Cross the Border – Expand Your Marketplace with International Direct Mail

bluenoseAs they say at Disneyland – “It’s a small world after all.” The world is shrinking every day, which means plenty of opportunity to reach a completely untapped market for your organization. Don’t be scared of international direct mail; it sounds complicated and confusing, but with an experienced list house and mailing firm, it’s a piece of cake.

If you’re still not convinced consider the fact that Canadian and international markets receive far less direct mail than U.S. consumers. Not only will you stand out and get opened, but in many countries the concept of direct mail is still very new and folks are actually excited to receive your offers; best of all they also typically pass it along to family and friends. U.S. consumers receive an average of 290 pieces of direct mail per year, Canadians an average of 130, and international markets an average of 15-70 annually. These numbers make for pretty good odds that your piece has a much better shot anywhere else other than the U.S.

A majority of the world has a high percentage of English speakers and most are interested, if not enamored with American products. I’m not suggesting a strategy where English is forced down their throat; tailoring your message is always the best plan, but international consumers are very comfortable doing business with a U.S. company.

Some of the other cultural differences that make a substantial case for trying global direct mail include the CanSpam law and the fact that online/social media are engaging far less consumers than in the United States. CanSpam or the Canadian Anti-Spam Law restricts many forms of email marketing; steep fines and legal ramifications prohibit many companies from using email marketing. That’s a beautiful thing because tried and true methods like direct mail are still king. Online marketing and social media is far less popular as a means of engagement outside the U.S, again here less channels to market through means a greater likelihood that your global campaign will generate an exciting response.

How to Develop and Execute a Global Mail Strategy


Pick a Test Country to Start With

Start slow; pick a test country to cut your teeth on. Canada is ideal, with very few language or cultural barriers, its different enough, but not overwhelming.

Research Trends and Cultural Biases for the Country

Do your homework. Find out what trends are hot and if there are any cultural issues to avoid. In many countries overtly sexual images and messages are extremely offensive; best to take a very conservative approach overall. Find out what language is spoken and troll for slang buzzwords that may catch their eye. You could also save yourself some time and engage a reputable translation service to convert your message for the audience.

Plan Your Campaign Offer and Message

Same as in any marketing effort, basic campaign planning is critical to successful results. Define your target market, create an audience-focused message, develop engaging offers to encourage response, and lastly design an attractive, yet culturally aware direct mail piece.

Engage Experienced Global List Firms and Mail Vendors

It sounds funny, but this might be the most important step of all. The international market is very specialized and requires experienced vendors for a seamless execution. Once you’ve identified your core market, a good list firm can help select appropriate regions and demographics to reach ready buyers in any country. International addresses are longer, more lines, and harder to manage. Experienced list and mailing firms know how to label pieces for greatest deliverability. To actually get your piece into the hands of a buyer requires a mailer with deep knowledge of international mail processes, customs rules, and able to process paperwork required to guarantee the piece makes it to the final destination.

Be brave and cross the border with global direct mail. You never know what kind of awesome results you might get unless you give it a try!

Ready to cross over and try international direct mail? At Three Dog Logistics we offer a reliable international mail delivery that can save your organization time and money. Canadian and international mail can be sent at a single international postage rate. Remember, we take the bite out of postage and freight. Visit or call 410-284-5494 extension 340 to schedule a complimentary consultation today.