Shaped Mail and Personalization Increase Direct Mail Response Rates

Example of a “shaped” direct mail piece from ThinkShapes.

ThinkShapes owners Karen and Jim O’Brien say business is booming, thanks in large part to postal regulations that allow for custom shaped mail in sizes as large as 12” x 15” to be delivered to mailboxes without envelopes. The company also credits its success to a focus on customer service, often meeting seemingly impossible deadlines.

“What marketers are finding is that, while email marketing and web-based campaigns have become a focus for many, it leaves room for direct mail to make an impact. When direct mail is creatively produced, personalized, and is designed as part of an integrated marketing program, response rates are typically double or triple an average campaign,” says Karen O’Brien.

So what makes shaped mail so special?

“It’s just different enough and creative enough that it practically jumps out of a stack of mail. Since the goal of direct mail is to get people to read it and ideally take the next step, shaped mail definitely increases readership and helps with that process,” Jim O’Brien says.

“Everyone is looking for new, creative waysto reach their audience to sell more of their products or services. Shaped mail gets attention, which means businesses can even send out fewer pieces and achieve greater results,” adds O’Brien.

While shaped mail tends to appeal to marketers sending promotions for higher ticket items or looking for large donations, fast food restaurants and pizza joints find it works great too, especially when they include multiple coupons or other incentives that extend the life of the mail piece.

“Designers are usually surprised to find out that there really are no limits on shape, only size, and campaigns can be integrated with personalized URLs (PURLS), QR codes and other tracking systems to make it easy to evaluate interest and response. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Just about any stock image can be turned into a shaped mail piece,” Jim notes.

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