Looking for New Ideas?

Try these direct mail offers that have a proven track record!

Just like fonts, colors, and design style, the techniques used in direct mail marketing change with the times. Just look at a magazine or a catalog from a decade ago. But there are some approaches that stand the test of time. Tapping into timeless principles can help you create offers that resonate with your customers yesterday, today, and tomorrow. But how do you come up with those offers?

One way is to search the database of Who’s Mailing What!, an online archive of more than 100,000 direct mail pieces. WMW! offers many filters, one of which is “grand controls”—campaigns that run over and over. What better way to get ideas than to see what has worked for others?

Let’s look at some of the offers used by mailers in WMW!’s “grand controls” group:

You’re Pre-Qualified

When it comes to buying power, credit approval is everything. Whether recipients are worried about their creditworthiness or not, the appeal of guaranteed approval will always resonate with a portion of your audience.

No Annual Fee

While not as many credit cards have annual fees as they used to, this offer appeals both to the lure of “free” and FOMO—the fear of missing out. “This is a good deal. What if I pass on this offer and the next card offer isn’t as good?”

$0 Fraud Liability

No one wants to be on the hook for a scammer. Not being held financially responsible for fraudulent activity is an appeal that never goes out of date.

Earn More Cash Back or Let Rewards Pile Up

Who gets tired of hearing that they can earn free stuff? Nobody!

Get Credit Moving In the Right Direction

Ah, the power of the credit score! Even if a recipient’s score is good, it could always be better, right?

Flexible Payment Dates

This offer automatically gets people thinking about the possibility of the unexpected. What if they lose their jobs? Or have an unexpected expense that prevents them from making their payments one month? Desire for security is a powerful motivator.

Membership/Opinion Survey

Consumers love to be heard. Whether it’s 1981 or 2021, this message never gets old.


Notice that these “grand controls” tap into emotions that are baked in to the human psyche. These motivators don’t change, so it’s no wonder that these direct mail offers continue to produce results.

How will you apply these concepts to your own marketing?


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