When it comes to a direct mail campaign, the type of mail piece you choose can significantly impact the effectiveness of your campaign. Three of the most common forms of direct mail pieces are die-cut mailers, letter/envelope combinations, and postcards. Each of these styles is unique and offer different benefits, but the one you should choose for your next marketing campaign largely depends on your target market, your marketing budget and the quality of your graphics and mailing list.

When it comes to die-cut mailers, it is fairly simple; spend a little more and really stand out from the crowd. Die-cut mailers are direct mail pieces that have distinctive figures, shapes, and/or icons cut into them. This helps your mail piece stand out from the mound of mail sitting in a potential client’s mailbox. Being that these are one-piece mailers that your prospect does not need to open, you get one shot at grabbing their attention and the mere size and different shape of this piece will surely do the trick. Generally, if you sell a high-ticket item that requires photos/images to effectively promote your product/service, a die-cut mailer is a good choice for your next campaign.

The letter/envelope combination approach, though often less flashy and visually pleasing, can be more cost effective and has been known to attract a fair share of attention in the direct mail world. A letter/envelope combination uses a bit of trickery to its advantage. Often times these letters are mistaken for a personal letter, an official business letter, or an unknown letter that just needs to be opened. They are less costly than die-cut mailers and less limited on space, allowing for full letters with or without images/photos. Usually the baby boomers are the most stimulated by this approach, but it can stem further into Generation Y. These potential clients are more likely to have the time to go through and open their mail and they may not be able to distinguish between a bulk mail piece and a personal or official business letter. Also, if you have more content than a postcard or die-cut mail piece can handle, a letter/envelope combo is the way to go.

Postcards are by far the most pocket book friendly mail piece to use in a direct mail campaign and they can be extremely effective. Differing from letter/envelope combinations, postcards generally do not provoke an illusion or work on trickery. What you see is what you get…and you usually only get one or two seconds before your prospect either reads on or tosses your postcard in the “throw away” pile. When most people see something even slightly unusual, colorful, or intriguing in any way they are going to want to know more, so focusing on your postcard graphics is very important. When choosing a postcard, you will save money on the printing, mailing services and postage so postcards can be a very alluring option, but because they are easily thrown away and you have only a tiny window of opportunity before your offer is dismissed, postcards can be a tricky option to master. Purchasing a targeted mailing list and hiring a good graphic artist are keys to making a postcard campaign a success.

It can be tricky to pick the proper mail piece for your next direct mailing campaign, and there is a lot to take into consideration when developing one. Knowing your clientele and what drives them to purchase is first and foremost. The rest depends on your marketing budget, what you are selling, the quality of your mailing list and the graphics of your mail piece and how much information you need to get across in your mail piece. Each different type of mailer has its own unique appeal and purpose.