Edmonton direct mail

Even in the digital world we live in today, direct mail has proven to be one of the most effective ways to generate sales, leads, and new customers for small businesses.

Before getting into the step-by-step details of how to create a direct mail campaign for your business, let’s take a look at a few of the main ways direct mail can help generate leads for your Edmonton business!

It’s Personal

There are many ways to personalize each direct mail campaign to your ideal customer. For example, a gym can target customers who have let their membership expire with a personalized message that includes their first name. The opening line might look something like this:

(Name), we’ve missed you!

Based on the fact that 80% of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides a personalized experience, this strategy can provide a huge boost to your response rates.

It’s Physical

The physical aspect of direct mail is one of the reasons it is so effective. Instead of simply reading an ad from a screen, customers are required to use multiple senses when examining a piece of direct mail.

For example, they feel the texture of the paper when they pick it up. They see the bright colors and typography when they glance at it. Companies have even started using scented paper to activate the sense of smell!

When multiple senses are activated, it creates stronger ties in the areas of your brain that are responsible for memory. This means the reader is more likely to remember your brand and message.

It’s Targetable

Many people assume direct mail involves a shotgun approach where you just send a bunch of mailers to random addresses and hope people take notice.

Fifty years ago that might have been the case. However, now, direct mail can be very precise.

With tools like Canada Post’s Precision Targeter, you can send your direct mailers directly to the audience that will best resonate with your brand. For example, you can choose to send out mailers based on specific criteria like:

      • Household income

      • Walking distance to your business

      • Type of residence (apartment, house, business, etc.)

      • Age.

In total, Canada Post’s precision targeter lets you choose from 14 demographic categories so you can make sure your direct mailers get seen by your ideal audience.

Less Competition 

If you’re like most people, you’ve opened your email inbox on a Monday morning and found dozens of unread messages. Due to the sheer volume of emails, you probably delete the ones from addresses you don’t recognize.

It’s estimated that for every 36 emails someone receives, they’ll get 1 piece of direct mail in their mailbox.

Because potential customers receive far fewer pieces of direct mail compared to emails, they’re likely to pay more attention to each one. And, if your direct mail is personalized, you further increase the chances of getting a response!

It’s Better for Brand Recall

There is an abundance of data that suggests that print advertising methods such as direct mail are more effective than their digital counterparts when it comes to brand recall. This is because print mediums incorporate multiple senses, are easier to comprehend, and elicit a much stronger emotional response from the reader.

An article by Forbes states that direct mail requires as much as 21% less cognitive effort to process compared to digital media. This data is based on a study conducted by Canadian neuromarketing firm TruImpact.

To learn more about the difference between print and digital media and which is better for brand recall, check out this article on the topic.

Direct Mail By The Numbers


We’ve all heard the phrase “talk is cheap.”

It’s one thing to claim that something works. It’s another thing to claim that something works and back these words up with cold, hard data.

At ION, more than four decades of experience helping customers with their marketing campaigns has reinforced our belief in data-driven marketing. For example, we’ve noticed that many of our clients report higher conversion rates from direct mail compared to email marketing. When small insights like these are pooled together, we can paint a clear picture to help us see which strategies are most effective for our clients.

Here are just a few statistics that support our findings over the years and why we believe direct mail is one of the best tools a business can use to attract new customers:

      • According to Canada Post, 47% of customers have said they visited a store in response to a direct mailer.

      • Since 2004, direct mail marketing response rates have increased by 14%, while email response rates have dropped 57% (DMR)

      • 56% of all consumers trust print marketing more than any other advertising method. (Allbusiness)

Direct mail campaigns lead to more than 75% of donations for nonprofits (DMR).

How Your Edmonton Business Can Get Started With Direct Mail: A Step By Step Guide


Have you ever bought a piece of furniture from Ikea? Sure, you could probably figure out how to build it on your own but sometimes it’s easier if you have a clear guide telling you exactly what to do.

With more than forty years of experience creating direct mail campaigns for our clients, it’s safe to say we’ve learned a thing or two. Here are the six essential steps that you cannot afford to overlook when creating a direct mail campaign.

Step 1 – Brainstorm Your Marketing Message


The first step in creating a successful direct mail campaign is solidifying your brand message. Your message needs to be something that resonates with customers and actually gives them a good reason (or several good reasons) to follow up with your offer.

Your message will vary depending on the goal of your direct mail campaign. For example, if you’re a nonprofit organization looking to generate donations, your message should focus on the problem you are trying to solve, why it’s important, and how donations can help.

On the other hand, if you run a business and are trying to sell products and services, the focus should be on how your product/service can provide value and make the customer’s life easier.

It’s important to go beyond the simple features of each product. For example, let’s say you’re trying to sell a chair with built-in lumbar support. Instead of just saying: built-in lumbar support!, explain why it’s a good thing to have in a chair and how it actually helps the customer: Built-in lumbar support to reduce back pain!

