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There’s a reason why direct mail is often referred to as junk mail. The tedious letters promising “big savings” and “best deals” are often tossed before anyone’s even opened them because they fail to offer anything new or interesting. But direct mail doesn’t have to be straightforward. There are tons of unique ideas to promote your business.

Some of the best direct mailers are referred to as “lumpy mailers” because they aren’t letter sized. Lumpy mailers are fun to receive in the mail because it makes the customer feel more important than just a advertisement. Customers are also more likely to keep the mailer if they find it interesting or useful.

Here are 10 fun and creative designs that can help inspire your next direct mail campaign.

1. Coconut Mailer


This is a wild and crazy idea: Instead of stuffing your offer in a regular envelope, put it in a synthetic coconut. The coconut zips, so you stick your letter inside, then zip the coconut and put it into a clear plastic mailer, so that people can see what’s inside. They’ll be so curious about the wrapping that they’ll definitely open it up.

Don’t feel pressured to use a coconut, customize it to your company. If you are a stone mason, send one of your rocks with an engrained logo with contact info. Customers can use it as a paper weight and will remember your company when they need a stone mason.

2. Fortune Cookies


No one can turn down a fortune cookie – these slightly sweet, fun-to-open treats are tasty to eat and always inspire a hoot when the fortunes are read. Make sure your message is small enough to stick inside the cookies so that the recipient has to crack one open to hear your pitch.

If you are a Chinese restaurant, send a box of fortune cookies stuffed with your contact info to businesses around the area. The multiple cookies will be dispersed and you could get a few new customers from this clever mailer.

3. Silver Platter

Silver Platter

If you have an idea so great it should be delivered on a silver platter, why not do exactly that? This silver platter builds the perception of value into your direct mail piece. Have your message engraved on the back side for people to read.

Take this idea to the next level. If you want to let a connection know they are always welcome at your place, send them a chair with their name on it (don’t forget to include your company name as well). Of course, this direct mail idea can’t be done on a large scale so choose wisely when to use it.

4. Message in a Bottle


The message in a bottle is a classic way to deliver information. It’s playful and it really engages the recipient, because they have to screw off the lid to get to the contents of the bottle, i.e. the actual offer. The bottle should be attractive with a label about your company, which should relate to the bottle theme in some way. Don’t forget the message inside the bottle needs to be equally attractive so people will read it.

5. A Personalized Mug

Don't Fucking Procrastinate Mug

Who couldn’t use a personalized mug to drink their coffee or tea? This mailer shows that you really went the extra mile to personalize your offer. It’s nearly impossible to toss something like a personalized mug, because it has such an obvious use. Don’t just put your logo on the cup, include a funny or interesting picture or quote.

You can also include an additional pitch bundled inside the cup with candy, pens or various other goodies. The mug mailer is a great way to thank clients for coming in to hear a pitch or trying out a fulfillment company’s software. “Mugging” your customers is mandatory if you run a customer service company.

6. A Trash Can

A Trash Can

This may be on the upper end of your price limit, but it is a great way to garner attention. The trash can is big and almost impossible to ignore. Plus it’s a bit tongue in cheek – usually people put the direct mail offer in the trash can. But this time the trash can is delivering the direct mail offer.

Once again personalize this idea to meet your industry niche. While the trash can would be considered clever for 1-800 Got Junk, it wouldn’t be appropriate for a public relations firm. The idea is to send potential customers something they would find useful around the home or office. Therefore, they would keep your object to use but it would also remind them if they ever had a need for your company.

7. Boomerang


This is especially effective to try to win back business that you’ve lost. Simply put the message “We want you back” on the boomerang and hope it whizzes back to you. This mailer can be used for just about any company and boomerangs are cheap and easy to package and send.

8. “Dynamite” Stick


If you really want to “blow someone away,” try this faux dynamite stick. Roll up your mailer and stick it inside, and wait for the “fireworks” to begin after your target sees the great offer. Make sure you specify to pull the string to see the message.

9. A Bank Security Envelope


Want to show how valuable your direct-mail offer really is? Stick it in a bank security envelope, where it’s guaranteed to attract the attention of those who like to spend (or save) a few bucks. This is a great mailer for banks, investors and other money related companies to send their pitch about making more money.

You can even print your pitch on fake dollar bills that you can fold to look like real money till the person flattens it out. Hopefully, the potential customer will hold onto the bag to use and will be reminded of your clever offer.

10. Life Savers


Finally, it never hurts to give someone candy. Line a box with Life Savers and say it would be a “life saver” if the recipient could take a look at this great offer.

You can use this sweet idea with other candy as well. Use Goodman bars to raise money for a charity, Smarties and nerds when asking someone to join your team, or a LOOK! Bar to grab anyone’s attention.

Posted by Alicia Lawrence

Alicia is a content coordinator for a web design company and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land.

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