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Best Direct Mail Marketing Examples

In order to understand what works in direct mail marketing, we need look no further than the examples below. This is a list of some of the best direct mail marketing examples you will find anywhere.

Here are some great ideas, examples of best direct mail marketing from some of the most intriguing and successful campaigns.

Belgium’s World Water Day

Image Via Athens Business Group

To highlight the importance of water, World Water Day’s Belgian corporation raised the bar for direct mail marketing. To encourage people to learn its unmeasurable value, they sent out a card that would only reveal its content once held underwater. Unsurprisingly, this innovative direct mail marketing campaign engaged a large number of people. It is fair to say that it successfully achieved its goal of raising awareness and starting conversations on the web.

Earth Hour – Candle Box

Image Via Ads of the World

To urge big businesses to switch off their office lights, the Earth Hour corporation had yellow candles delivered to various CEOs and industry leaders. By pulling out the yellow candle, which was inserted in a black box depicting the façade of a building, you would obtain a clever ‘lights off’ effect. Thanks to the campaign’s originality, company support of the ‘switch off’ skyrocketed. Engagement increased by 260%, making it arguably one of the best direct mail examples.

Nestlé – Kit Kat Chunky

Image Via D&AD

Wouldn’t it be amazing to receive a free chocolate bar voucher through your letterbox? Well, that is exactly what Nestlé did to publicise its Kit Kat Chunky. With a personalised “we’re sorry we couldn’t deliver your parcel” card, they invited customers to redeem their Kit Kat from a local newsagent, stating that it wouldn’t fit through the letterbox due to its ‘chunkiness’.

By customising each leaflet and stimulating people’s taste buds, Nestlé was able to attract their audience. In return for their efforts, the promise of chunky goodness resulted in a significant surge in purchases. Why not let WDM help you build your company awareness through personalised direct mail services?

Smart – Recyclable Helmet

Image Via D&AD

With its target audience in mind, Smart found a bright method of promoting its new range of green e-bikes to keen cyclists. By sending out mail campaigns made from recycled cardboard with a specific cut-out pattern to follow, customers were encouraged to assemble their own eco-friendly helmets. Smart stressed the importance of wearing a helmet when cycling and raised awareness of sustainability. This engagement with their target audience sparked an enormous positive reaction on social media.

Jeep – DNA Box

Image Via Behance

To publicise the launch of its new Cherokee line, Jeep developed a creative direct marketing campaign in the form of a DNA kit test. The box contained tubes with elements such as ‘freedom’ and ‘adventure’ to reflect the brand’s essence, as well as a clock and compass to suggest that their new cars can be driven anytime and anywhere. As a result, 76% of customers decided to try the new Cherokee line. Jeep’s unique direct mail marketing campaign certainly turned a few heads.

Benefits, Not Features

Hello Fresh, a start-up meal kit provider, has used direct mail extensively as part of its marketing plan. In this February 2020 effort, on one panel of a self-mailer, icons and short copy work together to describe 3 big benefits of the service.

Big Images

This large image on the front of an August 2020 self-mailer easily illustrates United Healthcare’s Virtual Visits.

 Product Sample as Involvement Device

Function of Beauty offers customizable hair care products. Scent strips are a few out of many possible options drive that point home on this February 2020 self-mailer.

Checklist as Involvement Device

PNC Investments gets prospects to think about their retirement plans — and look to the company for help — with a 5-point checklist postcard that was mailed in March 2020.

Quiz as Involvement Device

This quiz on the front of the outer envelope intrigues the audience in this acquisition effort for the Harvard Heart Letter newsletter, a Grand Control.

Send a Simple Postcard

One of the easiest direct mail marketing ideas is to send a simple postcard with bold colors, clean design, and a clear call to action. Be sure to include contact information. If you have a brick-and-mortar shop, list your address (maybe a small map to show your location) and phone number, at a minimum. If you’re online, include a short URL made specifically for the campaign so you can track the response rate.

Although your customers’ email inboxes have far more clutter than their physical mailboxes, we’re all still getting a lot of mail every day. To make sure your marketing materials stand out among the others, try using oversized mailers. A standard postcard is usually 4” x 6” and oversized postcards usually run 6” x 11”—the difference in size might make someone notice.

To easily design your own postcard without any graphic design skills, use Canva. It’s a free, drag-and-drop graphic design tool that offers hundreds of postcard templates to easily design your own postcard. Use these postcard examples to help you customize your campaign.

Consider Sending Unusually Sized Mail

Just like an oversized postcard could draw one’s attention, a piece of mail that someone doesn’t usually receive could spark interest. Consider starting a brochure direct mail campaign, instead of the typical postcard. A brochure gives you more room for more information. You still want to keep it clean and simple so you don’t overwhelm your recipient with information overload. One of the best brochure examples is for restaurants to send their menu, along with a coupon for first-time customers.

Use Short URLs or Promo Codes on All Direct Mail

If your goal is to drive traffic to your site, you need to provide a URL for people to enter. Avoid using a long address, or people might type it incorrectly and give up, or never even bother. A promo code can help you track the success of your campaign—provide a landing page or pop-up with a box for the promo code. It’s easy for your new lead and easy for you.

Website builder Wix offers a free QR code tool so you can make your own QR code images. Just follow the instructions to add the page you want the QR code to point to, and then download the image to use on your printed materials.

Include Objects Inside Envelopes to Pique Curiosity

As a person sifts through mail, they’re using a few of their senses to determine what they keep and give a closer look, and what they’ll recycle immediately. If you add a small object inside an otherwise flat piece of mail, it can make a person pause. Some successful direct mail marketing campaigns have included a penny, gift card, fake credit card, a USB drive, and other direct mail inserts, to name a few.

Give Away On-brand Items

There are plenty of direct mail ideas and examples for branded items that could work in your small business’ favor. The best tip is to send customers and potential leads items that are memorable. Anything that makes sense for your business that you can slap your logo on will work. A toy store could send paper planes with their logo on the paper, an office supply store might consider sending a branded red stapler (bonus points for millennials who might recognize the “Office Space” reference), or anything else that fits your brand.

The Theatre Academy – Macbeth

Using a big red M in the style of McDonald’s well-known arches, The Theatre Academy gave a modern twist to their marketing. To promote Shakespeare’s classic drama Macbeth they sent out catchy paper bags with the aim to grab the attention of a wide array of customers. The Theatre Academy devised a truly ingenious direct mail marketing idea to get the show on everybody’s lips.

Headline with a Question

A headline that asks a question is more powerful than one used in the middle of a paragraph because it immediately attracts the reader’s attention, as in this July 2020 mailer from Relax the Back, a bed retailer. It also sets the stage for the rest of the pitch.

Send Existing Customers Birthday & Anniversary Savings

Timing is important in any advertising campaign, and direct mail marketing campaigns are no different. Birthdays and anniversaries are when people often look for extra savings. To keep your business top of mind for customers, send them special savings coupons or promo codes to celebrate their big day.

Why not just send an email campaign? Send both email and direct mail birthday savings coupons, and then compare the results. You may get better response from an email campaign, but often promotional emails get lost in the inbox noise. Direct mail usually gets higher response rates.


Direct mail marketing is a method of advertising used by many companies around the world. The primary goal of direct mail marketing is to create brand awareness and customer loyalty.

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