Using Creative Mailers To Generate Foot Traffic and Attract Customers

Direct mail is an essential channel for small business marketing campaigns. Designing a creative mailer that goes the extra mile are an effective way to attract new business.

While consumers are drowning in email and digital ads, physical mail continues to grab and hold their attention.

In particular, small businesses that run creative direct mail that goes beyond the average flyer stand out in both new and crowded markets. In this article, you’ll get ideas for creative direct mail designs and strategies to make your campaigns successful.

Creative Mailers: Strategies for Direct Mail Success

Many small businesses focus their marketing efforts on digital channels like social media marketing. However, excluding direct mail from your campaigns leaves a similar, low-cost marketing option on the table.

When planning your direct mailers, it is important to make sure your brand stands out from junk mail. With the following five strategies, you’ll have all the tools you need to stand out.

Send Something Useful

When brainstorming direct mail advertising ideas, think about what your customer will find useful. This could be pens, magnets, notebooks, or other small, personalized items. Whatever it is, it should be something that you can add your logo to so that you are increasing your brand reach.

green yellow and white printer paper
Photo by immo RENOVATION on Unsplash

By sending something tangible, your direct mail campaign will automatically stand out from the rest of their mail.

On top of that, your customer will be grateful for receiving something they can use, which earns your brand a positive affiliation.

Include Some Incentives

Another idea for your direct mail campaign is to offer incentives that will drive your audience into your physical store. That could include coupons, a punch card for repeat visits, or a voucher for a free item with purchase.

Incentives increase your return on investment since they drive customers to engage with your products. They also create buzz about your brand.

By pairing your mailer with an offer directly related to your small business, you will increase both brand awareness and brand loyalty.

Send a Celebratory Holiday Card

When planning your direct mail campaigns, it is important to balance staying in touch without overwhelming your customer’s mailbox.

While you don’t want to overload your audience with constant direct mailers, it is important to consistently keep in touch so you stay top-of-mind.

white labeled card on wooden surface
Photo by Mockaroon on Unsplash

Sending holiday greeting cards is a great way to increase brand awareness in between commerce-focused mailers. In particular, this tactic works well for small businesses who want to increase traffic around the holidays, or if you are simply trying to create a sense of community with your customers.

Build Your Brand Awareness

Another strategy for your creative mail campaign is sending out branded self-mailers. In these mailers, you include information relevant to the problems your brand solves or the products you offer while placing your brand front and center.

This will look different for every business. For example, if you operate a laundry service, you may want to include tips for cleaning clothes with your advertisement. Another simple idea is to design your envelope with illustrations of soap or laundry suds.

By making sure your brand is connected to the message you send, your audience will quickly learn exactly what type of business you are and why they should use your products. Check out examples below of how brands put this idea into action.

Don’t Forget The Important Information

Whatever type of creative mail campaign you send out, make sure you include your business’s vital information. Think of each mail piece as a business card: it should include your phone number, website, physical address, and social media handles so that your audience can easily find you.

While you want your campaign to be creative so that it will stand out and grab your audience’s attention, that effort is a waste if you don’t convey critical brand information to your audience.

Use the “Lumpy Mail” Technique

One final strategy is to send a “lumpy mail” campaign. “Lumpy mail” is a piece of mail that is not flat, usually because it has something inside it that makes it “lumpy.” Many of the above ideas include this technique, such as sending branded pens.

you've got mail-printed pack
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

You can incorporate “lumpy mail” into many kinds of direct mail. For example, when sending your greeting cards, pay for pop-up cards that are thicker than the average card and expand to a seasonally-appropriate scene.

“Lumpy mail” works because it makes your mail piece stand out from common junk mail. Instead of receiving a flyer that can easily be tossed aside, your customer will notice the envelope with something in it, which ensures they pay attention to it.

Not only will you pique their curiosity before they open your mailer, but you also increase your odds that they will set the piece aside and open it when they can pay attention to it.

6 Creative Mailer Ideas to Inspire Your Next Direct Mail Marketing Campaign

Now that you have the strategy behind direct mail campaigns, it is time to start coming up with creative ideas that fit your brand. Here are some examples from brands of all sizes, so that you can find some inspiration.

How to Cope With Your Internet Service Provider by Starry

In this direct mailer, Starry’s goal was to grab their audience’s attention and suggest that Starry can solve the problem of poor Internet service.

The campaign deploys a couple of the above strategies. First, it counts as “lumpy mail.” Instead of sending a simple flyer, Starry designed a multi-page booklet. Second, it uses brand awareness to connect with the audience by telling the story of bad Internet service and demonstrating how Starry solves the problem. All the while, the Starry brand is front and center.

Catnip Mailer by Bulk Cat Litter Warehouse

In this innovative and unique campaign, Bulk Cat Litter Warehouse figured out how to stand out from ‘junk mail’ by changing their target audience.

Bulk Cat Litter Warehouse provides solutions for cat owners. Since they know their target audience well, they knew that if they could get the attention of the cat, they would have the attention of the cat’s owners. So they sent out mailers out of catnip paper. Even if the humans could ignore the mailer at first, the cats couldn’t!

Tie a Knot by Mariner Boating Holidays 

Mariner Boating Holidays used “lumpy mail” to grab attention in this direct mail piece. Their audience received a folded booklet with a sailor’s knot tying it together. Not only did this grab attention, but it is tied (see what we did there?) back to the boating brand.

This mailer is not only creative, but it also works for both brand and product awareness. After grabbing attention, it educates its audience on boating holidays. This is an effective way to spread the word while earning a smile or two from your prospective customer.

Missed Delivery Slip by KitKat

In this buzz-worthy mailer, KitKat grabbed attention with fake missed delivery slips. While this mailer was a simple flyer, it was branded with KitKat and used the “missed delivery” messaging to grab attention. Then, it delivered its audience with an offer to redeem the new candy bar for free.

This inexpensive mailer was great for brand awareness during the new product launch. In addition to creating buzz, it incentivized people to try the bar, which created a returning audience.

The Dining Experience by Chumatskiy Shlyah

Chumatskiy Shlyah wanted to promote their fresh food delivery service, so they sent out a direct mail piece that was more than it first appeared. They delivered mailers that at first glance appear to be a traditional takeout menu. Once the audience opened them, however, they had more than just a menu: the mailer turned into a full and engaging experience of a pop-up table.

Car Roof by Mercedes-Benz

In this unique and inexpensive mailer, Mercedes-Benz drives product awareness with a very simple design. By designing the envelope so that the flap illustrates a coupe and the body of the envelope illustrates the convertible, the mailer simultaneously promotes two models of the same car.

Since the mailer is effective because of its envelope design, your small business could use a similar tactic even without a Mercedes-Benz-sized budget.

Where to Get Creative Mailers for Your Business

Creative direct mail campaigns are crucial to any marketing strategy, and most especially to small businesses. Whether you are trying to break into a new market or stand out in a crowded one, sending unique mailers will help you achieve your goals.

When it comes time to brainstorming direct mail ideas or finding templates for small businesses, Banana Print is the best one-stop-shop for your needs. With an intuitive and easy-to-use design system, creative templates you can use as springboards, and affordable prices, Banana Print will elevate your small business’s marketing to match the ideas discussed above and bring your direct mail campaigns to life.

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