Despite the rise of digital marketing, direct mail remains a proven tactic for businesses looking to drive new leads and sales. But executing effective direct mail campaigns requires expertise in creative strategy, data management, printing and postal logistics.
Rather than managing in-house, many small businesses outsource to full-service direct mailing companies that handle everything from design to delivery.
This guide explores the top direct mail marketing firms recommended for small business owners in 2023. We’ll examine their services, pricing, and ideal use cases so you can determine if partnering with a direct mail provider could benefit your customer acquisition efforts.
Let’s dive in to picking the right direct mailing partner.
Table of Contents
What to Look for in a Direct Mail Provider
Here are the most important considerations when selecting a direct mail company:
Audience Targeting – Ability to target mailing lists by demographic, behavioral, and purchase intent data.
Design & Creative – Services for crafting compelling direct mail pieces – postcards, letters, catalogs, packages, etc.
Printing Services – Fast, high-quality printing capabilities in-house.
Mailing Services – Handling of address verification, mail merge, and delivery logistics.
Multi-Channel Options – Coordinating mail with digital, email, social, and other channels.
Analytics – Tracking response rates and direct mail attribution to demonstrate ROI.
List Management – Handling list rental, cleanup, and compliance like CAN-SPAM.
Budgets – Packages and services aligned for modest small business direct mail spend levels.
Vetting direct mail vendors against these criteria will help identify the best partner for your business and campaign goals.
10 Top Direct Mail Marketing Companies for Small Business
Based on expertise, services, and proven success helping SMBs execute winning direct mail campaigns, here are our top picks:
PrinterPrezz offers highly customized direct mail campaign services for targeted audience segments.
- Fully customized mailers
- Personalized printing
- Targeted mailing lists
- Multi-channel coordination
- Automated mail tracking
Highly personalized, data-driven direct mail campaigns.
Packages from $1,499/month
Postalytics focuses extensively on response rate optimization through best-in-class creative and execution.
- Direct mail creative Design
- Print and mailing logistics
- List sourcing
- Personalization and customization
- Multi-channel campaign integration
- Testing and optimization
Driving maximum response rates from direct mail campaigns.
Packages from $2,500 per month
Full-service direct marketing firm offering direct mail along with digital and lead gen capabilities.
- Direct mail creative and production
- Digital ad placement
- Call and lead nurturing services
- Customized marketing plans
- Multi-touch attribution
- In-house printing and mailing
Integrated direct response campaigns with call center follow-up.
Small business packages from $2,500 per month
All-in-one direct mail provider handling creative, printing, addressing and delivery logistics.
- Design templates or custom creative
- Targeted in-house mailing lists
- Personalized printing and messaging
- Automated mail tracking and notifications
- In-house production from start to finish
End-to-end direct mail execution with minimal effort required.
Starts at $10 per mailer – discounts for volume
5. Direct Mail + Digital
Provides integrated direct mail and digital campaigns with personalized messaging.
- Creative and copywriting
- Personalized mail and email
- Behavioral data list targeting
- Multi-channel campaign management
- Automated marketing workflows
- Telephone response tracking
Bringing the capabilities of digital marketing to direct mail.
$3,000 – $7,500 per month packages
6. Anchor Printing
National commercial printer offering direct mail creation and mailing under one roof.
- Creative design services
- Fast in-house printing
- Mail merge and addressing
- USPS postal logistics optimization
- Direct mail tracking and reporting
- Lists and data services
Affordable end-to-end direct mail without sacrificing quality.
Starts at around 10 cents per printed mailer
7. More Ink Marketing
Boutique direct mail agency focused on maximizing ROI through targeting, personalization, and multi-channel techniques.
- Targeted mailing lists
- Personalized mail creative
- Multi-channel campaign coordination
- Print and mail logistics
- Performance tracking and optimization
Leveraging personalization and behavioral data to increase direct mail results.
Around $5,000 – $10,000 per month
8. Direct Mail Partners
Specializes in highly-targeted direct mail campaigns customized for each client’s products and profitability goals.
- Demographic data list targeting
- Personalized mail creative
- Print and mail logistics
- Lead capture and sales rep follow up
- Call tracking and ROI analytics
Hyper-targeted, highly-personalized business-to-business direct mail.
