digital has no geographic boundaries, whereas print is typically focused on a particular town, city, region, or country (for national campaigns). International print campaigns are not unheard of but are less often used given their expense. So as a rule, if you’re trying to target geographic area, print may be your best option, whereas digital is best if you’re trying to reach the widest audience.
  • Cost: For a tight budget, digital ads can be the way to go. First, digital campaigns are typically priced on a variable cost basis, meaning they are more easily scalable to a target budget amount and digital’s ability to target certain types of users enables you to create a campaign focused on certain user types, whereas print campaigns tend to hit a specific geographic area for a fixed price. Second, digital ads generate data on user trends that can be used to further customize the campaign to fit a demographic.

For many companies, some combination of print and digital can be exactly what is required. Modern advertising is increasingly a mixture of art and science, so a professional marketing firm that specializes in both print and digital can be a big help in designing the right campaign.

How Direct Mail and Integrated Cross Media Still Play a Vital Role in Campaigns and Elections

In the ultra-competitive world of local, state and national elections, it remains vital that candidates effectively get their message to voters. This means getting to the all-important young voters that can swing elections, but it also means not alienating the base of middle-aged or older voters who got candidates there in the first place. In this age of social media, some make the mistake of overusing this medium and neglecting other areas such as direct mail. Not only is it important to continue using direct mail, it should be integrated with other types of media to be sure the message is reaching all potential voters.

Direct Mail and Millennials

According to Campaigns & Elections, young voters don’t get all of their information from social media, and in fact they do read and pay attention to direct mail from candidates. These young voters are actually more than twice as likely as voters in other age groups to read their political mail thoroughly. Almost 80 percent of young voters then discuss political mail with other people, and almost 70 percent then go on to research political candidates tied to mailings. Most important is what this group says themselves about direct mail, namely that they use it as a reminder to get out and vote, and that they consider it an important factor in elections at all levels. Given these numbers, it would be a mistake to think that social media is the only, or even the best way to reach millennials

Integrated Cross Media

Campaigns and candidates are quickly learning that in order to reach the most people possible, and deliver an effective message, is to get information across a combination of print, social, broadcast, online, and other types of media. According to InfoTrends, this approach leads to better brand awareness and consumer ownership. In the world of elections, this translates into potential voters not only getting to know candidates better, but making it easier for those voters to get on board with the candidate’s message. Leaving out any single component can weaken a campaign, while making sure all are strong across the board can help win elections.