Direct Mail FAQ

What is direct mail?

Direct mail marketing is a strategy in which a business sends a mail piece to a specific group of prospects to inform them of an offer or product. In the USA, these mailings are delivered by the United States Postal Service (USPS). Marketers can choose the specific audience they want to target by compiling (or purchasing) a specialty direct mail mailing list. These lists generally target prospects by zip code and/or demographics. Common types of direct mail include postcards, letters, brochures, and flyers.

What industries use direct mail?

Throughout the history of direct mail, the medium has traditionally been used by industries with higher ticket items (like automobile dealers and real estate agents) and national brands with hefty marketing budgets. However, with the advent of technologies like Personalized Postcards and DirectMail2.0, small businesses and non-profits can now get the same great results as the “big boys,” whether they are selling professional services, promoting products, or fundraising.

Does direct mail really work?

The short answer is “yes.” The longer answer is that it also depends on what counts as success for your business. Direct mail’s effectiveness typically outpaces the alternatives in important metrics like return on investment (ROI) and open rate. While the response rate for a direct mail campaign may be considered low (usually falling in the 1-3% range), the quality of a direct mail lead is generally superior to that of an email lead or pay per click lead, which is why the ROI ends up being better. There are many best practices for direct mail that can ensure your campaign benefits your business.

Direct mail vs. email: which is better?

Email and Direct Mail are both excellent marketing mediums, but they are effective at very different jobs. When it comes to lead generation, postcards are your best friends. For follow-up, email is the go-to. Here are some of the pros and cons of the two marketing platforms:

Direct Mail


•Great for reaching new prospects

•Expected, trusted marketing medium (73% of people prefer mail to email for new product announcements)

•Effective message delivery (no envelope or email to open)

•Reaches prospects where they are (they don’t have to be looking for you)


•Can be expensive for follow-up

•Need to obtain prospect’s address for follow-up



•Great for following up with leads

•Very affordable

•Easy to set up quickly

•Reach a large number of people


•Not good at generating new leads (SPAM!)

•Must be opened to be read

•Often seen as an invasion of privacy if the message is unwelcome

Is direct mail dead?

Though it is a popular myth, it is still a myth. Direct mail has continued to thrive at a high level well into the digital revolution thanks to innovations like DirectMail2.0 and Personalized Postcards. The graph below shows the amount in millions being spent on direct mail over the past 5 years.

How do I buy direct mail?

The best way to purchase your direct mail campaign is to use a direct mail company that does everything in-house (like DFW Direct Marketing). This keeps advertising costs and stress down, because you can get design, printing, and mailing services handled under the same roof. These direct mail vendors coordinate with USPS to ensure you pay the lower “bulk mail’ postage rates, plus you get a campaign manager who can provide marketing tips and guide you through any relevant direct mail templates and options (and show successful examples).

Where can I find direct mail tips and news?

The Direct Marketing Association is a good source for direct mail news and statistics.

What are direct mail “yellow letters”?

Yellow Letters are a direct mail product that is used when a personal approach is needed. They are printed using a handwritten font that simulates real handwriting, and essentially appear to be a handwritten note dropped off for the prospect. 

Are there jobs in direct mail?

There sure are! Contact us for current openings and details

Can I get a free direct mail quote?

Yup! Call 214-505-8211 for a free marketing consultation and quote. No purchase necessary!

If you have any other questions at all about direct mail, just call us at 214-505-8211. It’s kind of our thing.