Jesse Stein

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you want our handwritten notes to drive more sales for you, click here.

valuable answers to your latest direct marketing questions

Everyone’s interested in direct marketing, but many questions remain unanswered. Here’s a quick look at some commonly asked direct marketing questions.

1. Has there been a shift in how marketers use direct marketing?


Yes, there’s been a definite shift in how direct marketing reaches people. Handwritten marketing is the key to success for businesses, large and small. Where once printed flyers and postcards ruled the mailbox, today, it’s all about personalized direct mail. Anything mass printed goes in the trash as junk mail, but handwritten notes are kept and displayed, increasing the likelihood of word-of-mouth traffic.

2. What are the three ways in which customers can respond to direct marketing?


Three basic ways for a customer to respond to direct marketing are to act, ignore, or share. Acting means the consumer initiates a call, email, website visit, or social media comment. Ignoring means the recipient didn’t connect with your message.

Sharing means discussing the experience with friends and family or displaying direct mail at home.

3. How much does it cost for direct marketing?


Direct marketing costs vary depending on what you send and the size of your target audience. A big-box retailer like Walmart spent $4 billion in advertising in 2021. An increase of $800 million from 2018. 

Businesses with fewer resources, like a local real estate brokerage, target a smaller audience, so prices drop dramatically. A single handwritten note, for example, retails for around $3 from reputable service providers. Handwritten notes have an open rate of nearly 100%.

Free direct marketing is another option. Email, SMS, website, content, and social media are available at no cost, which is likely why new marketers tend to start there. The downside is the time and effort it takes to get your message out consistently. To market your business with free tools is a full-time job. 

4. Why is direct marketing declining?


Direct marketing isn’t declining; it’s changing. Shoppers have shifted focus from standard business communication to personalized messages and targeted offers.

They want to be addressed by their first name, flooded with gratitude and appreciation, and inundated with offers tailored to their needs. Personalization is the new norm, taking direct marketing in a different direction.

5. How do you measure direct marketing effectiveness?


QR code scans are the best way to measure direct mail marketing effectiveness. A QR code is a two-dimensional graphic that stores information. That information may include a blog URL, contact details, product or service descriptions, or other specifics.

When a QR code is scanned, the data is relayed to a smartphone or other device, and in the process, the scan is recorded. 

The number of scans divided by the total notes sent reveals the scan rate percentage, which companies can use to measure the effectiveness of direct marketing.

Businesses can track website traffic and sales outside of printed materials using Google Analytics. Social media platforms have analytics capabilities with some scheduling software combining data from multiple social accounts into one set of reports.

6. How will I use direct marketing?


Initially, you’ll use direct marketing via the company’s website and social media accounts to establish your business as a trustworthy, reliable source of information.

The website must offer keyword-influenced content that’s written for people, not search engines. Visitors should also find focused landing pages with a compelling call-to-action (CTA). 

Social media accounts are ideal for nurturing leads and customers. Share frequently and consistently with brand awareness in mind to gain traction with followers.

Social tends to start slow, but your company’s visibility grows as long as you’re active on the platform and in comments.

7. What is the most common form of direct marketing?


The most common form of direct marketing is content. Content includes articles, blog posts, emails, white papers, case studies, gifs, memes, handwritten notes, and infographics, to name a few.

Every business should have a website focused on customer needs, wants, and expectations. Each website should be packed with valuable content created for people, not search engines, that readers would be willing to pay for. 

8. How do you create a direct marketing campaign?


When ready to create a direct marketing campaign, follow these steps. 

  1. Choose the platform. (email, mail, social, etc.)
  2. Select the audience. (use demographics and psychographics)
  3. Finalize your message. (what’s the purpose of the campaign?)
  4. Craft valuable content. (written, audio, video, graphic)
  5. Review every detail. (spelling, grammar, tone, etc.)
  6. Launch the campaign. (measurement starts immediately)
  7. Measure results. (do more of what works and less of what doesn’t)


This explains how to plan a direct marketing campaign on an elementary level. Keep in mind that a short list of seven steps doesn’t reflect the time it takes to create an effective direct marketing campaign. 

