How Much Does Direct Mail Cost in 2022? | Taradel

How Much Does Direct Mail Cost in 2022?

Direct mail marketing might seem like an outdated promotion technique, especially in the age of digital marketing. Yet, direct mail campaigns remain one of the most widely used marketing strategies.

And there are several recent studies and surveys to back that up.

According to studies, direct mail recipients purchase 28% more items and spend 28% more money than those who don't receive the same piece of marketing mail. These two stats translate into an excellent ROI (return on investment) of 29%.

But as great as ROI is, it doesn't paint the complete picture regarding the overall value direct mail provides.

The reality is that the cost of direct mail advertising campaigns differ significantly depending on several variables. 

What impacts direct mail costs? How much can you expect to pay for your direct mail marketing campaign? And how to make the most out of such a campaign?

We cover that and more in the following comprehensive direct mail advertising costs guide.

What Is Direct Mail Marketing?

Simply put, it's a type of direct marketing that involves sending physical correspondence to prospects and/or customers. It can be a simple flyer, catalog, or postcard that typically involves an offer,  CTA (call to action), basic information about a business, and contact info.

At first glance, it may seem like an old-fashioned way to promote one's business. But, direct mail campaigns are still an integral (and irreplaceable) part of modern marketing campaigns.

Direct mail benefits include:

  • higher level of customer interaction
  • improved reach
  • more ways to get creative
  • lower competition

What's more, new technologies have made direct mail campaigns easier than ever to plan, set up, launch, and track. Even an inexperienced advertiser can launch a direct mail campaign in less than ten minutes.

Using direct mail marketing software allows marketers to create campaigns faster, providing them with the necessary tools to find the right audience, design engaging materials, and then distribute them more affordably.


Direct Mail Costs

An average direct mail campaigns costs somewhere between $0.30 and $3.00 per mail piece. For most small business advertisers, the cost is typically on the lower end — especially for straightforward postcard marketing efforts.  However, some marketers end up spending even as much as $10 for a piece of mail.

Your per unit cost will depend on several direct mail cost variables. These are:

  • copywriting and design costs (often done in-house)
  • format costs
  • mailing lists (if necessary)
  • printing costs
  • distribution costs (postage and shipping)

Let's break them down one by one.

Design Costs

Design plays a significant role in your direct mail marketing campaign. It can mean all the difference in the possible success or failure of the entire campaign. Think about it. With the abundance of junk mail consumers are bombarded with, designing an appealing and unique marketing flyer or postcard is more likely to draw attention.

As for designing your direct mail pieces, you have three options. You can either design in-house, use a free online design template, or hire a professional.

The first and second options are the cheapest, but there's a catch. You may need to have an in-house graphic designer. If you're a small business that doesn't have someone who can handle such projects, then you will have to opt for one of the two remaining options.

Let's start with templates. They are free and allow you to save tons of time on designing a specific direct mail piece. They aren't the most sophisticated, though, and may lack the level of customization that your business or offer requires.

Now let's discuss using professional services. On paper, this design option may seem the least affordable. However, it's likely to provide you with the best result. And while hiring a freelance designer can get quite costly, many direct mail service providers offer design as part of their services.

When using Taradel, for example, design costs vary between $100 and $300 depending on the size of your direct mail postcard. An effective yet affordable option.

Copywriting Costs

Similar to design, you can outsource copywriting or do it yourself. By doing it in-house, you will be able to save money, but be sure you know how to do it.

Writing a marketing copy is an art; not many people can do it effectively.

It has to be creative and, at the same time, convincing enough to persuade a consumer to take action. That's why it's so vital to have or hire someone with experience.

If you don't have an in-house copywriter at your disposal, hiring a freelancer should cost you somewhere around $0.10-0.20 per word. That said, the overall cost of writing your marketing materials will depend on their length.

For direct mail pieces, you can expect to pay around $100-$200. However, more renowned copywriters can charge even up to $2,000 for their services.

