5 Ways to Drive Response with Dimensional Direct Mail

By Christina Davis in Direct Marketing on April 4th, 2016

5 Ways to Drive Response with Dimensional Direct Mail

It may seem like mail is old news and that email is where you should be focusing your direct marketing efforts and dollars. But we have five dimensional direct mail examples that will make you think twice.

The State of Direct Mail

  • According to the 2010 Response Rate Report, dimensional mail gets the highest response rate of any direct response medium: 5.72% from current customers and 3.59% from prospects.

  • The Direct Marketing Association defines dimensional mail as mail that’s more than .75 inches thick. It can be a box, tube or any unusual shape that’s effective in piquing curiosity, and, more important, getting it opened.

  • 79% of households report scanning or reading direct mail

  • 67% of all shoppers prefer direct mail

  • 92% of younger demographics prefer direct mail

  • Nonprofits receive 78% of their donations through direct mail campaigns

  • Almost half of all customers keep direct mail for reference

Dimensional Direct Mail

Although dimensional mailers can be costly, research from Baylor University shows it has 20 times the penetrating power and boosts demand generation by as much as 75% over flat direct mail. So even though you’re investing more money up front, you’re gaining a higher ROI.

And if you think direct mail is old news and that digital is where it’s at, you’ll be surprised to find out that, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), direct mail that engages recipients (such as dimensional mailers) is three times more likely to elicit a response than email.

So, if you’re ready to develop a direct mail package that will enhance your overall marketing campaign by improving open and response rates, the following five types of dimensional mailers may be your missing link.

The 5 Types of Dimensional Mailers

  1. Interactive – Most people think of digital when they think interactive but in this case it’s a mail piece you can get your hands on. Make your audience do something to get the message. Pull something, tear something, unfold or spin something. Whatever you do, invite them to engage with the piece. This allows the potential customer to engage with your brand, product or service.

    Example of direct mail marketing from Aflac

  2. Functional – While it would be great if every customer contacted you the minute they received your dimensional mailer, that’s a little far-fetched. However, if your mailer includes an object or gift that’s functional, such as a water bottle or something that can be displayed on a desk (which is also branded with your company logo), the prospective client will have you in mind when a need arises.

  3. Pop-up – Remember how exciting pop-up books were when you were young? Well, they can still be as exciting for adults — and totally unexpected. Although a pop-up mailer can take on the same size as a flat direct mailer, it creates additional heft and weight, which inspires curiosity and therefore MUST be opened.

  4. Package – You know the feeling you get when the mailman arrives at your door with a package? Maybe you ordered something you completely forgot about. Maybe it’s a present. You can replicate this excitement for your client. One caveat: make sure it does not disappoint when they open the package. Fill it with something useful as we mentioned earlier, or include a brochure along with some other deliverables that are nicely arranged using foam. Your prospective customer will be impressed by the presentation and your attention to detail.

  5. Special Folds – Specialty folds such as the iron cross roll, gate or accordion folds are an effective way to create dimensional mailers. Folds add thickness to a direct mail piece, which sets it apart from other flat mail and begs to be opened. While impressive, these do take more time to produce. Some direct marketing companies find folds to be too complicated so they will exclude them from their scope of work. BKV has special relationships with printers that have the technology to make the process of producing specialty folds especially simple.
    Direct mail marketing package from Aflac

These five dimensional mail examples speak for themselves when it comes to maximum impact. Although dimensional mail does make a big impact, don’t expect it to do all the work. Just because it’s a package, fun, interactive and/or functional doesn’t mean that it can communicate itself.

Remember, the same principals apply to dimensional mail as they do to flat mail.

Make a list and check it twice. Make sure you aren’t sending this piece to just anyone. As part of your marketing strategy, you’ll have already done your research on your target markets, which means you’ll see the highest ROI if you send this piece only to well-qualified leads.

Don’t just send and wait. Include the dimensional piece as part of a larger campaign series (i.e. along with an email, lander, letter package or postcard). This is what really makes the bang worth your buck.

Track everything. Because direct mail is measurable, every lead or order can be traced using source codes or other techniques. You’re going to want to know where your dimensional piece excelled so you can make sure to include these findings in your next dimensional piece.

Get personal. Personal communications continue to out-do generic communications in all categories. If your budget allows, use variable data on the outside of your package or inside your pop-up mailer. If not, don’t forget you can still include a letter or buck slip inside your dimensional mailer that includes variable data. Letting your prospective client know you know their name says a lot.

Send the right message. Even with a healthy budget, targeted list, personalization and tracking and metrics in place, your direct mail campaign won't perform without strong messaging. A solid message is crucial for any dimensional piece to be successful.

If you aren’t getting the response you need with flat mail, it may be time to wow your customer with a dimensional direct mail piece. It’s an impressive way to get your brand and message noticed while engaging your customers.

Using direct mail marketing is an integral part of a quality campaign that can employ multiple platforms and types of media.


If you’re looking to expand your marketing strategy, dimensional direct mail is an excellent path to choose.

Contact our experts today!