The play Death of a Salesman was first presented on stage in 1949, more than 70 years ago.

However, in marketing, nothing ever really dies.Cold calls still work.

In-person sales presentations still bring in potential clients. And direct mail marketing still has appeal.

In fact, direct mail marketing may be more successful now than in recent years.

For small businesses, direct mail has a variety of appeals. In today’s endless stream of digital presentations and electronic sales pitches, direct mail may actually seem more…. Direct.

Is direct mail an option for you? Will it be beneficial to your marketing budget and sales prospects? Let’s look at what direct mail means to small businesses in 2022 and beyond.

Defining Direct Mail

Direct mail is any physical marketing piece offered to potential customers. It is often delivered via the U.S. Postal Service, although there are still young men and women walking around neighborhoods with satchels delivering direct mail by hand.

In a world that thrives on electronic communication among a customer base that rarely spends a minute of their day without some digital device in hand, how can a direct mail piece be effective? How can it get noticed? What are the benefits to a direct mail offering

Everything Old is New Again

Binge viewing TV shows is all the rage among people who have streaming services available to them. But, occasionally, a show is presented one episode per week, just like in the old days, and the anticipation for new episodes is very strong. The old way of doing things created a new market appeal.


The same is true with direct mail marketing.


Everybody with a home address still gets mail delivered daily, but the mail rarely contains anything of immediate interest unless it comes from the government (Yikes!). As a result, a direct mail marketing flier with valuable information and a call to action can brighten that mail delivery. Done well, it will get noticed, only because it’s not something that will be thrown away immediately.

The Appeal of Direct Mail Marketing

Frankly, digital marketing has nearly reached a saturation point. Unless a potential customer is in search of a particular product or service, e-mail blasts and social media outreach sometimes becomes intrusive and tiresome.

That piece of direct mail you send out, however, feels old school, and as such, has appeal to customers who are weary of online sales approaches. If the marketing material includes a call to action to present the flier or postcard in store for 20 percent off, it can feel to the customer as if they won something in the mail.


  • Do not ignore the appeal of physical materials. Having that sales pitch postcard in hand can produce outcomes that your sales pitch email fails to accomplish.


  • If your product or service has a neighborhood appeal to it, emphasize that. A direct mail offering related to a service beneficial to homeowners is going to be effective because that piece of mail is handled by a homeowner. 


  • Direct mail materials can reach an audience that does not spend all day watching their email in-basket or searching social media posts. While that may sound as if it only applies to an older demographic, younger generations have taken to turning off their electronic notifications in order to get things done. They can’t, and won’t, turn off mail delivery.


Making Noise in a Empty Room

Most companies no longer spend any time or money promoting their business through direct mail. They have been taught that digital marketing is the only way to succeed in modern marketing circles.

Which makes your direct mail marketing material more valuable! Your company will stand out simply because you made the effort to make contact physically rather than electronically. 


Including a call to action or a discounted price or sales price on products and services in your direct mail marketing material will make it seem valuable.


The Cost of Printing and Mailing

You will pay to have your material printed, and you will pay to have it mailed. To save money, you will want to do as much of the design work yourself before handing it over to a printer. A well-established printing company will offer you design suggestions, helping you ensure your message is noticed and read.

The more items you send, the lower your cost per item. Your cost will depend on the quality of paper and the size of your mailing, and can range from pennies per piece to $1 or $2 per piece.

You will also pay to have material mailed. If you do not already have a bulk mail account and think you might want to use direct mail again, apply with your post office for bulk delivery charges. Postage rates will be charged per piece, but the bulk rate is much lower than standard postage charges

Return on Investment (ROI)

The greatest appeal of electronic marketing is that it is free. But it costs money to have someone develop materials and write messaging. It costs money to have an IT professional determine how best to distribute your information electronically. Electronic design work is costly, even if the actual distribution is free.


Having direct mail material printed up is relatively inexpensive. Printer companies have design talent ready to help you create a mailer that will get noticed. They know where to place key information so that it springs out in a person’s sightline. 

Return on investment (ROI) studies show that direct mail trails electronic marketing ROI, but not by much. One advantage is that direct marketing can reach audiences that are untouched or uninterested in digital marketing ploys.

Final Thoughts: Think About It

Think about how you feel when you receive a marketing postcard or flier in the mail. Which ones appeal to you? Which ones are effective? Why do you keep some and throw away others?


Direct mail marketing is not for everyone. But if you have a brick-and-mortar store, or you provide products or services homeowners find valuable, a direct mail marketing campaign could be effective.


Done correctly, your direct mail material could be memorable, and pay for itself.


CSD Marketing and Consulting can help you develop a marketing strategy that incorporates direct mail, and support you in creating fliers or mailers that can appeal to a broad audience, or one that is more targetes. Let’s connect and get started today!