9. Why would smaller brands with less general brand recognition turn to direct marketing?


Smaller brands with less brand recognition use direct marketing to improve brand awareness, connect with customers where they hang out, and drive sales. Let’s say a new brand launches, and marketing starts with ten customers.

The small business nurtures those customers using direct marketing, and the company’s followers soon share their experiences with others. Customer count increases to 20. Repeat the process, and the number grows again to 40 customers. 

By any means, you don’t need to be a multi-billion dollar business to take advantage of direct marketing, but you do need patience and dedication.

10. Is direct marketing illegal?


No, direct marketing isn’t illegal, but there are illegal things marketers can do. For instance, the CAN-SPAM act sets boundaries for commercial communication via email. The law says a company can’t send emails to someone unless they’ve opted in to receive the messages.

11. How has the internet most likely affected direct marketing?


The internet has changed direct marketing by enhancing its effectiveness. Omnichannel marketing combines marketing tactics, new and old, born out of traditional marketing (like direct) and online marketing (like blog posts).

Today, you can send a handwritten note with a QR code that leads the reader to a landing page designed to convert them into a customer. That flexibility and ease of movement through the funnel wasn’t possible before the internet.

12. How do you succeed in direct marketing?


You succeed in direct marketing with consistency. Consistency encourages familiarity, and familiarity deepens trust. Even if a company does something off-color, if they do so consistently, it will eventually become part of the business’s brand persona and attract people.

At one point in time or another, every company fights with consistency. They want to market on social media, but the budget is tight, so they try to post something when they find the time. Things start well, but a few days in, no one has time.

They want a blog competitors will be envious of, but they don’t want to pay going rates for excellent content, so they try to post something on their own, but soon business gets in the way.

You’re also more likely to succeed at direct marketing if you have a plan reaching months in advance, complete with goals, objectives, and budgets. 

13. What is the first step in the direct marketing process?


The first step in the direct marketing process is to write a plan. Try to go old-school and cover an empty table with butcher paper. Start the brainstorming process and write down everything that comes to mind, no matter how crazy it sounds.

As you form solid ideas, add them to a document or spreadsheet where you can later expand the details.

14. When are direct marketing channels used?


Direct marketing channels are used every day by businesses looking to reach target audiences in a way that’s rarely used anymore. About half of the digital marketing channels are deeply integrated into marketing, including email, website, and online advertising.

The other half doesn’t get as much playtime, but they’re no less effective. Lesser used direct marketing channels including direct mail, text messaging, phone calls, and face-to-face marketing. There’s never a wrong time to use direct marketing channels.

15. When does direct marketing make sense?


Direct marketing makes sense when you want to nurture leads and customers. It helps build stronger relationships and deeper trust between a company and the consumer.  Relationships are what convince customers to stay; trust is what convinces them to buy.

16. What are the most effective direct marketing techniques?


The most effective direct marketing techniques are easy to adopt and deliver value to the consumer. The three methods we believe are primed for action are content marketing (including direct mail), text marketing, and social media marketing. 

Content marketing allows Google to gauge your expertise and rank your blog posts, articles, and website accordingly. 

Direct mail offers a near 100% open rate and delivers personal messages to large groups of people.

Text marketing adoption is growing with an average click-through rate of 80%. Because traction is still building, this direct marketing technique is wide open. 

Social media marketing meets the customer where they hang out, which means you need to be where your audience is. Content formatted with the platform’s style and tone in mind captures the reader’s attention and encourages action.

Direct marketing isn’t some fad that will fade in the coming years. Content, social, text, and email alone will continue to play a critical role in all your marketing campaigns.

Check out the Blog for more information on direct marketing methods.