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The Direct Mail Advertising Costs of an Effective Campaign

In a world of emails, texts and tweets, beautifully printed postcards and mailers are even more valued. They stand out among messages that vaporize within a few seconds. Useful postcards are posted to refrigerators, right next to “Kinder-artwork” and enjoyed for days or weeks to come. Not every mailer makes it to the place of honor. A catchy offer and colorful image help. So do printing professionals who know how to grab attention. But, what’s the cost? Here are the direct mail advertising costs that go into an effective campaign.

Budgeting for Direct Mail Advertising Costs

Budgeting is a key component to any marketing campaign.

For print marketing, and specifically direct mail marketing, evaluating costs will help you stay on track.

These are professional services and printing expenses that you can expect in every direct mail campaign:

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The cost of printing is influenced by black and white printing, 2-color or 4-color process, 1- or 2-sided printing and volume. The final tally can vary, but can be as little as a penny per piece depending on the size, color and scope of the print job. The more you print and the more standard the size, the cheaper each mailer costs!

Don’t forget specialized print services, such as  variable data printing because they can add to the cost. But they could pay off by creating a memorable postcard that makes it to the refrigerator.

Mail List

If you don’t have a list – or you’d like to try to reach a different demographic – you can compile a list of new homeowners, or customize your own mailing list for anywhere from 1.5-cents per address. Don’t forget to ask the company that compiles the list how many times you can use it.


Depending on your method of mailing, the size and weight of your mailer. The cost can be as little as $.19 per mailer. A professional direct mail marketer may know tactics to help you trim delivery costs and pass along the most cost effective postage rates

Value Versus Cost

To determine how much you ultimately want direct mail marketing costs to be, start from the end and decide on your goal. 

Think about how much a new customer is worth to your business and budget accordingly.

Here are a few questions to hep you get started on budgeting your next direct mail campaign.

direct mail advertising costs vs value

How to calculate return on investment?

Let’s say you were able to purchase 10,000 widgets at the discounted wholesale price of $1 each, which is a steal because they normally cost $3 and you sell them for $5 retail. At the discounted price, you can afford to offer them for 20% off and make 50% more profit of $30,000 after the cost of the mailing.

If the average widget sale includes 4 per purchase, then you need 2,500 sales to make your goal.

How many people can you reach?

If your house mailing list is 27,800 individual households, you may reach your goal as the average response rate for a mail campaign is 9%, according to the 2018 DMA Response Rate Report.  If your list isn’t long enough, you may have to supplement with a prospect list that the report says will get about a 5% response rate – but this will cost you. But, if you make your profit numbers, isn’t it worth it?

What will it cost if you don’t advertise?

When you tally up your direct mail advertising costs, you may hesitate because it may appear to be a lot. But, what if you don’t bring in additional revenue or customers? Then your company would fail to grow and your sales may even decrease, due to customer attrition.

A company’s health relies on a steady influx of customers, and a direct mail marketing campaign can help. If you’re ready to reap the rewards of direct mail advertising, contact the professionals at One Stop Mail to get started today!