$3,000 – $7,500 per month
National printing franchise with direct mail creative, printing, and mailing services.
- Graphic design and copywriting
- Print solutions – digital, offset, large format
- Mail services – addressing, sorting, USPS handoff
- Direct mail tracking and analytics
- Variable data printing
End-to-end direct mail execution combined with commercial printing
Starts at around 10 to 15 cents per printed mailer
Specializes in postcard and small direct mail pieces with online design-to-print capabilities.
- Design templates and custom creation
- Digital printing of mail pieces
- Address verifying and mail prep
- Direct mail tracking and analysis
- List rental and sales options
High-volume, affordable postcard and small mail campaigns
As low as 9 cents per postcard depending on volume
This covers trusted direct mail leaders capable of guiding you through planning, design, printing, targeting, analytics and more. Most offer free consultations to discuss your specific goals.
How Much Do Direct Mail Services Cost?
Direct mail costs vary based on components like design time, printing, list acquisition, personalization, and volume. Here are typical ranges:
Creative Design & Strategy
- Simple postcard or mailer design – $200 – $500
- Personalized mail piece design – $500 – $1,500
- Highly customized creative with multiple versions – $1,500 – $5,000
- Postcards or letters – 5 to 15 cents each
- Dimensional or premium mailers – 15 to 40 cents each
- Full color printing adds 10 to 25 cents per piece
- Address list acquisition – 5 to 20 cents per name
- Mail merge and addressing – 2 to 8 cents per piece
- Postage – Around 20 to 30 cents per mailer
- demographic filtering – $100 – $500+ per list
- Behavioral or intent targeting – $500+ per list
- Email list matching for cross-channel campaigns – $100 per thousand names
- Automated response tracking – $100-$200 per month
- Call center lead follow up services – $2,000+ per month
- Multi touch attribution – Around 10% to 20% of total campaign cost
For a small business sending 5,000 postcards, plan around $2,500 – $3,500+ for a start-to-finish campaign. Costs scale up from there based on volumes, personalization, formats, and targeting complexity.
What is the Best Direct Mail Piece for Small Business?
Here are some of the most effective formats for small business direct mail:
Postcards – Inexpensive, easy to personalize and track opens. No envelope needed.
Catalogs – Showcase products or services visually. Drive web traffic.
Dimensional mailers – Increase curiosity and engagement with 3D mailers. But costs increase.
Educational booklets – Establish expertise and trust with how-to guides customers will retain.
Announcements – Share news like store openings, product launches, events.
Appointment requests – Drive calls and conversions with calendar templates and special offers.
Thank you/Appreciation – Reward existing customers and build loyalty.
Postcards make a good entry point into direct mail. As budgets allow, dimensional and personalized mailers boost results.
Direct Mail Pricing Factors
Key elements that influence direct mail costs:
Design Complexity – Simple postcard vs. premium package, custom printing, versions, etc.
Print Quantities – Cost per piece drops as volume increases.
Enhancements – Dimensional elements, special coatings and textures.
List Quality – More precisely targeted lists have higher data costs.
Personalization – Per-recipient customization adds production time and complexity.
Integration – Coordinating direct mail with other channels adds management costs.
Performance Tracking – Enhanced response attribution and analytics requires additional investment.
Outlining your budget, volumes, design preferences, and customization needs helps direct mail firms tailor a proposal with accurate pricing.
What is a Good Direct Mail Response Rate?
Industry benchmarks for direct mail response rates:
- Average – Around 2% to 4% response is typical
- Good – 4% to 7% is solid for good creative and targeting
- Excellent – Over 7% is exceptional for direct mail
For example, a 2% response rate on 5,000 mailers equals 100 responses.
Response varies based on your offer, creative, list quality, and follow-up. Monitoring and optimizing results is key.
