For decades, direct mail has been a key marketing strategy for small and big companies alike. From brick and mortar shops to Fortune 500 companies, direct mail marketing still proves to be a solid workhorse, holding its own against its digital marketing counterparts. According to statistics by CMO Council, almost 60% of all direct mail pieces are opened in the U.S. So, how exactly are businesses getting people to open their direct mail pieces? What tactics are they using that are effective? Well, there are many components that go into a successful direct mail campaign, including well-written copy, eye-catching design, and good timing. However, one of the most effective tactics is personalization, which we will go over in today’s blog post.

If you were to ask people what catches their attention when it comes to direct mail campaigns, you would probably get many different answers. Perhaps someone would say brightly colored graphics used in direct mail designs grab their attention. Another person could say they are attracted to unique packaging, like lumpy mail. However, most would probably agree that the personalized pieces are the ones that get noticed.

You’ve experienced this before: “[Your name here], we’ve got a special deal just for you!” Personalization can enhance the viewer’s inclination to read your direct mail piece by creating a sense of familiarity. Names are very powerful things. People are conditioned to respond to their name, so even if they didn’t intend to look at your mail piece, there’s a high chance that their name will catch their eye. This technique drives a more personal connection from the get-go. For example, are you more likely to open an envelope that says “Current Resident” or your name? You will probably respond better to a direct mail piece that has your name on it. When it comes to personalizing a direct mail piece, there are a lot of options. Here are 3 ways to deliver effective personalized direct mail that can help boost your ROI.

1.   Put Their Name on It

This is the easiest way to personalize a direct mail piece. Don’t just put their name in the address block; use it as part of the actual offer and message. Use their first name in the headline of a postcard. This will surely grab their attention and keep the recipient reading. You can also work their name into the graphic design, like Holiday Builders did in the image below.

2.   Use Their Past Buying History

Personalization is often data driven, so leverage your audience’s data to create personalized direct mail campaigns. Try promoting your products and services based on your audience’s previous buying behavior. After all, you already know what they like, so getting them to buy more of that thing will be a piece of cake. Direct mail personalization based on buying behavior is one of the best forms of targeted marketing, and is a great way to generate higher response rates and return-on-investment.

3.   Use Personalized Images

If you know your target audiences’ demographic and/or lifestyle characteristics, use that to your advantage! By using an image or photo that is relevant to the receiver, you are letting them know your offer is responding to their unique needs and preferences. For example, if you are a pediatrician, the direct mail pieces going to parents with young children can focus using images that display benefits important to parents, such as showing a photo of a clean and fun waiting room, or showing an image of available after-school appointment times. The more your recipient can relate to your chosen image, the more effective your campaign will be.


One of the best things about direct mail marketing is that we can create individually personalized pieces that cater to all types of target audiences. Using personalization creates an emotional connection with the audience and can lead to better engagement, response rates and sales. If you have never used direct mail marketing or are looking to optimize your current direct mail strategy, US Data Corporation can help you. Call us at (888) 578-3282 to get started on a campaign strategy or highly targeted mailing list today!