Types of Direct Mail

by Jack S. Waverly; Updated September 26, 2017

When you hear the term “direct mail,” you usually think of junk mail arriving in your mailbox. While this picture is somewhat false, it is the most perceived image of direct mail. Direct mail has accounted for billions of dollars in business, and started companies such as Sears and L.L. Bean.

Types

There are four main types of direct mail. Each type of direct mail is used to sell different types of products or services.

Catalogs

Catalogs are a type of direct mail. Catalogs are used to present a number of products to a single buyer. This direct mail type is often used by home-based business and mail-order marketers.

Postcards

Postcards are the second type of direct mail. Postcards can be the most effective and the cheapest to produce. The front of the postcard has the customer's address while the back has the advertisement. Postcards are good for a new business or a business new to an area.

Standard Letter Mailings

Standard Letter Mailings has the highest response rate among all direct mail formats. This type of direct mail is also known as a self mailer. These pieces are usually a page-length advertisement which can be folded and mailed. The promotional message is normally on one side and folded so that the message is on the inside facing sheet.

All-in-One Mailers

All-in-One Mailers are a combination of any of the above types of direct mail. These work as combination sales messages using postcard format with letter mailing length. These can be included in a catalog or booklet with a return card.