Direct Mail Pricing Comparison
To help give an idea of cost ranges, here is a pricing comparison across top direct mail providers:
|Provider||Postcards||Standard Mailers||High-End Mailers||Lists/Data||Campaign Management|
|PrinterPrezz||Starts at 7 cents||Starts at 25 cents||Starts at 45 cents||From 5 cents/name||Packages from $1,499/mo|
|Postalytics||Starts at 10 cents||Starts at 29 cents||Starts at 49 cents||From 10 cents/name||Packages from $2,500/mo|
|Goldstar Marketing||Starts at 9 cents||Starts at 39 cents||Starts at 59 cents||From 8 cents/name||Packages from $2,500/mo|
|PFL||Starts at 10 cents||Starts at 35 cents||Starts at 50 cents||From 6 cents/name||Starts at $10 per mailer|
|Anchor Printing||Starts at 8 cents||Starts at 19 cents||Starts at 39 cents||From 5 cents/name||Starts at 10 cents per mailer|
These represent roughly average prevailing rates – request custom quotes for exact pricing tailored to your direct mail campaign needs.
Making Direct Mail Work for Small Business Budgets
Tips for maximizing direct mail results on a SMB budget:
Target narrowly – Small, hyper-targeted lists often convert better than broad spammy campaigns.
Personalize – Use first names, location details, purchasing data to make relevant.
Use postcards – For the budget conscious, postcards eliminate envelope costs.
Offer discounts – Special savings and vouchers incentivize responses.
Land on the best days – Test sending on Tuesdays thru Thursdays when engagement tends to be higher.
Match digital ads – Coordinate your mailings with social and search ads.
Prompt responses – Provide calls-to-action to phone numbers, websites, or emails.
Partner strategically – Co-op with defined partners to promote special cross-promotions.
Test extensively – Iterate on creative, lists, offers, timing, and channels to optimize results.
With careful planning and tactical execution, direct mail can drive new business with a positive ROI – even for cost-conscious SMBs and startups.
Key Direct Mail Services to Ask Providers About
Here are some key services to inquire about as you evaluate direct mail providers:
- What are your capabilities around customer list targeting and segmentation? Do you maintain in-house targeted lists?
- How are design and creative services priced? Are revisions included?
- Do you offer in-house commercial printing or work with select print partners?
- How automated are your mail merging, addressing, and mailing processes?
- Do you consult on ideal direct mail formats and offers based on our business?
- Can you match mailing lists to our existing customer email lists for multi-channel coordination?
- Do you handle postage optimization, USPS coordination, and mail tracking?
- What direct mail performance analytics and reports do you provide?
- How can you help us continually improve and optimize response rates?
The answers will help determine if a provider is a good fit for your goals and approach.
Pros and Cons of Using a Direct Mail Marketing Company
Pros of Direct Mail Providers
- Handle end-to-end execution – design, printing, mail prep, postage, delivery
- Expertise creating compelling direct mail pieces
- Access to targeted customer mailing lists
- Potentially lower costs centralized vs in-house
- Automation handles tedious addressing and mail merge
- Analytics and tracking provide performance insights
Cons of Direct Mail Providers
- Loss of full creative control outsourcing vs in-house
- Added costs of agency fees and markups
- Less flexibility responding to insights vs in-house iteration
- No proprietary advantage – your competitor can use them too!
If your strategy would benefit from targeted recipient lists, strong creative, and distribution logistics, an outsourced provider likely makes sense. Just maintain involvement in each step.
Key Direct Mail Services Checklist
When vetting and selecting direct mail agencies, ensure they offer:
- Audience list building and management
- Creative design and copywriting
- Personalization capabilities
- Print production and mailing logistics
- Integration with digital campaigns
- Performance tracking and analytics
- Optimization using insights and testing
- Packages and budgets tailored for SMBs
Having expertise, processes, and tools surrounding these core services separates leading providers from printers simply cranking out mail.
The Bottom Line
- Response rates for strong direct mail range from 4% to 7%, translating to solid conversion volumes off large mailing lists.
- Design, printing, mailing, list sourcing, and tracking costs add up, with typical costs ranging $2,500 to $5,000+ for small businesses.
- Postcards make an affordable entry point to test direct mail. Dimensional and personalized mailers boost engagement.
- Narrow segmentation, personalization, promotions, and tight targeting help maximize direct mail results on a budget.
- With the right partner, outsourcing creative, printing, and mailing can provide speed and expertise.
- Look for providers focused on maximizing ROI through optimization – not just executing basic logistics.
While digital channels capture the hype, proven direct mail techniques still deserve a role. With the recommendations in this guide, find a trusted direct mail marketing partner to turn your cold outreach into tangible sales and leads.