Does Direct Mail work for Freelance Writers?

How many times per week do you receive direct mail (post cards, sales letters, brochures, etc.) from local businesses? If you are like me, the answer is a lot! I am not the type of consumer that responds well to direct mail, but that’s just me. There are many people out there, including businesses of all sizes, that take a close look at every piece of mail they receive.

This leads to a very important question: does direct mail work for freelance writers? Early this year I set out to find the answer.

My plan was to send 500 postcards to local businesses. The goal of the postcard was to explain my business, and of course, encourage the company to contact me regarding my services.

The results were encouraging – especially since I set my sights pretty low. Of the 500 postcards sent, I received eight phone calls, five emails, and quite a few visitors to my website. Even though 13 responses out of 500 is a response rate of about two percent, it was enough to show me that this type of marketing is a great idea.

You are probably wondering how many of the 13 turned into a client, right? Well, I was able to close four deals. Since each company awarded me at least two projects, I more than made my money back from the initial investment. Additionally, I am still working with two of the clients more than eight months later.

From what I can see, direct mail is something that all freelance writers should try at least once. Who knows, if you send enough mail, postcards in particular, you may find yourself with more clients than you can handle.

Profile image for Chris Bibey
Chris is a full-time freelance writer based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He specializes in web content, sales copy, and many other forms of writing. Chris has two books in print, as well as hundreds of articles in local and nationwide publications.

6 thoughts on “Does Direct Mail work for Freelance Writers?”

  1. When I think of postcards, I think of those cheery, hand-scrawled messages with a pretty picture people send you when they go on holiday.

    But obviously that’s not what you mean in this context 😉 Could you please explain a little more about your postcards? I was told by a business coach I should get DLE fliers printed out and write a sales letter to go with them when I sent them – trouble is, I’m not convinced that they would even be opened (in my former life I often didn’t bother opening mail that I thought would be advertising) and anything that makes them more likely to be read is worth considering!

  2. Hi Chris,

    Just a question on your target market list – did you personally compile a list of handpicked clients or did you buy your list from direct marketing company that sells lists?

  3. The cost of a campaign can vary greatly. Are you going to send a few letters that you print up yourself? Or a batch of postcards that are professionally designed? There is no “set way” of starting a direct mail campaign. While it does cost money, sometimes in excess of a $1k investment, spending some can help you earn a lot more in the future.

  4. Hi Chris, I really am curious about the acquisition of the list you used in this direct mailing. Did you compile your own contacts for this mailing or did the list company supply you with a list of target prospects? Your results are quite positive actually. Thank you for any feedback you can supply.


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