Direct Mail Journal

Direct Mail and Marketing Tips

Staying on Top of Direct Marketing Trends

Direct Marketing Trends

The global business landscape is expanding by the second and businesses are in stiff competition to reach prospective customers. To successfully attract leads and get them to patronize you calls for clever means of communication and marketing.

Over the years, marketing has undergone a tremendous revolution, and digital marketing trend is causing so much buzz.

While some people will argue that online or digital marketing is effective, it also has its limitations. Topmost on the list is that it takes away the personal feel of direct mail formats like postcards.

Way back in the day, popular marketing methods included the publisher’s clearinghouse, lift letters and the historical Johnson box.

As you can imagine, all of those direct marketing methods are obsolete and have no place in today’s fast-paced business landscape. Before discussing modern trends in direct mail marketing, let’s take a second or two to discuss the Johnson box and lift letter. Shall we?

What is the Johnson box?

Named after its inventor Frank Johnson, the Johnson box is placed at the top of direct mail letters. The Johnson box contains a catchy message that tells the reader the gist of the message — it is intended to grab the readers’ attention and hopefully get them to read to the end of the letter.

While Johnson’s box may seem like an effective marketing tool, it has tendencies of hard selling. Some customers and prospects may consider the Johnson box inappropriate for formal content like the sales copy.

Today the Johnson box no longer serves the purpose for which it is intended. It’s now been used in emails to highlight catchy information and give the reader a preview of the contents.

Other applications of the Johnson box are at the middle of web pages, where it’s often used to highlight important messages and testimonials.

Because most businesses are focused on maximizing their returns on investment (ROI), there is less spending and testing of single-letter elements like the Johnson box. As such, making it an unpopular direct marketing tool.

The lift letter

The lift letter used in direct mail marketing is more like a short note delivered alongside a direct mail package to get buyers to respond to your offer.

Interestingly it was found that a well-crafted lift letter can boost the response rate to an offer by up to 25%. The lift letter has been used to pitch promo headlines and other related products customers might be interested in.

Other times, lift letters are used as a stamp of endorsement or approval from regulatory bodies or celebrities with the intention of bonding with the customers and getting them to take your offer.

While adding lift notes or lift letters to your package may seem like an excellent way of catching your customer’s attention, some sellers tend to go overboard with it. What was supposed to lift the customer’s response suddenly turns boring and intrusive.

Postcards: the new trend in direct mail marketing

Yeah, you read that correctly. Postcards! You have probably been thinking that with so many high-tech marketing tools out there, why should anybody think about using postcards?

It works.

Postcards are economical, flexible, and very effective. They are arguably one of the best tools for targeted marketing campaigns. Postcard formats of direct mail can be used to create brand awareness, make announcements, follow up on customers, and can also be used as reminders to clients. They are affordable, and you can send one from anywhere in the world.

Why are postcards taking the lead in modern direct mail marketing?

Compared to direct mail letters, postcards have higher chances of been read. According to the U.S postal services, postcards are six times more likely to be read than mail letters. With the figures put at 94% against 14%.

In addition to their high readership, postcards make it possible to communicate with your customers in a friendly and social tone.

Then, it’s easy to track your marketing performance and ROI on every mail via customer responses.

In conclusion

Postcards may not be entirely new in marketing your brand, and most people will look away at the mention of this direct mail marketing format.

With adequate planning and strategy built around postcards direct mail, businesses can expand their market reach and increase their customer base while also boosting profit margins.

Thankfully you don’t have to manage your direct mail marketing strategy by yourself. We are available around the clock to offer our expertise and help you achieve your goal.

Zairmail ( is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.



About the Author

Wilson Zehr is a Direct Mail Industry Expert, Direct Marketing Specialist, and CEO of Cendix (, the leading provider of Web-to-print solutions that increase sales both online and offline. He is also the founder of Zairmail (, the company responsible for many "industry firsts" in direct mail.


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