Step 2 – Hire a Copywriter to Get Your Message On Paper (Or Screen)


Once you have a general idea of the overall message you would like to convey to customers, it’s time to refine it. In order to do so, it’s best to enlist the help of a talented copywriter.

A copywriter has a way with words and understands buyer psychology. They’ll be able to take your initial rough message and transform it into a compelling message that grabs the customer’s attention and influences them to take action!

Step 3 – Come Up With a Design for Your Direct Mail Piece


In addition to making sure you have the right message for your direct mail piece, it’s also important to have the right design. This includes the layout, colours, and images included in your direct mail piece.

First impressions make a huge difference in whether or not customers will engage with your direct mail piece. Strong design can capture the attention of the reader, influencing them to continue to read the first line of your mailer.

If you’re the artistic type and would like to tackle the design stage on your own, there are many great tools like Canva you can use to create stunning designs. However, in most cases, it’s best to ask for help from a professional graphic designer with experience working on direct mail campaigns.

Step 4 – Print Your Mailers


By this point, you have a compelling message, strong copy, and great design. Of course, at some point, you’re going to need to take your direct mail piece from the design stage to a finished, printed product. In order to do this, you’ll need the help of a reputable printing company with experience assisting clients with direct mail campaigns.

Here are a few things to look for in the print company you select:

Eco friendly – it’s important that the print company you select has the proper procedures in place to help protect the environment.

Plenty of experience – you wouldn’t want a first-time dentist to give you a root canal – you’d want someone who has done it hundreds of times. Similarly, you want to make sure the print company you select has a long history of helping clients create successful direct mail campaigns.

Positive reviews – reviews will give you insight into the experience previous customers had working with a particular print company.

Friendly staff – it’s always easier to work with friendly people who share the same values as your company. Look for a print company that is focused on customer satisfaction and open to long-term partnerships.

Step 5 – Find the Ideal Audience for Your Direct Mailer


Now it’s time to figure out who to actually send your mailers to. After all, you could have the best direct mail piece in the world, but if it lands in front of an irrelevant audience, it won’t generate any sales.

For this, we recommend checking out Canada Post’s Precision Targeter tool. The nice thing about this tool is that allows you to filter the neighbourhoods your direct mail pieces will be sent to based on demographic data. This feature can significantly increase the ROI of your marketing campaign. For example, if you sell a premium high-end product, you can select to send mailers to neighbourhoods above a certain income threshold.

This will allow you to target the specific addresses with the most potential for your product to avoid wasting your marketing budget.

Step 6 – Keep an Eye On Results and Make Changes if Necessary


This is arguably the most important step of a direct mail campaign – testing. There’s no point in running a direct mail campaign just for the sake of running it. Of course, you want to make sure it’s effective and generates results for your business.

When it comes to testing, here is the most helpful piece of advice we have discovered over the years – only test ONE element of your direct mailer at a time. The reasoning behind this is simple. If you change too many things, you’ll never be able to isolate the real problem.

For example, let’s say your current direct mail campaign is generating less-than-ideal results. You decide to change the tagline, design, and mailing location all at the same time and then relaunch the campaign.

Surprise, surprise, this time it’s a success! The problem is that you don’t know if it was the tagline, design, or mailing location that caused the initial issue. This is problematic for future campaigns because you still don’t really know what motivates people to respond and what turns them away.

Marketing is becoming increasingly competitive. Those who are better at capturing data and integrating feedback into their marketing campaigns will be able to achieve the best results. For more information on the importance of data in marketing, take a look at this article: Data-Driven Marketing: What It Is and How Can It Help Your Business?

Also, if for some reason your direct mailers aren’t generating the response you hoped for, here’s an article jam-packed with 9 clever strategies for increasing direct mail response rates.

But…How Much Is It Going To Cost Me?


At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Okay, so now I know the elements of a successful direct mail campaign. But how much is it going to cost me?”

Like most things in life, it depends. Some Edmonton direct mail campaigns cost just $0.50 per piece while others might run you $2.50 per piece or more. As your campaign becomes more personalized towards your target audience, the cost will rise.

However, don’t get tricked into thinking cheaper is better. Often personalized campaigns with a higher price point yield higher conversion rates, meaning more people respond to your message compared to a cheap, generic campaign.

The key here is to look at the cost per response, not cost per piece.

We have created an entire article on the cost of running a direct mail campaign and how to calculate the cost per response. Feel free to check it out by clicking here: How Much Does A Direct Mail Campaign Cost? (With Examples).

Next-Level Direct Mail Campaigns From ION Print Solutions


The steps mentioned in this article are all crucial components of a successful Edmonton direct mail campaign. However, as a business owner, you’re probably very busy and won’t have time to handle all of these on your own.

In this case, it might be necessary to enlist the help of a company that specializes in direct mail and print solutions. That’s us! We have assisted several companies with their direct mail campaigns, helping them achieve phenomenal results!

From copywriting and design to print, production, and shipping, we handle every step of the process so that you can spend more time focusing on other important areas of your business.

If you are interested in learning more about how our direct mail services can help generate more leads and sales for your business, please visit our website or get in touch with us today!


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