According to the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), direct mail campaigns have an average response rate of 9%. Aside from inducing a direct response, however, direct marketing also indirectly leads to engagement in online platforms. For instance, the DMA reports that 87% have been influenced to make online purchases after receiving direct mail.

Indeed, direct mail marketing can lead to valuable customer engagement. However, read on before hiring a content creation agency in Dubai provider to write the copy for your first direct mail campaign.

The following are the pitfalls to avoid when creating a direct mail marketing campaign.

  1. No Clear Goal

What is it that you want to achieve with your direct mail campaign? That should be clear to you before you send out that envelope or postcard. Everything in your direct mail copy and design depends on your goal. Furthermore, your goal will help you determine if your campaign does or does not succeed.

To illustrate, suppose you are an on-call or on-demand cleaning service provider, and your goal is to get people to call you to inquire about your services. Since phone calls are the goal, your copy should include your phone number. Your correspondence shouldn’t only state your phone number; it must emphasize it, too.

At the end of the campaign, if you receive phone calls in response to your direct mail, you can say  your campaign has succeeded.

  1. No Targeting

So, you have access to a mailing list composed of affluent ladies 45 years and older living in Dubai. It’s a good, strong, mailing list. Should you proceed and send your mail to everyone on your list?

It depends. Do affluent ladies 45 years and older living in Dubai comprise your target market? Are you perhaps a provider of luxury or branded designer bags or bespoke cosmetics and skin care products designed for mature skin? If yes, go right ahead.

How about if you sell edgy punk jeans? No, don’t do it.

Direct mail marketing is effective, but its effectiveness depends on how accurate your targeting is. Talk to the right people if you want a response.

Marketing boils down to conveying your message to an audience receptive to that message. Therefore, for your direct mail marketing campaign to be effective, send your direct mail (and thus your message) to the right audience.

How do you determine which is the right audience? Who is your product or service for, who will find your product or service valuable? The answer to that question is your audience.

It will be a waste to send your direct mail to people who are not your market. They are unlikely to respond since your products or services are not designed for them. You will also incur an opportunity cost or the benefit (i.e., sales) you would have gotten had you sent mail to the right people.

  1. No Offer

Can you send out emails that contain only information about you, your products, and services? Sure, you can. It’s your mail, your show, and your dime. However, if you want a response, include an offer in your direct mail.

Offers incentivize direct mail recipients. A freebie and 10% off one year’s worth of fees if a person responds are examples of an offer. An offer chips away at a person’s initial reluctance to act on your mail. Thus, you can get a higher response rate.

To make your offers even more effective, add a deadline, a limited number of slots, or some other inducement. Deadlines and quantity limitations can galvanize people into action because they activate people’s fear of missing out.

And while on the subject of offers, make sure to be wise about conceiving offers for your direct mail campaigns. Ideally, your offer should give value and give you a good return for your money.

Give Value

The offer should be valuable to your direct mail recipients. A free cookie may not be enough to make people order a cake from a patisserie. However, a one-time free lash extension refill if one gets lash extensions should be valuable to a beauty salon’s audience.

Give Good Returns

Ultimately, your offer should help you make more money. A restaurant cannot just give a no-strings-attached free entrée. That can bring people through the doors, but how many of them will order enough to offset the cost of the free entrée?

It’s better to offer a free entrée with a minimum purchase requirement. This can be enough to convince people to try the restaurant, especially if the free entrée is something the direct mail recipients deem valuable. The restaurant doesn’t have to lose money on the promo. The required minimum order can cover the cost of the free entrée.

  1. No Call to Action

Some business owners don’t want to seem pushy. Therefore, their direct mail campaign details their products or services and includes their phone number, email address, and address. They think to themselves, “Since I offer a product or service they want or need, they’ll call. I don’t need to push them to do it.”

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. If you want people to call you, tell them to call you. Ask them to subscribe if you want them to get your food subscription service. If you want your direct mail recipients to shop on your eCommerce store, tell them to do so.

A call to action ties in really nicely with your goal. It’s clear what you want your direct mail recipients to do. 

Now, make sure your mail recipients know it, too, by telling them to act the way you want them to. After talking about creative car showroom designs in its direct mail campaign, a commercial paint company should not be timid about asking its audience to call them for a consultation.

Failing to include a call to action is a failure to follow through.

When you put in a call to action, make sure it is visible, prominent, unmissable. It should also be easy to act on. 

If the call-to-action is “Call Now,” include the phone number right after or beside it. If you want your mail recipients to “Shop Now,” include your eCommerce website link QR code with a short, human-readable URL address right underneath.

Avoiding Direct Mail Pitfalls

Plan thoroughly and plan well before you launch your first ever direct mail campaign. 

Make sure your campaign has a goal, a target market, an offer, and a call to action. 

Better yet, get professional help. A professional can help you with your direct mail campaign design, copy, and overall communication strategy.


Hisham Wyne is an award-winning copywriter, brand consultant and content creator based in Dubai. He has over a decade’s expe­rience in helping brands get their messages right. From crisp web copy and zippy brochures to in-depth company profiles and analyt­ical annual reports, Hisham makes words work for you – so you can sell better, gain visibility, and give your brand a unique voice. During his time in the Middle East, Hisham has collaborated extensively with blue-chip companies including Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Harley-Davidson and Aston Martin, and helped government concerns such as the Dubai Internet City, in5 and the Dubai Design Dis