As anyone with a mailbox can tell you, direct mail is still very much alive and well. In fact, it’s one of the most commonly used marketing mediums, tied with social media. And although the rise of digital communications has reduced the amount of physical mail we receive, consumers still look forward to their daily visit from the postman. They tend to review their mail the same day it’s delivered and they perceive direct mail messages as more personal than other types of solicitations, such as robocalls and email lists.

Now that you understand why direct mail is still viable and effective, let’s look at best practices for banks and financial institutions.

How to Improve Direct Mail Marketing Results

Use these 10 best practices to maximize your direct mail response rate and increase the overall effectiveness of your campaign.


people launching envelopes at a giant target


1. Time the Offer

Plan your direct mail campaigns to overlap with peak demand. For example, demand for personal credit usually peaks in the first quarter after the winter holidays. Spring and fall are the best seasons for home equity loans and HELOCs. You can also use timing to reach people who’ve just moved into a new home and neighborhood. This is the time to introduce yourself as the local community bank and try to win their banking business.

2. Know Your Competition

To maximize your return, make sure that your offer is superior or at least comparable with similar offers in your market. Look around and do some research to see what your competitors are offering. If you can’t compete on rates or fees, emphasize your value proposition (trust, history, premium service, etc.).

3. Get Creative

Direct mail has been around a long time, but there’s still room to innovate. Take this example from a Massachusetts-based credit union, which promoted a new branch opening with mailers printed on seed paper. Recipients could plant the mailer to grow flowers and anyone who brought the mailer into the new branch also received a gift card to a local nursery. This approach is innovative but it is also grounded in the values of the local community, whose residents are into green living and supporting local businesses.

4. Personalization Drives Direct Mail Results

Banks and financial institutions can use personalized variable data printing to reach the right people with the right messages. Change minor features in your design template like color palettes, addresses, and, most significantly, names. This unique process allows you to communicate with your customers in a more intimate, human capacity.

5. Marketing to Non-Customers

Instead of purchasing prospect lists with questionable accuracy, work with a partner like PrintMail who can identify demographic groups that are already considering a specific financial product or service. Once you’ve reached the most interested prospects, we’ll help you grab their attention with well-designed and informative mailers. For example, an oversized postcard may be more effective because it doesn’t require them to open an envelope.

6. Leverage Data Analytics

A fundamental part of effective direct mail campaigns for financial services involves leveraging data analytics. Detailed customer profiles, behavioral patterns, purchase histories, and lifestyle information can all contribute to tailoring more targeted and relevant marketing messages. For instance, a household recently buying a new car might indicate the need for auto insurance. Identifying such opportunities in the data can enable financial institutions to make the most of financial services direct mail marketing.

7. Understand the Importance of Frequency

When it comes to direct mail, remember that frequency matters. You don’t want to over-saturate your customers with communication, but it’s equally critical to ensure they don’t forget about your institution. Striking the right balance is key. Consider sending a variety of mailers—newsletters, seasonal offers, financial tips, or reminders—to maintain engagement without overwhelming your audience.

8. Test and Refine Your Campaigns

A best practice for any direct mail campaign is testing and refining. Use control groups and varied messaging to measure response rates and return on investment. These insights will help you refine your direct mail financial services strategy and ensure you’re reaching your audience effectively. Remember, what works for one demographic or market may not work for another. A/B testing can help identify what resonates most with different customer segments.

9. Emphasize Call to Action

An effective direct mailer always has a clear and strong call to action (CTA). Whether you want your prospects to sign up for a new credit card, apply for a home equity loan, or explore investment options, be clear about what step you want them to take next. A compelling CTA, coupled with an enticing offer, can significantly enhance your direct mail financial services campaign.

10. Incorporate Omnichannel Marketing Strategies

In the current digital age, while direct mail remains a valuable tool, it is most effective when combined with an omnichannel marketing approach. Syncing your direct mail financial services campaign with digital channels—like email, social media, or online ads—creates multiple touchpoints, bolstering the overall impact. It provides a seamless customer experience, reminding them of your presence across various platforms, and enhancing brand recognition and trust.


Woman at community mailbox area looking through her mail


The Demographics of Direct Mail Marketing

Did you know that direct mail resonates with millennials as well as their boomer parents? Here’s why.

According to The Financial Brand, millennials have a higher “open” rate and a faster response time to direct mail campaigns. And because they are so savvy about digital marketing strategies, an old-fashioned print message may be better at breaking through the noise. This response may be attributed to their discerning attitude towards marketing strategies, coupled with a desire for authentic, meaningful brand interactions. The tangible, personalized nature of direct mail aligns perfectly with these preferences.

On the other hand, boomers are familiar and comfortable with direct mail, having grown up with it as a prevalent form of communication. To them, direct mail signifies trust and nostalgia, which boosts engagement. Hence, both generations find value in direct mail for financial services, and understanding these motivations is key to crafting campaigns that resonate with a wide audience.


Woman in front of a pile of mail holding up an envelope


Exceed your marketing goals with PrintMail!

With more than 20 years of experience and an exclusive focus on the financial industry, PrintMail is your ideal marketing partner. We stay up-to-date on direct mail strategies so we can provide creative and data-backed solutions. And our dedicated digital marketing team is available to help with all of your multi-channel marketing needs. Contact us today to learn more about what direct mail practices are best suited for your bank’s marketing goals.

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