Of course, it will all depend on your needs. Often, you may not even require a comprehensive copy when creating a flyer or a brochure.

If you do, however, we'd recommend using a professional service rather than writing something yourself. After all, once you send your marketing mail to the world, you won't be able to change it.

Format Costs

Another factor that dictates the direct mail cost is the format of your marketing material. Its type and size will play a huge part here, significantly affecting printing and mailing costs, among others (we'll get to them in a second).

When it comes to choosing the format of your direct mail, it will depend mostly on your marketing target needs. When it comes to direct mail types, you can choose between:

  • Postcards / Flyers - the most common format in direct mailing; they are cost-effective and perfect for communicating simple offers, ideas, and messages.
  • Letters - this type of direct mail is more sophisticated, with most businesses using it to communicate more personalized messages.

When using Taradel direct mail services, you can choose between EDDM postcards and flyers (which deliver to every household in your target market area) or Personalized Mail, where each piece is addressed to a specific recipient.

Mailing List Costs

If you have an established customer base, you can use your own mailing list and spare yourself any expense involved in creating one. However, if you're new on the market or want to reach a new target audience, you'll have to spend money to buy information.

There are several ways to do it.

First, you can get information from other companies in the industry. This may get quite costly, considering you'll be buying information from your competitors.

Another option is to get such a list from a list broker. They compile information on customers across demographics, providing businesses with direct mail lists. They typically charge between $0.03 to $0.25 per record.

The last option is using Mapfire, Taradel's neighborhood audience targeting app. With Mapfire, you can find where your target audience lives quickly and efficiently. It comes with numerous features, allowing you to adjust your search based on demographic and geographical factors.

The app will use its unique algorithm to show you where opportunities exist, allowing you to create your own targeted direct mail campaign to the right neighborhoods.

Print Costs

With other direct mail cost factors being relatively affordable (all things considered), printing can get quite costly.

What are the exact costs, though?

These will depend on several variables, such as the quality of paper, ink, size, design, lettering, and volume. In essence, the more sophisticated your design, the more you can expect to pay per unit.

Typically, you'll be charged something between $0.03 and $2.00 per unit, depending on the complexity of your project.

It's also important to note that many printers offer bulk discounts. Typically, the more you print, the lower the per unit printing costs, which is why it's recommended to conduct larger-scale campaigns when it comes to direct mail marketing.

Some businesses also try to cut printing costs by using lesser-quality paper or going for a low-quality design. While it may save you a few bucks, it will also adversely impact the final effect.

Postage Costs

Once you have your project printed and your mailing list ready, it's time to post your materials. That's not free either, with the postage cost depending on the current postage rates provided by the United States Postal Service.

When it comes to that, you need to rely on the Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) system used by the USPS for mail advertisement flyers and letters. This cost varies between $0.16 and $0.19 per delivery.

Given these rates, sending 1,000 direct mailing units through the EDDM will cost you somewhere between $160 and $190 in postage.

To keep things more cost-effective, opting for the Taradel EDDM Postcards and Flyers campaign might be a better idea. It covers all costs involved in the direct mail campaign, including design, printing, mailing services, postage and delivery. 

Other Direct Mail Cost Factors

Although the factors above play the most significant part in the overall direct mail campaign cost, you may run into several additional costs when planning your campaign. These are:

  • Personalization costs. Personalized mail is more expensive, but it significantly improves your marketing chances by standing out from the competition.
  • Integration costs. You can integrate your direct mail campaign with other marketing channels to increase your customer awareness. Most direct mail services offer such a feature, although you should prepare to pay integration fees to add multi-channel impressions.
  • Volume. The more units you order, the less you'll pay per unit. It's a golden rule of direct mailing campaigns (and any other marketing campaigns, to be exact).

It's also important to note that various direct mail service providers and agencies use different pricing. Keep that in mind, compare the companies, and pick the one with the most beneficial pricing for your budget and needs.

How to Calculate Direct Mail Campaign Costs?

