How to Use Direct Mail to Reach your Best Markets


Focus on one market at a time

Do not mail to contractors, developers and homeowners at the same time. The more targeted your market, the better success you will have.

Get an accurate mailing list

Who are you targeting? New or old homes? Rural or urban?

Wood fence owners? No fence owners? There are mailing lists for just about any kind of person you are trying to reach.

Come up with an irresistible offer

Look at your direct mailer through the eyes of your reader. What would make you contact your business? A discount? Same-day

installation? Pergola plus fence offer?

Write a killer a headline

A great headline grabs the attention of the person you are talking to. See the column at the right for headline ideas.

Get rid of the fluff

Nobody cares about you; they only care about themselves.

Choose your words carefully and ask yourself: does this word or sentence hurt or help?

Talk like a normal person

Your direct mailer is a “salesperson in print.” Speak like a human. Do not use advertising words. Act as if you are having a face-to-face talk with your prospect.

Test different direct mail formats

Post cards. Traditional mailers in an envelope. Oversized mailers. 3-D mailers. Boxes. Plastic cases. Be creative and daring.

What is the most important part of your direct mailer?

It is the headline. Fact: 80% of your readers will read only the headline and nothing else. That means that 80¢ out of every dollar is spent on your headline.

Your readers are asking only one question: What’s in it for me? Here are headline starters:

1) Make an offer in your headline

  • 10% off all vinyl fences

  • Free fence installation this month

  • $1.65 off each foot

2) Announce news

  • Woodgrain fences introduced

  • Vinyl fence pre-spring sale

3) Tickle their curiosity

  • Why the President of the United States won’t buy from us

  • Why would we put steel in our vinyl fences?

4) Appeal to their self-interest

  • Why homeowners who own wood fences are switching to vinyl

  • Never paint your fence again

5) Ask an intriguing question

Did you know we can install vinyl fences in the middle of winter?