Topic overview


Woman reading a direct mailing from a business

Mailings can be an effective way to promote your business to a specific audience. There are two main options for marketing mailings. Direct mail involves sending a personalised mailing by post. If you want to cover a certain postcode with no need for names and addresses, you could try leafleting.

How to create an effective mailing

Your marketing mailshot has to stand out on the recipient's doormat. It must be well-designed, have a clear message and be attention-grabbing. Above all, a direct mailing needs a call to action in order to convince people to respond.

Make sure there’s a response mechanism, such as a phone number, email address or web address. Incentives, such as money-off coupons or prizes, will help to increase response levels.

If possible, address your mailing to a named individual and include personalised text. Once you have their attention, explain what you can offer. Add credibility to your argument by including testimonials from happy customers.

How to build a mailing list

Your mailing list is one of your most valuable marketing resources. It holds information on your customers and prospects that can be used to improve customer satisfaction and increase sales.

Before you begin to create a customer database, you need to think about the information you want to hold on each contact. Basic customer details - name, company, email, phone number and address - are just a starting point. Details about buying habits will enable you to better understand your customers and meet their needs.

It's vital to clean your list regularly by removing or amending incorrect data and getting rid of duplicate entries. The law gives individuals the right to stop their personal information being used for direct marketing. Individuals can also ask to see any personal information you hold about them to check if it is correct.

You can improve the accuracy of your marketing database by checking it against the Royal Mail's Postcode Address File (PAF). This service checks the spelling and accuracy of addresses and postcodes and corrects them in your mailing list. Also check your list against the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) list to remove the names of those who have opted out of direct mail.

How to target your direct mail

Your hottest prospects are your existing customers. To drum up business from new prospects, you need to identify people who match the profile of your best customers. To further refine your direct mail campaign, you can segment your database and send targeted messages to people with specific buying habits or profiles.

Running an effective direct mail campaign is about testing and refining all the elements of a mailing, to steadily improve your results. A successful mailshot should pay for itself. Work out the costs of the campaign and quantify the rate of response. With this information you can produce a cost per response, and find out if the mailing has delivered a return on investment.

Promoting your business by leafleting

Leafleting is simple and affordable, and can bring in new customers and boost sales. Also known as door-drop marketing, leafleting involves delivering unaddressed flyers to homes in your area. Your challenge is to create a flyer that captures the attention of the recipient and does not go straight into the recycling box.

If you offer local services, then leaflet distribution is an ideal way to spread the word about your business. When it comes to launching a new venture, such as a shop or restaurant, leaflets are especially effective.

Leafleting can be very cost-effective, especially if you deliver flyers yourself. If you are sending out large numbers of leaflets, the Royal Mail offers a service whereby it delivers flyers with the post to specific postcode areas.

What does the * mean?

If a link has a * this means it is an affiliate link. To find out more, see our FAQs.