What are the different forms of direct mail marketing

Flyers, brochures, leaflets, pamphlets, booklets… It can get confusing! Here’s how to know what’s what, and which to choose.

So you’ve got a great idea for a piece of direct mail. You know what you want to say… How you want to say it… You’re all set with brand colors, an eye-catching design idea, and your target market.

All that remains is to decide what kind of mail you want. And this is where it can sometimes get complicated! Do you go for a brochure? A pamphlet? A flyer? Or a leaflet? What’s the difference? Is there even a difference?

We’re exploring the various forms of direct and bulk mail in today’s article to un-confuse some of the complication!

postcard array

Difference between forms of direct mail

Who knew a simple bit of mail marketing could get so complicated! As if messaging, brand colours, and design aren’t enough, now we’ve got a bunch of different mail styles to choose from.

The good news is that once you know, you know! It’s partly about content, partly about physical design, but either way, you’ll never mistakenly refer to a flyer as a brochure again.

Here’s how to tell which is which, so you can make the best decisions for your own direct mail campaigns.


Direct mail flyers

Flyer distribution is the most common kind of mail you’ll come across. They’re a single piece of paper, usually rectangular or square, sometimes printed on one side and sometimes on both. No folds, nothing fancy.

They’re usually pretty cheap and quick and easy to print. However, we’re bombarded with flyers every day, handed out on the streets, stuck in your windscreen wipers, or stuck in your post box.

The key to being successful with a flyer is to make it eye-catching and make sure it’s high-quality and looks professional!

Choose a flyer when you’re promoting a single thing or event and don’t need to put a lot of info on the page.

Flyers are great for distributing amongst the general public. Make them eye-catching if you want them to be read before landing in the bin!

Leaflet mail marketing

Direct mail leaflets

Leaflets distribution is pretty similar to flyers. They tend to be a single page, sometimes printed on just one side and sometimes printed on both sides.

You can use the terms quite interchangeably, but if you’re a stickler for correct terminology, there are a few very minor differences between the two.

Leaflets tend to be a bit more high-class than flyers. Whereas flyers are often handed out on the street, outside stores, or placed randomly into mailboxes, leaflets are often aimed at a bit of a higher-class audience.

Typically, they have better paper and print quality than flyers. Flyers aren’t designed to be kept for a long time, but leaflets can be placed on a fridge and kept for future reference.

Because they’re better quality than flyers, leaflets are usually a bit more expensive to produce. Still cost-effective in the long run, though!


Direct mail brochures and pamphlets

The terms brochure and pamphlet are used interchangeably to describe the same kind of design. These bits of mail are folded, usually (but not always) into three sections.

Brochures are great for use when you have a fair bit of info that needs to be presented in a logical, flowing way. Having various panels to lay your info out on allows you to create more of a story-type flow to your content.

They’re also quite a lot more professional-looking than a simple flyer! You can get creative with folds, branding, and content sharing as you have a fair bit more space to play with.

A well-done brochure is like an extension of a business card. It contains everything the reader needs to know about your product, service, or event, and it also has easy-to-find contact details and addresses if necessary.

Choose brochure or pamphlet distribution if you need more space for information. You can get a bit creative with the layout, and it’s great for setting out your info in a story-telling kind of way.

Brochures are very versatile. You can choose how many folds you want, which makes it super easy to lay out your info.

children's booklet

Direct mail booklets

Booklet distribution is one the more comprehensive of the forms of direct mail we’ve mentioned. They’re often confused with brochures, but they’re a bit more robust and have the capacity for quite a bit more information to be displayed.

Instead of just being folded like a brochure, booklets are bound and held together with either staples, stitching, spiral binding, or glue. Booklets are also usually printed on high-quality material and may have a bit of gloss or sheen to them.

Another noticeable difference between booklets and brochures is that booklets consist of multiple pages. The minimum page count for a small booklet is 8 (2 folded and bound paper sheets), but you can get booklets of up to 72 pages, depending on your needs!

direct mail marketing being distributed

What type of direct mail should I choose for my marketing campaign?

Different forms of direct mail work better for different things. While you can go for a cheap letterbox distribution flyer in every campaign, it really would work best if you put a bit more thought into each campaign!

Consider how professional you want your piece of mail to be. Also, think about how much space you need in order to get your message across.

Finally, cost will also play a role, but keep in mind that whichever style you choose, direct mail is one of the most cost-effective marketing methods out there!

Now that you know the difference between forms of direct mail, you can make better decisions about your own letterbox drop campaigns!

Branding and content are important, we can’t deny that. But without a quality piece of mail that catches people’s eyes, entices them to read it, and lasts a good while, your message probably won’t be given the time of day!

Familiarize yourself with the various types of mail so you can make the best choices for each one of your direct mail campaigns. Different forms of direct mail will work better for different events and promotions!

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