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Direct Mail Glossary & Jargon Buster

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In this article, we define some of the most common direct mail technical terms and jargon.

Bulk Mail – sending large volumes of mail at reduced posting costs.

CMYK – an abbreviation for the four printing process colour inks – cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

CTA (Call To Action) – a piece of messaging on your mail that tells your customers what you want them to do next.

Database – a collection of personal information about customers and prospects such as names and addresses that you will use to post your mail.

Data Cleanse – removing or correcting the records in a database.

Digital Printing – a type of printing in which an image is sent directly to the printer using digital files and information.

Direct Mail – a method of marketing which involves sending commercial literature to customers and prospects through the post.

Direct Marketing – selling products or services directly to customers such as through physical marketing materials like direct mail.

Enclosing – inserting printed materials into an envelope.

Fulfilment – the process of preparing a direct mail campaign for collection.

Indicia – a pre-printed mark on a piece of mail that indicates the postage has been paid.

Inkjet – a method of printing where the ink is sprayed onto paper.

Lithography – a printing process in which an image is created using plates with areas that absorb or repel ink.

Mailing House – a company, such as bakergoodchild, that prepares and organises large scale dispatch of letters, packages, and parcels for delivery.

Mailing List – a list of names and addresses of people to whom the mailing material will be sent.

Mail Merge – merging two or more lists into one and removing any duplicates whilst doing so.

Mailshot – sending promotional material to a large number of people through mail.

Partially Addressed Mail – a standard addressed advertising mail product that identifies customers in households using geo-demographics at postcode level, without the use of personalised data.

Personalisation – using personal information such as a customer name in your direct mail to create individualised messages.

Polywrap – a clear wrap which can be used to enclose a mailing.

Postage – the cost of sending letters or parcels by post.

Print Bleed – colour or images running past the edge of a printed page.

Response Rate – a method of quantifying the success of a mailing campaign based on the number of sales vs the number of pieces mailed.

ROI (Return On Investment) – measures the performance of the campaign by calculating the return made compared to the cost of the investment.

Seed List – testing a piece of direct mail before it is sent to the full database.

Segmentation – dividing a mailing list into smaller groups by certain data such as location, demographic, interest, or buying patterns.

Self-Mailer – a direct mail piece that is designed with space for an address so that it can be sent without an envelope.

Split Test – A/B testing different variants of a campaign such as offers, text, images, or mailing dates to see which is most effective.

Transactional Mail – mail sent to complete a transaction with a customer.

Undeliverable – a piece of mail that is returned to the sender as undeliverable due to an incorrect name or address.

Variable Data Printing – a form of on-demand printing in which elements such as text and images can be altered from one piece to the next without stopping or slowing the printing process.

For more helpful tips and advice on the terms defined here or any aspect of direct mail, get in touch with our experts today and we will be more than happy to answer any questions you have.


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