How to DM

Direct Challenge

How direct can you be?

Direct Mail is a powerful medium that excels in getting a response, which is why it works especially well for charities. Here’s a few rules of thumb to help you produce a piece that gets noticed and gets you the results you’re looking for.


What is Direct Mail exactly?

Direct Mail is a targeted one to one printed physical piece of marketing communication, which lands through your letterbox at home, or on your desk at work.

Why do brands in 2019 need to consider Direct Mail in their media?

Customers respond to it incredibly well. Unadressed Direct Mail is also not subject to GDPR data restrictions, while adressed mail is opt-out, meaning all that’s stopping you growing your customer base in Ireland is learning how to do it and then deploying strategy and creative flair when you do.

What types of Direct Mail are there?
There are 3 types:
  1. Fully addressed. This is where you know the name and address of the person you are sending Direct Mail to whether in a business or in a house. You’ll need a good database for this. An Post have a marketing product ‘Reach+’ for addressed Direct Mail Campaigns.
  2. Partially addressed. This is where you have the address, but not the name of the person living there: ‘The Householder, 10 Davis Road’; ‘The Head of HR, Unique Energy.’ Addresses can be supplied by a third party such as Data Ireland, a subsidiary of An Post. from An Post is an online Direct Mail tool, which allows you to map your target area by location, and filter your customers by demographics including affluence, marital status and even number of cars. It lets you target as little as 200 households, making it a really cost-effective way to be direct.
  3. Fully unaddressed. Also known as door drops or flyers, this is where there is no data of name or address so every household or business you target gets the same piece of communication. An Post’s leaflet delivery service, Publicity Post, gets your message wherever it needs to be in Ireland on time, every time. Publicity post allows you to target more people than any other delivery company, with access to 1,651,300 addresses nationwide. And from only 9c (ex VAT), it delivers excellent return on your investment too.
What is Direct Mail good for?
To put it concisely, Direct Mail is good for a lot of marketing objectives, but like all media channels it depends how you use it, what you say, and the audience you’re targeting.
  1. Fully addressed. This is the best way to communicate with customers from your database.  Share loyalty rewards, thank them for a donation or continued custom, or remind customers when they are due an upgrade. You can acquire new customers too, by purchasing databases from a third party that include the name and addresses of a particular target audience. An Post has a number of pricing options depending on the weight, size and volumes of your mailing. For more, contact
  2. Partially addressed. This is where you want to make a connection with the recipient but don’t have their name. It feels more personal than fully unaddressed and the address/location can be used when targeting, for example “Amazing special offers for 13 Davis Road”. This is good for acquisition. With An Post you can target to as little as 200 households on a street and you can define your target market with Admailer’s Audience Selector tool.
  3. Fully unaddressed. This works well for widespread mass marketing and messaging for customer acquisition – you can target every household and business within 300 different geographical areas in Ireland. Publicity Post from An Post is a cost-effective way to ensure your mass market messaging gets to exactly where it needs to be.
What shapes and sizes can Direct Mail be?

The only limitations are your budget and your imagination. If you’re looking to minimise your costs, the following standard sizes are recommended. Once you are sending at least 2,000 pieces you’ll enjoy our Reach+ rate of 57c per item. Find out more with our ‘speed up your post guide’.

Here are the typical sizes and shapes for Direct Mail; bear in mind if it is to be addressed it will need a visible address (sounds obvious!)

Envelope size DL
(110 x 220mm)
This is the humble standard envelope and usually contains a printed letter/piece folded down to 1/3 of an A4.

envelope DL

Envelope size C5
(162 x 229mm)

envelope C5

Envelope size anywhere between
C5 and A4
There are lots of off the shelf envelopes like a 180 x 180mm square or 220 x 220mm square. You can find out more about how non-standard envelope sizes can affect delivery time here.

envelope 5 A4

Envelope size C4
(324 x 229mm)
This fits A4 size paper. Good for businesses but will need to be folded over going through a front door.

envelope C4

If you have more budget to play with, here’s just a few alternative formats that can give your piece even more cut-through.

Bigger than A4
These are okay for businesses but difficult for delivery through a standard letterbox.

envelope A4

Shapes like
circular envelopes etc. are all postable, however it’s important to check the postage rate for anything you are considering at an early stage of your creative process.

envelope circular

3D items
These items have to go into a box, tube, envelope or jiffy pack. An Post will deliver packets and parcels. Remember that 3D items usually cost more in terms of the item itself, the outer carrier and of course the postage, so if you are thinking of posting a brick as part of a campaign it may be prohibitive.

envelope 3D
envelope 3D


Whatever format you choose, the address needs to be clearly shown, and you must include a ceadúnas and your return address too. If you’ve any questions send a quick mail to