Hitting a Direct Mail High Score: Driving Traffic

By: Tim Hickle

Direct mail, when carried out properly, can boost your sales and increase revenue. If you’ve decided to do a direct mail campaign, it’s a large enough investment that you should take the time to do it right. These campaigns take time, energy, and the right moves to be successful, so don’t go into the process blind and waste your time. This blog series will guide you through the direct mail process and help you succeed.


Driving traffic is a huge component of a direct mail campaign. You want your mail recipients to take notice of your mail piece, get intrigued, and then interact with your company. Here are three little things that pack some real power when executed correctly.




These are eye catchers and immediate interest grabbers. Widgets can be almost anything: from bookmarks, to stickers, to cardboard copies of credit cards and car keys. If recipients can feel or see something other than paper, then they’ll be immediately interested in the mail piece. Automotive groups find that attaching a fake car key draws in their recipients. Credit card companies are famous for attaching non-activated credit cards to give the appearance that there is a real card inside. This is a good technique when trying to separate one piece of direct mail from all the others. The first hurdle with direct mail is getting the customer to give your message consideration.  Think about how your company can use a widget to get readers to open your piece.




The objective of these campaigns is to bring people to your business. Whether you’re offering a great deal or spreading awareness of your business and brand, the way you approach your audience will determine how they respond. Great deals obviously play a part in incentives, but how are you convincing your audience that they should take advantage of the deal? Often, widgets and incentives are used interchangeably in order to make the most out of a single piece of direct mail.


For example: a car dealership might entice would-be buyers with a casino chip widget on the piece as part of an invitation to play a game.  Prizes won on the game could be wrapped around the car buying or service lane experience.  Things like free oil changes, discount coupons and trade incentives wrap the entire direct mail campaign around visiting the store and making a purchase.


Content is important here. Your recipients will be thinking: what’s in it for me? This is the question that you want to answer the best you can to increase your response rates.


Call to Action


Here’s where you need to hook them. Of course, widgets and incentives will play their role in getting your recipients interested. But the call to action is how you’ll get them to do more than just add your mail to the trash pile. Content is king, so be sure that the CTA is short, simple, and very direct. The best CTAs take advantage of tech integration and include a QR code, a simple and easy-to-remember website URL, and/or a track-able phone number. With smartphones in almost every pocket nowadays, it’s easy for your recipients to scan a QR code or quickly type in an easy URL into their web browser.


Stay tuned for the next post on achieving a high return in direct mail where I discuss targeting the right audience!