Effective direct mail marketing in a digital age

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This article considers how you can effectively market your services through the post. It will be helpful for direct marketers, even if you don’t currently use mail marketing campaigns.


Under new data protection laws (known as ‘GDPR’), you need someone’s explicit consent to send them electronic marketing material, such as emails and texts. This can severely limit who you can market your services to. However, there’s still one massive marketing opportunity that is still available and cost effective. This is direct mail marketing.

  • You need someone’s explicit permission to send them a letter with their name on it.
  • However, if the address is not registered with the Mailing Preference Service to not receive marketing material, you don’t need someone’s permission to send a letter to their address for ‘The householder’.

Keep reading to find out how to:

  • effectively market your services through the post; and
  • check which addresses you shouldn’t send mail to.

Why market through the post?

Well, we live in a digital age. We are emailed and spammed to death. We are also bombarded with digital ads on social media. As a result, we don’t often respond to digital marketing. However, I recently received a fascinating letter through the post which made me think about how to tap into the vast mail marketing opportunity.

  1. 1. The envelope

    • The letter came in a brown envelope with the branding “Consumer Refund Service”. Official letters arrive in brown envelopes. If you have ever had a letter from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, you’ll know what I mean!
    • The letter appears to contain important information. In this case, I was invited to check if I was owed compensation for mis-sold payment protection insurance.
    • At a time when we are numb to electronic communication, it was refreshing to get a letter!
  2. 2. The address window

    • The letter was addressed to “The Householder” with “Notification of Potential Refund £3,175” in bold. There was a specific reference number. This sounded genuine and encouraged me to open it.
    • Remember that under GDPR, it’s illegal to use someone’s contact details without their explicit permission. HOWEVER, you CAN send mail to “The Householder” at a specific address without explicit consent.
    • Before doing this, use Data Soap’s user friendly and cost-effective tools to see which addresses are not registered with the Mailing Preference Service to not receive marketing materials. You can do this for large lists of addresses quickly and easily at www.datasoap.co.uk.
  3. 3. Branding and contact

    • The letter is clearly branded and concise. “Consumer Refund Service” appears at the top left.
    • There’s not much text to read, the letter sticks to the point and contains just three sentences. A professional looking contact number is given in a noticeable place.
    • You can set up virtual telephone numbers within minutes by visiting www.switchboardfree.co.uk. You can easily track how often people call your virtual numbers and ensure you never miss a call again.
  4. 4. Simple next steps

    • The letter clearly highlights the simple next steps.
    • The reply form is easy to complete. I just need to give some basic information. The Consumer Refund Service then check whether I am entitled to compensation. And there’s two simple ways to claim.
    • So clearly showing the next steps and making these steps as simple as possible is essential if you want to keep someone’s attention.


So, in conclusion, direct mail marketing is a potentially lucrative source of new customers. Some simple techniques can help you do it effectively.

Remember, keep it simple and think about:

  • how your envelope looks;
  • who you are addressing the letter to; and
  • your branding and content.