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Direct mail may seem like an outdated strategy, but that’s far from the truth. When done well, it can be an effective sales and marketing technique that delivers promo content straight to consumers’ mailboxes. To help you pick the best one for your business, we researched and tested a dozen direct mail services. Based on our experiences, Gunderson Direct is the best choice for most because it offers completely custom services, free consultations, fully-managed campaigns, and in-depth reporting.
The Best Direct Mail Services for Most
Gunderson Direct is our favorite direct mail service because it’s a full-service direct marketing agency that focuses on reliability, measurability, and scalability at its core. As an established award-winning player in direct mail with decades of combined experience, you get the added advantage of an entire team of experts bringing their strategic expertise to the table.
To sweeten the deal, the company leverages a proprietary testing and optimization framework that continuously improves its direct mail strategies over time. The team even handles creating and mailing campaigns for you.
The Best Direct Mail Services To Consider
- Gunderson Direct – Best for most
- NextDayFlyers – Best for next-day printing
- Lob – Best API integrations
- Cactus Mailing – Best for Google Ads campaigns
- Postable – Best for custom-designed cards
When It Makes Sense To Invest In Direct Mail Services
With the digital world all but dominating, you might be wondering why and when it makes sense to invest in direct mail services today. The truth is, direct mail services are still an efficient way of reaching customers, and there have been multiple studies, including this one, that shows how useful they can still be.
For example, you could be a small, local gym looking for ways to keep your existing customers engaged in the face of increased competition. Using direct mail services here, you could send out custom fitness calendars that help your customers stay on track with their exercise, building trust and boosting engagement with your brand.
Email overload is a real thing. With so many companies using online advertising to reach customers, it can be challenging for new businesses at the start to stand out. Direct mail services are a helpful tool for expanding your brand’s reach early on, as with a physical piece of mail in a customer’s hand, you build up your brand’s legitimacy and grow recognition as a result.
You might find yourself needing to drive people to your business website but are seeing low numbers of traffic overall. Direct mail services can be highly effective at getting people to check out your site, even if it’s just out of curiosity. That curiosity could lead to a new and loyal customer, all because you sent mail instead of yet another email.
If any of this sounds familiar, then direct mail services are more than worth a look. The temptation to write them off in favor of online campaigns is a mistake many businesses make, but that can be your advantage.
#1 – Gunderson Direct – The Best for Most
Gunderson Direct is a reliable choice for startups and larger companies alike due to the wealth of expertise and customized service it provides.
With more than 18 years of building direct mail programs, what you get with Gunderson Direct is a complete direct mail service backed up by data. For instance, after each campaign finishes, the service provides comprehensive reports with benchmarked results to your KPIs. Extra insights detail new opportunities and help to improve your performance over time.
Companies are getting the lot here, from messaging and offers to analytics. Add to that an award-winning design team that offers beautiful and bold designs, top-notch attention to detail, and strategic planning that understands how to target your audience and boost responses.
For professional, customized services like this, you won’t find prices listed directly on the site. Instead, you’ll have to reach out for a quote.
#2 – NextDayFlyers – The Best for Next-Day Printing
Best for Next-Day Printing
Need a superfast turnaround for that promotion you've been working on all month? Look no further. NextDayFlyers does what it says and sends out mail in a flash. Rent out mailing lists, customize your service, schedule multiple dates in advance, and get help from qualified experts.
Some companies need a lightning-fast turnaround, and NextDayFlyers is here to answer the call.
It’s the perfect choice for businesses that run time-sensitive promotions and need the guarantee of fast delivery. With the service, you’ll be able to send out postcards, mail rack cards, and brochures along with other custom products. You can rent mailing lists to see potential customers and customize them based on your exact marketing requirements.
On top of that, you can schedule multiple mail dates in advance, every address you send to is verified first, and there are qualified direct mail specialists ready to assist with campaigns, products, and your new ideas.
The table below gives you a good indication of the general costs:
What you send, the quantity, and the printing cost itself all factor into the total cost here—more detailed prices are available too. As you customize your campaign on the platform, you’ll get to see real-time costs displayed.
For more information, you can contact NextDayFlyers here.
#3 – Lob – The Best for API Integration
Lob allows businesses to automate their direct mail and address verification and offers fast delivery to boot.
With the service, you’ll be able to send mail out with no batching or other manual process involved. Best of all, Lob offers easy-to-integrate cloud-based automated program interfaced (APIs) that help you to streamline workflows around direct mail—it’s easily implemented with developer-friendly software development kits (SDKs), giving you power and flexibility to get the job done.
