Stack of old letters on a wooden bookcase. Old mail of the post office

6 Creative Direct Mail Examples That Work

Is your direct mail marketing campaign falling flatter than the paper it’s printed on? Are are you struggling to see any ROI from it at all? Or, are you trying to take your already successful direct mail marketing campaign to new heights?

Either way, we can help with the direct mail examples listed below. These examples are uniquely attractive to your recipients and proven successful.

We’re going to describe them in detail and share why they work so well. So don’t give up on your direct mail marketing campaign just yet. Instead, give these creative direct mail pieces a try.

1. Shaped Text

If you have absolutely no fun creating your direct mail ads, how will anyone enjoy receiving them? With that in mind, here’s a simple way to make your ads fun and intriguing for everyone: shaped text.

Simply ask yourself, if you could form the text of the ad’s message into any shape, what shape would it be? For example, for a holiday-themed ad, you could have the words of your message shaped like a Christmas tree or a jack-o-lantern.

Also, if you can’t think of an appropriate shape for your message, perhaps you have nothing enjoyable to say. Shaping your text is not only festive and attention-grabbing. It also keeps you from sending out messages that are boring to begin with.

Lastly, there’s no limit to the creative ways you can use shaped text. Even the frame around your ad’s main image could be lines of text.

2. More Than Paper

Whoever said that postcards are the only type of direct mail ad you can send? Paper cards are far from the only type of ad you can mail.

For example, credit card companies and used car sellers have known and practiced this for years. It’s often you get plastic, faux credit cards in your mail at home. And it seems every week your local used car lot is sending out scratchers or some other contest entry.

These very successfully invite recipients to physically engage with the ad, making it far more memorable than a mere card.

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. You could send out scale miniatures representing your products and services, like a tiny toolkit or a light-up flatscreen TV model. Make it a keychain so recipients can carry it around with them.

Such ads put a tangible representation of your company in your recipients’ hands. Then, your ads will, at least, be held and examined before being discarded.

It’s memorable, it might go on their keychain, and it could even be passed on as a fun, branded toy for their kids. It also proves you put a lot more effort into reaching your clients than simply dropping a postcard in the mail.

3. Use of Technology

Depending on how much you’re willing to invest in this campaign, you can take this same idea even further. That is, you can send tech-heavy direct mail pieces that’ll really blow them away.

Think about this. Sending the same, non-personalized video ad to all your clients via email isn’t going to impress any of them. But emailing each client a different video, personalized exclusively for the recipient, is far more impressive, right?

Now, imagine mailing each client a video screen with a personalized video made just for them. How impressive is that?

After all the care and effort (and money) you put into this, it’s extremely unlikely this client wouldn’t take the time to listen to your message. Knowing that you went to such elaborate lengths to reach them, they’d probably feel guilty if they didn’t at least hear you out.

4. Activities

Activities like foldable shapes and brain teasers are great ads because they’re interactive and they propose an immediately actionable challenge. This challenge requires a conscious “yes” or “no” from your recipients.

It forces them to pause and consider whether or not to accept the challenge. That’s a moment longer than the other mail ads get before landing in the trash.

But most recipients will rise to your challenge and give it a try, especially with brain teasers.

Brain Teasers

Brain teasers secretly taunt recipients, saying, “We bet you can’t solve this!” This prompts them to want to prove you wrong.

Optical Illusions

The best brain teasers include images like optical illusions. As recipients are quickly flipping through their mail, illusions give them something they can’t immediately process. They have to stop flipping and really look at your ad.

Folding Activities

Another great example is folding activities. Show recipients how to fold your card into a castle or paper airplane. Or include a picture that changes into a different picture when folded along the dotted lines.

These are uniquely enjoyable to recipients. Plus, such activities are easy to tie into any product or service you’re advertising.

5. Useful Gifts

There are many kinds of useful gifts you can mail for the price of a stamp. Perhaps the best is a pen or other writing utensil.

Pens remain one of the most successful branded products since branded products were invented. They’re useful, they don’t take up much space, and they’re almost never thrown away.

Another great idea is a free sample/trial period. If your products/services are so great, prove it. Let clients see for themselves how useful your wares are.

Sending out branded gifts forms a positive association with your company in the recipient’s subconscious. They also make your mail ads more tangible and, therefore, more memorable.

6. Stunning and Unique Images

How many companies are you competing with? Whatever the number, one thing’s for sure. Your ads won’t stand out from theirs if you print them with stock images from Getty.

To look different you have to be different. In this case, that means hiring photographers/artists to provide original photos/artwork for your mailers.

Use Them Wisely

And that’s not all. You also have to use images in a creative original way.

For example, what do you picture when we ask you to think about a dentistry ad you’ve seen in your mail at home? It’s probably an image of a smiling woman.

That’s your mind combining almost every dentist ad you’ve ever seen because they all have the same image: a smiling woman. It’s far less likely you can name any of those dentists.

What if, instead, you received a mailer printed with colorful, detailed images of delicious food that people with toothaches can’t eat, like apples. The message reads, “Food’s you can start eating again if you just go to the dentist.” That would be the one dentist you remember among all the others.

The point is, when deciding on images, think like that. That is, different from the others, bold, colorful, and creative.

Learn From These Direct Mail Examples

Ready to see some real returns on your direct mail advertising investment? Make your direct mail marketing campaign soar through 2020 with these direct mail examples.

Want more useful marketing ideas? Read 8 Content Marketing Tips That Will Make Your Business Stand Out.

David York
david@sureshot.io

David York has spent the last 15 years at the forefront of the martech revolution, and is an expert on its past, present and future.