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How to Design and Mail a Direct Mailer

Eloise Design Co Direct Mailers

Direct mailers to mailboxes is still an effective marketing strategy. And with more noise online, the mailbox is oftentimes quieter with more opportunities for brand awareness.

But if you are going to invest the time and money into designing, printing, and mailing direct mailers, you need to be crystal clear on the purpose of the specific mailers. 

This will determine the size, what is on the mailer, who it is sent to, how many you send it to, and how frequently they get a mailer. Let’s look at a couple examples:

Example 1: Real Estate Agent

If you are sending a mailer as a real estate agent to build brand awareness, you will need to send mailers once a month to the same addresses for at least 3-6 months, preferably 12 months. The repetition over a long period of time is important.  If you are sending a mailer because your buyers are interested in a specific neighborhood, you will be sending to a smaller address list and might only send 1 or 2 mailers. The specificity of the information to a specific homeowner is important. 

Example 2: Promoting An Event

If you are sending a mailer to promote an event like a fundraiser that is open to families, you might only send it once but you might send to a larger list to get the word out in different neighborhoods who have families. Who you are targeting is important here. 

Example 3: Grand Opening

If you are sending a mailer for a grand opening and you are a local business, you might send your mailers to homes in a 10 mile radius from your business with a promotion or sale to incentivize them to attend the grand opening. The incentive and radius is important. 

Example 4: Seasonal Service

If you are sending a mailer for a seasonal service like landscaping or pressure washing, you could send 3 mailers before the season and as the season begins with a special offer. So timing during the year is important.

Example 5: Sale

If you are sending a mailer to promote a sale that can be in-person or online, you will not send as many mailers out but you will want to send to a bigger list. You will want to focus on the sale, dates (time urgency), and how to shop. 


Eloise Design Co Direct Mailers

Once you know the purpose of your mailer and who you are sending to, you can start to think about the mailer itself. First, let’s decide which size is best. We are going to focus on 2 sided cards. But you have probably received folded mailers or even mini booklets from larger businesses. These are more expensive and because we focus on small businesses and their budgets, we are going to focus on 2-sided postcards. 

Here are the most popular sizes for small businesses: 

  • 6x4” - this is a small card and can get lost in the stack of mail. We don’t design this size because of this but many people do because the postage is a little less.

  • 7x5” - This is the smallest we recommend but it still won’t stand out in a pile of mail. 

  • 9x6” - The majority of the time when we design mailer cards, we use this dimension or a little larger. 

  • 12x9”- this is the largest size you will see for a postcard mailer. It will definitely stand out in the pile of mail but it can be more expensive to print and mail. 


Eloise Design Co Direct Mailers

We have three rules you need to follow when designing your postcard: 

  1. Less is more - This means less text, less graphics, less images. Too often we see mailers that have too much on them that it overwhelms the eye and mind to want to read it. Remember this is the first date - you don’t have to tell them everything. 

  2. Focal image - We like to design with one strong image on the front of the card that will catch someone’s attention and quickly communicate the business or offering. Then the back can be used for details. 

  3. Use a designer - hire a designer or use a direct mailer company (see recommendation below) to design your mailer so that text is the correct size, images are not pixelated, content is not cut off on the sides, and so it looks professional. Consumers have high expectations now and we will throw away anything that looks DIY. 

Eloise Design Co Direct Mailers

Here is a checklist for what you need on your mailer: 

  1. Strong Photography  

  2. Logo is prominent (not pixelated or fuzzy) 

  3. Key phrase to catch the reader’s attention

  4. Details in a bulleted list or short sentences (if applicable)

  5. Sale, offer, or discount (if applicable)

  • $100 off service

  • Free ____ with purchase 

  • End of Season Sale - 50% off everything! 

  1. Call to Action

  • Join us! (Attend the event)

  • Book a free trial

  • Schedule a free consult 

  • Shop and Save!

  1. Contact Information - website, email, phone - not all are always applicable 

  2. To Address - leave space on the back for the To Address usually on the right-hand side

  3. From Address - leave space for the From Address (that’s your address) usually on the right-hand side

  4. Postage - depending on how you are mailing, you will need to leave white space on the back at the top or on the right side for stamps/electronic mail printing.


Now that you know your campaign, your target audience, and your design, you need to decide how you are going to obtain the addresses and how you are going to print and mail them. Here are three options that we have used over the years for clients. They range from DIY, semi-DIY, to full service. 

  1. + Local Printer - you will have someone design your card, you will then pick your addresses through demographics and a map on, download the address list, and then print and mass mail with a local printer. Many printers have the ability to facilitate bulk mailings at a lower rate if you meet a minimum, which is usually around 200-250. The perk of this option is that its the most affordable for you and you get to keep that list of addresses for future mailings.

  1. USPS Every Door Direct Mail - you will need to have someone design the card, you will choose your addresses from the USPS website, print the quantity needed at a local printer, and then drop off the mailers with USPS for mailing. They will walk you through the steps online. 

  1. PostCard Mania - This is just one example of a company that can do it all for you. They will advise you on location and targeting, they will lead in the design and call to action on the mail, and they will track the performance of the mailers through codes. They can add digital ads with the mailers so that the recipients see Google ads during the time they are receiving monthly mailers. This service can be more expensive but also more trackable and successful. We have worked with PostCard Mania on behalf of a client and enjoyed our experience. 


Eloise Design Co Direct Mailers

If you are interested in adding Direct Mail to your strategy, reach out to us and we would love to help you with the purpose, strategy and design. We will also make recommendations on mailing options and printing. Fill out the form on our contact page if you are interested in a free consult call. 


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