Lob allows you to update content in real-time for continued optimization, features SOC2, GDPR, and HIPAA compliance, and provides real-time mail statuses to inform your workflows. You can track your mail production, progress, and delivery in a few clicks and schedule specific delivery times to meet your marketing needs.
Lob comes in four main tiers:
The Developer tier is for one user, and you can try it out for free. The Startup tier is for three users and offers in-transit mail tracking and up to 3000 monthly mailings. The Growth tier goes further, and up to five users can use the service, along with user roles, permissions, and 25 templates. The final level is for Enterprises and offers everything from the existing tiers plus folded self-mailers, custom envelopes, and the analytics dashboard.
#4 – Cactus Mailing – The Best for Google Ads Campaigns
Best for Google Ads Campaigns
Direct mail combined with the power of Google Ads campaigns? Yes, Cactus Mailing offers that and more besides. You get an award-winning graphic design team, high-quality mailing lists, and customized postcards delivered straight to customers’ doors.
Cactus Mailing is a budget-friendly direct mail service for businesses across multiple industries.
While it’s a direct mail marketing service on its own, the notable difference with Cactus Mailing is that it can combine the strength of direct mail with Google Ads campaigns. We’re talking about the use of Google display ads to complement and support your direct mail efforts. Keep in mind there’s no multi-channel marketing available, but there is Google Ads—for some, that’ll be more than enough.
On the direct mail service alone, you’ll get fast turnaround times of around five to six days—this can be made faster for a higher price—and a full-service graphic design team that provides customized postcards. For its mailing lists, Cactus Mailing uses high-quality data from Acxiom and Dun & Bradstreet and offers a range of direct mail lists so you can target customers more accurately.
You can request pricing details from Cactus Mailing here—a free, no-obligation marketing plan for your business is also available.
#5 – Postable – The Best for Custom-Designed Cards
Best for Custom-Designed Cards
Hundreds of customized templates, Smart Handwriting fonts, and fair prices no matter what you need, Postable has a lot to offer small businesses. If you want to engage your clients with that special human touch, sign up today and get 20% off your first order.
Postable is ideal for smaller businesses that need to send out automated and handwritten cards to their top customers.
You choose from hundreds of templates and upload your contact list as an Excel or CSV file. From there, Postable will print, stamp, and mail your cards as required. Custom stationery is available with thousands of designer cards that are editable as you wish.
We particularly like how you can import your contact list and use trigger cards that are sent out to customers automatically for several occasions throughout the year—boosting their engagement with your business and allowing you to focus your time elsewhere. It’s a good option when you need to reactivate customers with a personal touch, too—Smart Handwriting fonts help achieve this.
Cards with envelopes cost $2.25 per card, and postcards are $1.32 per postcard. It’s free to sign up, and you’ll get 20% off your first order.
Methodology for Choosing the Best Direct Mail Services
Here you’ll find the most critical factors you need to consider when picking the best direct mail services for you.
Different businesses require different things. The direct mail service you need will depend on your industry more than anything.
A local restaurant won’t need the same service as a vast B2B company. On our list, for example, Gunderson Direct is ideal for financial advisors and telemedicine. In contrast, Postable would be better for small businesses that need to send out custom handwritten cards to clients.
In other words, think about your company’s industry and then use that to help decide the most appropriate direct mail service for you.
Direct mail services offer various turnaround times, and this affects companies individually.
For instance, a company that needs to send time-sensitive promotions will need to be sure they get a fast service—an expired promotion is a waste of time and money, after all. Other businesses may need to use a direct mail service for more regular brand-building exercises and therefore don’t need the fastest turnarounds.
Think about the turnaround times your company needs, and then pick the most suitable direct mail service from there.
Marketing across multiple channels is a wise choice. Some of the best direct mail providers fuse their existing services with other marketing channels.
Direct mail providers may employ platforms such as Facebook and Google Ads in addition to their services for a broader marketing approach. A single company handling the bulk of marketing communications can be cost-effective for newer businesses.
Think about how important additional services are for you and your company.
Direct mail services are a helpful tool that companies shouldn’t neglect in our all-encompassing digital world.
The best choice for most is Gunderson Direct because of its customized services, expertise, and in-depth reports.
For next-day printing, go for NextDayFlyers, while Lob offers easy API integration.
Cactus Mailing is a top choice for companies that want to use Google Ads Campaigns, and Postable enables small businesses to send out custom-designed cards.
Be sure to consider the turnaround time, the industry, and any extra services you need before making your final decision.