Direct Mail Promotional Items & Gift Ideas for Staying Connected from a Distance

If you’re looking to connect with customers with promotional mail during these uncertain times, you can be confident they’ll appreciate the outreach. Most of us are at home and have been for weeks. If we have kids, they’re at home, too. We’re having groceries delivered and disposing of cardboard like it’s hazmat. If we still have work, we’re performing it within a drastically changed business landscape. Those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, including hospital workers, paramedics, firefighters, personal care and home health aides, cashiers, delivery drivers, and police officers, are working in unprecedented conditions.

We take some comfort in knowing we are all impacted and we shall recover together, as people and as an economy. Reminders of our shared experience are everywhere, and when it comes to the small business down the road or in the neighboring town, we think of them with sympathy, empathy, and determination to look ahead to new beginnings.

So if you’re a small business wanting to reach out to your customer base through a promotional mailer, now’s a good time and the seeds you plant will be sown down the road, and hopefully soon.

Direct Mail Offers Unique Advantages During This Time

  • With customers, employees, and students all working from home, direct mail is a key channel for connecting with your target audience.
  • Direct mail has a more personal, local, and traditional feel than email or online advertising.
  • Your direct mail, whether it’s a card alone or includes a promotional gift, can be posted to the fridge or kept on the counter as a physical reminder of your outreach and your availability—whether that’s now, or in a month or two or three.

Direct Mail Promotion Ideas: What to Express In Your Direct Mail Piece

Shared Experience

Acknowledge the tough times we’re experiencing and celebrate the heroes in your community (non-profits, healthcare workers, delivery people, grocery store workers, etc.), whether or not they’re directly attached to your business.

We’re Open

Let customers know what you’re able to offer. Your customers may not realize they can engage with you during this time. They may not have thought about a FaceTime session, Google Hangout, or Zoom meeting as a replacement for coming to your office or business. Your suggestions help. Some examples we’ve seen:

  • If a cancelled conference or other event prevented you from meeting a customer or prospect in person, let them know you’re available online.
  • If you’re a hair salon or nail salon, you may choose to offer touch-up kits by mail to tide your clients over until an in-person session is in order.
  • If you’re a restaurant or car repair shop, consider offering discounted gift cards and coupons to be redeemed at a later date.
  • If you’re a dentist, consider offering dental care packages to help patients who are missing their check-up.

Share Your Knowledge

Remind your customers you care about them and give them a tip or two that keeps you top of mind even if in-person meetings aren’t happening. If you’re a car mechanic, remind your clients to start their car on a regular basis. If you’re a gym or physical therapy facility, give customers a few specific exercises you recommend to keep them healthy.

Include a Gift

Lumpy mail (here’s our blog on the topic) gets more attention, and adding a promotional gift of any size to your direct mail promises an opened envelope and an appreciative recipient. We have some suggestions below—some focused on maintaining sanity in a house chock-a-block full with no escape in sight, and others on helping your recipients stay productive in an often make-shift home office.

Best Sellers at

Include an Action Item

Conclude your piece with an action item. It could be asking recipients to follow you on social media for coupons and announcements about reopening. It could be asking them to contact you within the next week to arrange a discounted appointment in the future. It could be suggesting a donation to a local non-profit that’s feeding first responders. Action, no matter how small, creates engagement between you and your customer and will help to keep your business in mind as things improve (and they will).

Tip: See more ideas for connecting with your small business customers during COVID-19.

Direct Mail Promotional Gifts to Include in Your Direct Mail Campaign

Support Employees, Students, and Customers Who Are Working from Home

Soft Touch Lyn Multi-Ink Stylus Pen

Paragon Pen & Stylus Tip

Good Value™ Office Desk Cube Organizer

Kingston Journal Book Tip: See our blog on how to adjust to working from home.

Support the Health and Well-being of Employees, Students, and Customers

Ear Plugs and Eye Mask Set

Plush Gel Beads Hot/Cold Eye Mask

Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Gel Packet

Color Therapy® Adult Coloring Book

Support Kids at Home

Coloring Book My Visit with a Police Officer

Saturn 7″ Flying Disk

Dart Rocket

Spinning Fun Cube

Tip: Get ideas for home activities for kids in our new blog post.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Reach Out

In this time of shared struggle, our similarities are stronger than our differences and the bonds we form now will be remembered for a long time to come.

Let us know what your promotional mailer looks like. Find us on Facebook and Instagram. Stay safe, stay hopeful, and we’ll see you soon!

Karleen Wise Andersen

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I’m here to help small businesses be their best.

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