Many marketers would love to send their print ads, event invites, and holiday greetings directly to customers and leads in their database, but don’t think they can afford the cost. Guess what, direct mail marketing campaigns are totally affordable to small and medium companies, too. Here’s how to plan your marketing budget for this.

Why Use Direct Mail Campaigns?

A direct mail marketing campaign gets your message directly to potential customers’ doorstep. There is always a possibility that somebody will just throw away the leaflet without a single look. On the other hand, a number of people would be ready to buy every time you send them a new marketing postcard.

The most attractive features of direct mail marketing campaigns are high ROI and response rates:  

  • 80% of households read or browse their advertising mail (United States Postal Service, 2010)
  • Direct mail marketing response rates are 37% higher than email marketing response (Direct Marketing Association, 2015)
  • ROI is 1,255% with US marketers selling $2,095 in goods for every $167 spent on direct mail

Check out the whole list of 31 essential direct mail marketing automation stats a marketer should know. With the results so amazing, who wouldn’t want to invest? So next, let’s calculate how much of an investment is actually needed.  

How Much Does a Direct Mail Cost?

Before launching a direct mail marketing campaign – or any at all, really – it’s very important to set measurable objectives for it. Depending on whether you want to promote new products you just launched or increase your brand awareness, your direct mail piece would vary, and so would your budget for it.

Usually, the cost of a direct mail marketing campaign depends on a number of factors:

  • Marketing copywriting costs
  • Mailing list selection
  • Design costs
  • Design print
  • Postage rate
  • Mail service.

Quite a lot of elements to consider, which inevitably would result in higher costs if compared to email, social media or other digital channels. But the tangible results of doing direct mail right make it really cost-effective, which is much better than just cheap. Don’t you agree?

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Now, let’s focus on the typical expenses associated with a direct mail marketing campaign.

1. Marketing Copywriting Costs

The message you want to deliver to your clients or leads plays a crucial role in your mail piece. If you are creative and good at catchy phrases, you can write the message yourself. Otherwise, you’ll need to find a professional copywriter. The cost will depend on the copywriter’s level of experience, as well as the length of the copy you need.

2. Mailing List

The response rate of your direct mail marketing campaign will largely depend on the mailing list that you use. Mailing lists could be free of charge, and it is especially effective if you make lists based on your existing database. By integrating your CRM with a direct mail automation tool, you’ll be able to quickly reach your long-standing customers. However, depending on the objectives of your campaign (i.e. attracting new clients rather than introducing a new product to the existing ones), your existing lists might not be the best solution.

That’s why many companies buy or rent lists for distribution. Prices vary from broker to broker, and could be anywhere between $0.03 and $1 per record, depending on the number of contacts, quality of these contacts, and how many times you are going to use them.

3. Design

The cost of designing your direct mail will also depend on whether you have a designer in your company or if you need to hire a professional designer or agency. If you have decided to commission a design for mail advertising from a professional designer, the range of your expenses will vary between $150 and $2000, depending on the software used, the time a designer needs to complete the task, and how many times you will ask for edits. The more complicated the task, the higher the price will be.

Doing design in-house will save you some money, and there are many websites that offer free or paid templates for creating postcards or leaflets. The average price per template is around $10.

Another option is to use a custom template builder. For example, at Inkit we have a Custom Postcard Builder with features for fonts, colors, and image uploads.

4. Design Print

After you’ve designed your direct mail marketing piece, you need to print it professionally. The design print cost will depend on many factors, including paper size, paper type, paper quality, color vs. black and white, ink, 1 sided vs. 2 sided, number of pages, and quantity.  

Your message might be short and simple, requiring smaller format – or a more complex one, requiring larger formats and a larger investment. Still, it’s better to choose the format based on the message you want to deliver, rather than focusing on the format cost only. As a direct mail automation platform, Inkit has a big network of printers nationwide enabling you to send 5 or 5,000 postcards at a time. With its automatic printing and shipping feature, you’ll be a single owner of the whole process and won’t need to conduct long negotiations with printing companies ever again.

5. Mailing Postage

The last, but not least (and not the cheapest one) part of direct mail marketing is the postage rate. If you want to send a postcard using U.S. Postal Service it will cost 35 cents each. The overall cost of the postage will depend on the postage rate, the size and the weight of each piece, the quantity, and destination. Respectively, the bigger, the heavier, the longer the distance, the more it will cost. Many companies use USPS mailing licenses, which are not only hard to get, but they’re expensive as well. Inkit makes this process easier: we can print your postcards and letters, and then even mail them for you.

Direct Mail Marketing Costs: Calculations

To better understand how much a direct mail marketing campaign will cost, let’s make some simple calculations. Here is an approximate list of expenses on direct mail marketing if you decide to manage everything using your own time and effort:

Average Price ($) Price for 1,000 Recipients($)
Recipients 1 1,000
Design  $100 $100
Marketing Copywriting $100 $100
Mailing Lists  $0.30 $300
Printing $0.30 $300
Postage $0.35 $350

As you can see, you will spend at least $1,150 to send a simple postcard (4*6 size) to 1,000 recipients. And it’s not even mentioning the time and effort spent, as well as the cost of possible mistakes caused by human factor.

On the other hand, Inkit will save you money and headache by integrating with your CRM and automating printing and shipping processes. To learn more about how Inkit can help you with direct mail campaigns, demo Inkit direct mail software now.

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By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and understood Inkit's Privacy Policy.
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