7 Tips for Using Direct Mail for Ad Agency New Business

direct mail ad agency new business

Direct mail isn’t dead as a tactic for ad agency new business.

Raise awareness for your agency and keep top of mind with prospective clients by using direct mail. Most agencies fail at their own direct mail efforts because they give up after only a couple of mailings when they have little or no results. Direct mail isn’t dead. But its not very effective unless it is used consistently.

To be consistent, here are 7 tips:

  1. Keep it simple, a single concept that fits with your overall new business plan and additional campaign pieces. For simplicity I would suggest using an oversize postcard, 6 to 12 designs for monthly or bi-monthly mailings.
  2. Treat it like it’s a project for your agency’s most important client, because it is! Open a job, develop a creative brief, identify your target audience, have a start date and hard deadline for delivery.
  3. Develop a full years campaign at one time. Have it on the shelf ready for mailing.
  4. Outsource with a direct mail service. Let them print, pre-sort and stamp for efficiency. I’ve learned that the more things you can outsource the more consistent your efforts will be. Some can even pay for themselves in cost savings. An agency client of mine outsourced their direct mail for the first time, more than doubled their mailing at a savings of $72 not to mention the staff’s time that was saved.
  5. Purchase a mailing list. Most agencies don’t have the time and resources to develop and maintain their own data base. Executive positions change often. supplement your data with a targeted list of companies. Purchase a list for 1 to 2 years and multi-use. Names, titles and addresses plus phone numbers that you can use for your “warm call” program.
  6. Have a strong call to action. I would suggest driving traffic first to your agency’s blog site. The blog site is becoming the gateway to ad agencies and websites are more like an agency brochure or portfolio. Your agency’s blog can become a major lead generator.
  7. Don’t “over-create” your own direct mail piece. Agency’s tend to be too “self-critical” for their own promotional materials. Keep in mind that your target audience isn’t other ad agencies. So don’t be concerned about their opinion or whether or not your self promotional piece will win an Addy award. The best designed self promotional piece wont be successful if can’t get it out the door.

Your agency is probably like most. When you get busy doing clients work your own work is put on the back burner. So remember to keep your process simple so that you can be consistent. Consistency is the key to success.
photo credit: Éole via photopin cc

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. Great points here, as always. I would just like to add a couple of thoughts.

    I agree that it is important to think of your agency’s direct mail efforts in campaign terms. It is also important to consider what the campaign objectives are.

    Driving traffic to the agency blog is one objective. Another might be to obtain an in-person meeting for specific prospects.

    For example, when we conduct meeting-maker campaigns, we schedule multiple touches that might include one or two direct-mail pieces with follow-up email and telemarketing touches. Typically, there is some sort of offer involved. For an agency, this could be a content offer such as a research report, or a scheduled webinar.

    In summary, consider a time-limited offer, and organize your campaigns around driving response using multiple touch-points including direct mail, e-mail, and phone contact.

  2. Max,

    Thanks for taking the time to share your additional insights. Good suggestions.

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