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Cutting back- direct mail marketing

Five standout examples showcasing the power and creativity of direct mail marketing campaigns.


Recently, we explored what it was about direct mail that made it the people’s preferred choice of marketing. Despite the proven effectiveness of direct mail marketing, some companies have yet to incorporate it into their strategy.

Back in 2017, 82% of companies used email as part of their marketing campaigns, but only 50% of companies used direct mail. I know what you’re thinking: If direct mail is so great, why isn’t everyone using it?

The main reason is price.

Planning and implementing a large-scale email marketing campaign can cost next to nothing. A direct mail marketing campaign, on the other hand, can cost anywhere between £0.80 and £8 per unit.

The final price depends on how much you spend at each step of the campaign’s production.

In this article, we will break down the biggest individual costs involved in a direct mail marketing campaign and explore the alternatives that can help save you money. If you spend wisely on your direct mail marketing, your return on investment could quadruple that of any email marketing campaign.

Creating Eye-Catching Designs

Part of what makes direct mail so popular is that it can be physically appealing. To capitalize on this, you’re going to want to make sure your marketing looks great. Remember that striking visuals are one of the marketer’s greatest tools.

If you’re not artistically inclined then it’s definitely worth hiring a professional graphic designer. The problem with this is that professionals can cost anywhere from £20-£150 per hour, so you may be a bit limited if you have a smaller budget.

The time involved can vary too. Designing graphics can take 1-10+ hours, depending on what resources you already have available (creative brief, copy, images, etc).

If you have a good grasp on the basics of design and are looking to save some money then there are plenty of templates available online. These services can be as cheap as £10 and can be a great help in creating stunning graphics.

If you’re lucky enough to be a natural Picasso, or you’re only looking to have something basic, then it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with suitable graphics on your own. There are a number of free or affordable resources online that could give you a helping hand.

Just remember that your time is valuable, so even doing it yourself comes at a cost.

Writing Engaging Content

Hiring a professional copywriter is a great way to ensure that your marketing sells. There’s an art to writing persuasive copy, so if it’s in your budget you should look into hiring some talent.

Copywriters can cost anywhere between £15 and £80 an hour, so if your budget’s a little tighter there’s no harm in writing something yourself. It may not quite reach the standard of a professional, but there are plenty of guides online that can help you optimize your copy for your marketing campaign.

Again, don’t forget that doing it yourself may take time away from your other duties, so make note of that in your planning.

Compiling Mailing Lists

Even finding out who to target can cost a portion of your direct mail marketing budget.

If you have your customer information available, it shouldn’t be too hard to segment your customers into a definitive recipient list at no extra cost.

If you don’t have that information to hand, though, mailing lists are available for anywhere up to £0.50 per record, depending on how many recipients you’re looking to target.

It’s important to note that you only get a set amount of uses with these mailing lists. If you want to target the same recipients in future campaigns, then you’ll have to be willing to spend a little more.

Not Targeting Effectively

One of the biggest costs in direct mail marketing is targeting the wrong person. Imagine investing all that time and money into a direct mail marketing campaign, only to have the recipients throw your note away because they don’t need what you’re selling.

Take the time to identify the recipients who are most likely to respond positively to your direct mail marketing.

For instance, direct mail marketing seems to have a profound effect on young people, with 95% of 18-29 years olds responding positively to direct mail. Considering that millennial spending is predicted to be around $1.4 trillion in 2020, this is the sort of information that you should take on board.

Make sure you do your research before compiling your mailing list.

Production and Distribution

The cost of production can vary based on several factors.

The size and quality of the stationery; the number of pages you wish to print; whether you’re printing on just the one side or both sides; the list goes on.

Depending on your choices, production can cost anywhere from £0.08-£2.50 per unit.

If you have the resources, it’s possible to print in house and save the money you would have spent going through a local or online printing service.

When it comes to distribution, mailing a single letter can cost £0.70-£2 with Royal Mail. But postage rates can fluctuate, and the amount of mail you send and the weight of each unit, can affect the final price.

It’s important to know the exact price of delivery. If you don’t cover the costs, your marketing might not make it to your recipients and the sum of everything we’ve already covered will go to waste.

Organizing Follow-Ups and Future Campaigns

I wish that was everything, but if you want to create repeat or follow-up campaigns, you’re going to have to go through all of this again.

Luckily you can reuse assets from your previous campaign, such as graphics and copy, so much of your expenditure comes in the form of time invested.

Creating a campaign can take hours of your precious time, so this is something you need to consider if you want to keep using direct mail marketing.

Keep Costs Low

If handled right, direct mail can be an incredibly effective and affordable marketing tool. If you want to maximize the potential of your campaign while keeping the costs low, consider trying Scribeless.

Our handwritten notes service can be used to reach out to potential leads with a personal touch. Adding this further level of personalization can improve response rates by as much as 635%.

Designing your stationery couldn’t be simpler thanks to our easy to use platform that ensures your campaigns always look great.

We also use a combination of Artificial Intelligence and advanced printing technology to keep production costs low without having to sacrifice quality. We even handle distribution.

The entire process can be automated with our seamless integrations, meaning you don’t have to invest your own time in handling repeat and follow-up campaigns.

If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your direct mail marketing campaign while cutting out many of the costs involved, then get in touch and see how you can use Scribeless’ handwritten notes service.