Once you understand all the costs coming with creating a direct mail campaign, calculating its per unit costs will become much more straightforward. The best way to do it is by using a cost per thousand (CPM) measure.

To do that, take the total cost of your direct mail campaign and divide it by 1,000. This is how most marketers and direct mail service providers calculate their direct mail costs. And as you'll quickly realize when using this method, the higher the volume, the more affordable the entire campaign becomes.

Long story short, if you want to save money on your direct mail advertising, opt for in-bulk mailing.

Here's a little example to prove that advice.

Let's say you open a new Italian restaurant. Naturally, you need to find customers and convince them to visit your premises. You decide that the best idea is to send out flyers with your menu and some marketing information about your business.

Would it be better to send out 1,000 flyers or 10,000?

Let's break it down. Suppose you spend $100 designing your flyer. The printing costs are $1.00 per unit, with postage costs being $0.19 per direct mail sent. It all adds up to a direct mail campaign cost of $1,290.

Now, for 10,000 pieces, you'd be looking at substantial savings as printing is much more efficient at higher quantities. You could mail 10,000 similar postcards for around $3,600, including postage.

Of course, this is a very simplified scenario (it also doesn't include the cost of acquiring a mailing list). Printing costs will vary between printers, and they may use different ways to calculate their pricing. You can expect huge discounts when printing in bulk, though.

What to Consider When Calculating Direct Mail Costs?

Knowing how much you'll pay for launching and running a direct mail campaign is vital in making the decision on whether to implement it into your marketing strategy. But there are also other factors at play here, and you need to consider them as well. These are:

  • Your marketing budget. The chances are direct mail is not the only advertising channel you want to use. Think about your marketing budget as a whole and calculate how much money you can spare on direct mail.
  • Your products or services. Not all products and services are created equal. Some require flashy images and colorful printing, whereas others might benefit from more sophisticated copywriting. Think about your target audience and adjust your message accordingly.
  • The reason for your campaign. What do you want to achieve with your campaign, and who is your target audience? For example, people who know your brand may expect a rather condensed and personalized message. On the other hand, more extensive brochures might work more effectively when targeting cold leads to attract new customers.

How to Save on Direct Mail Campaigns?

Yes, despite being one of the most low-cost and effective marketing tools, direct mail advertising can be made even more affordable. And we're not talking here about cutting costs on cheaper printing or lower-quality design.

What we mean is a solution that will not only cut costs but also improve your campaign's overall effectiveness. Enter the marketing automation platform from Taradel.

Our all-in-one marketing platform allows marketers and business owners to plan, design, launch, and track direct mail campaigns.

Say goodbye to calculating variable costs and contacting agencies or vendors. Our direct mail pricing is clear and covers every single cost involved in running a direct mail campaign, including design, printing, and postage.

The tool also comes with advanced features such as comprehensive data tracking, personalized mailing lists, and multi-channel marketing integration. We'll take your direct mail strategy to a whole new level. And the best thing is, we'll do that without making a dent in your budget.

Our pricing is clear and 100% all-inclusive. Using Taradel, you may end up paying as low as $0.29 per mail piece.

Cut your direct mail costs and make the most out of your campaign. With Taradel, achieving your marketing goals has never been simpler.

Final Word on Direct Mail Advertising Costs

Yes, at first glance, direct mail campaigns don't seem like the most effective and affordable way to promote one's business. They involve multiple variables and fixed costs, and in the age of digital marketing, such campaigns do seem a bit outdated.

However, coming with high ROI and several unique benefits, direct mail advertising remains among the most popular marketing tools available. And as discussed in this guide, also relatively affordable and very effective, especially when automated.

The average cost of direct mail marketing campaign typically varies between $0.30 and $3.00, but with automation software like Taradel, you can cut these costs even further and arm it with additional features like data tracking and multi-channel integration.

Contact us today for more information, and learn how we can meet all your marketing needs while cutting your direct mail cost. 


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