Direct Mail – The New Digital Distribution

Revitalising Traditional Marketing: Direct Mail's Digital Transformation in 2024

It’s sad but true:

The Xpress Group team are old enough – although we prefer “wise enough” – to remember when direct mail was the norm. Ubiquitous, in fact. Most marketing equalled printed materials – more or less. There was a degree of scatter-gun simplicity about it all.

Except, it wasn’t called direct mail; anything unsolicited through the door or that landed on our desks at work was loftily referred to as junk mail.
It wasn’t relevant, useful, or of note. Importantly, it wasn’t well-targeted. To be fair, in 2024 some poor-quality promotional materials may still go straight into the recycling bin, even in today’s age of segmented data sophistication.


Everything Changes

As with almost everything in life, things have changed in the world of direct mail.

In recent years, there has been a significant transformation in how marketers conceive, produce and execute direct mail campaigns. It’s not for no reason that you are receiving more things through the post or put through the door than you used to. Equally, these days, you may be hanging on to that brochure, flyer or leaflet rather than binning it.

Why? Because…well, because its message is more pertinent and applicable. And it looks great.

Do you plan to promote your services or products by direct mail?

Or, are you considering this and wondering if it’s worth the investment? Now could be the time. It really is the new digital distribution, and we have some intriguing statistics to share.

We’ll take you through how it works, its key benefits, and how Xpress Group’s services could help your message be seen and acted on by more of your future customers more of the time.

What is Direct Mail?

We like to define essential services like these; whilst Xpress Group is always jargon-free, it’s good to know what everything means in a world of often-confusing industry-specific terms.

Direct mail is unsolicited advertising or promotion that relies on printed materials. It can be anything and everything: from flyers, leaflets, brochures, letters, newsletters, coupons, catalogues – there’s almost no end to the form and style of what can be printed. Many industries use direct mail, with sophisticated strategies to appeal to a particular demographic – which we’ll explain. Non-profit organisations and charities also depend on direct mail marketing for fundraising.

Mostly, direct mail is delivered by post, but it can also be via leaflet or brochure drop services. Or via print distribution.

How Is Xpress Group Involved?

In three critical ways:

  • We provide high-quality, impactful design expertise for all types of marketing collateral, created with a look and feel that speaks directly to the people who buy from you – whoever they are.
  • Exceptional digital and litho printing. Xpress Group continually invests in the latest technology to increase our print and finishing capacity.
  • Looking to place print marketing inside packages or magazines? Perhaps you need your advertising to be found in an exhibition “goodie bag”. Our print distribution expertise offers a logistically flawless route from A to B for a positive first impression with that all-important call to action.

Does Direct Mail Actually Work?


Despite today’s increasingly digital environment, it really does.

Research shows that 95% of people engage with direct mail – whereas emails are often deleted immediately.

Campaigns with mail in the mix are 52% more likely to generate a return on investment (ROI).

Interestingly, 87% of people find mailed marketing believable and legitimate.
And for emails? Well, a good response rate is generally between 1% and 5% (although this will depend on how personalised the emails are.)

So, the truth is that with the right message aimed at the right people at the right time, in the right geographical area, direct mail could be one of your most effective marketing tools. It could deliver greater visibility and, as a result, higher revenue.

Direct mail can’t be dismissed by any means.

It’s a powerful way to reach the (slightly) older generation and baby boomers. Plus, although it’s gaining in popularity, receiving something through the post – especially in a business environment – is still relatively unusual. Rare, even. It will get noticed.

What Makes A Great Direct Mail Campaign?

Leaving aside ad hoc through-the-door marketing, which can certainly make its mark, there are a few things to know based on the above.

In other marketing media, everyone is supposed to hear the message and reply. Generally, direct mail will only connect with those who need your products or services; that’s why it can have such a clear voice.

Let’s examine the following:

1. Who is your target market?

Do YOU have a stellar mailing list? You can purchase these from data list specialists.

Let’s get filtering.

With clever data segmentation, you can truly connect with your audience. But who exactly are the people who buy from you, and why would they do so?

Here are some parameters to consider when deciding the names and addresses for your marketing.

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Homeowner or not
  • Car owner or not
  • Income
  • Job title (b2b)
  • Industry sector (b2b)
  • Size of company (b2b)

By the way – regarding GDPR, you are not required to obtain explicit consent from customers and prospects, as the rules mostly apply to email marketing.

2. What To Send

There’s no need to restrict your campaign to sales or promotions. Also, think about samples, newsletters, announcements and updates.
For success, you need a captivating mailer, and everything has to be just so:

The words (we’d recommend engaging a copywriter), the branding and naturally, the actual product itself. You’ll need to recognise your demographic’s intentions and relate to their challenges. And, how your products or services are genuine problem-solvers for them. Keep your message clear, and focused NOT on what your services do, but what they can do for your would-be customers. Use persuasive language, headlines to keep people reading and strong calls to action.

Unlike junk mail of old, contemporary mail marketing campaigns are smarter, subtler and more attention-grabbing. This certainly applies to what Xpress

Group offers, which you can read about here.

What will trigger your target market – in the best possible way?
We have a suggestion. You may decide to send a catalogue, brochure, leaflet, flyer or a letter. We’d advise a moderately simple add-on if appropriate, and budget-allowing. Which is…

An envelope.

Yes, indeed.

It will cost extra, but it will be addressed directly to the recipient, it looks more important and is more likely to get opened. Depending on your sector, you can even have a strategically placed message on the outside for maximum fascination potential.

3. Track and Measure

Measuring the outcomes of a direct mail campaign is relatively straightforward.

  • Firstly, you can use analytics tools to track website visits, phone enquiries or online purchases. The following techniques are also practical and do-able.
  • Track your response rate. Divide the number of responses you receive by the total number of mailings. Voila.
  • Conversion rates: of the above number, how many went on to become customers? Here, you can get quite smart, with industry SIC codes from your data supplier.
  • Cost per acquisition analysis enables you to assess how much your business has spent on gaining each new customer. Again, you can apply some simple maths here.
  • You can also calculate the average revenue from each customer – over the course of a certain time frame.
  • Return on Investment is a must-have. You may have made a profit, broken even or a loss. How did it all work?

What Xpress Group Thinks

We’d be extremely pleased to work with you on your direct mail campaign in 2024. Not only can we design your marketing collateral, we also have the in-depth expertise you need to print your materials, and, if required, distribute them should you be exploring a “non-postal” approach.

Direct mailings can be highly targeted. Exceptionally so, in fact. Plus, you can quantify their success rates and tweak everything accordingly.

In a complex, competitive environment, you could be building familiarity and trust with the people who matter: your customers.