Create a Direct Mail

Last update: 2023-09-22
  • Created for:
  • Beginner

The Direct Mail channel allows you to extract a segmented list of recipients to be sent to an agency or uploaded to an SFTP server.

This video explains how to configure a Direct Mail delivery and what settings are required in order to be able to add a profile to a Direct Mail delivery.


Hi and welcome. Today I will show you how to set up direct mail and ACS. The same engine that powers digital communications such as email and mobile can personalize direct mailers as well.

The direct mail channel differs from the channels that you know like email, SMS, and push as it allows users to extract a segmented list of recipients to be sent to an agency.

It does not create the content of the direct mail itself. as well as within the workflow view. as well as within the workflow view. For example if you would like to automate the process and send the file to an STP server you can do this in the workflow. Let’s create the direct mail.

This channel comes with a predefined template as all the channels do. Our predefined template is called deliver by direct mail. This little mailbox icon indicates a direct mail delivery. And if you would like to create your own template, you can do this by copying the deliver by direct mail template and modifying the copy, saving it as your own. So I did this.

I choose a name for my delivery.

And you can segment your audience like with any other channel but we can already see a difference. So let me quickly choose an audience.

Up here you can see a difference. Direct mail allows you to add trap profiles. The trap profile would be an address that will allow you to check if what is being sent is actually what you expect to receive.

So if you receive other mailings than they expected ones to this address, it is an indicator that something went wrong. Let’s add a trap profile. Trap profiles are just like test profiles. The only difference is that this little icon here shows you that this profile is a trap profile. So we’re going to choose it. I can add as many trap profiles as I like. I can choose where in the output list I would like to insert these trap profiles. You have three options: you can respect the sort order as defined in the files, so example, alphabetically, or by age, or by customer segment or customer segment or whatever.You sort your file as you can put it at the start of the whatever you sort your file as. You can put it at the start of the file or at the end of the file. So I’m going to put it at the start of the file.

And now here is the major difference. Where in the other channels you would find the content, we find the structure of the output file that we’re creating. You add the output file name which can be customized and I would strongly suggest to customise it. In my case, I put the brand name, the ID, which is the delivery ID. You can add any personalization, field content block, dynamic text etc. What you should do is either add an ID, or best practice as well add a date, so that you can uniquely identify your file. The output columns you can define which information you would like to add to the file. In this case I’ve decided I want first name, last name, the address. You can add any element that you have available on the profile. For example, I might want to add a customer ID. might want to add a customer ID. You can also add sorting. You can sort for example, by any of the labels that I have here, so I could sort by customer ID, I could sort by last name. On the next tab you define file structure, so you can decide if you would like to have a text file, if you would like to create a csv file. Is that a header? The first line is that a header? You have different column separators, delimiters, double quotes, single quotes, no delimiters. Do you want the line feed or the cr/lf or none? then coding format etc.

You can define if you want to export the labels instead of the values of the enumeration, define the date formats. If you’re in the US, if you’re in the UK, if you’re in Europe, you would have different date formats. The same thing for a number format. So all this is defined here. You can add a header to your file. In this case, I’ve called it my direct mail campaign.

So now we’ve set everything you can test it. You can prepare it. Again, to change the content you click here. Audience and schedule is the same thing. The important thing here If you do it manually, of course, in the workflow the schedule will be set through the work flow, but for a manual delivery, you need to set the schedule. You can schedule it to a later time, or if you want to execute it now, just choose the date and it will take the time that you’re in right now.

I will now click on prepare.

Also slightly different to the other channels, here once I’ve prepared the file I can actually explore the file. I can download it. I can view it and I can regenerate it. So let’s take a quick look at explore in the file. So here I see this as my header that I’ve decided. Here are my column headers. If you remember correctly, we had Aaron McDonald as our trap profile and there’s no information here on the address. We’ll look into why that is in a second. I will explain everything that you need to set up on the profile. We have our customer ID. And then here we go on. These are my first hundred, they are displayed in the preview. If I download the file, I can see the full file. If I look at the file structure and I see that we need to change something.

So for example, I do not want, let’s say the customer ID, I can do that.

And the only thing I need to do is regenerate the file, rather than preparing it again. And if I explore the file now, you see here the customer ID is gone. So if you change anything in the structure of the file, it is sufficient to simply regenerate it. If you change anything with regard to the target audience, then you would need to reprepare. You can then confirm it and then the file is available. You can also download it beforehand. You have reporting available. You have the direct mail summary report. And if you look here I chose my audience, 545, and I only have 40 to deliver. And again we had one address that didn’t have an address in there. And why are so many excluded? And if I look at the exclusion logs here it tells me the address is not specified.

So let’s take a look what that means.

So there is one very important setting in in the profiles that you need to be aware of for direct mail.

So I’m going to go into one of the profiles Go here into the profile, the Profile Properties and we will take a look. Once you’re in the Properties when you scroll down to the address section, down here, and expand it, expand it you will see that there is a checkbox that says Address specified in a big warning sign if you do not have it checked which basically warns you to the fact that this address is not marked as specified and so it cannot be used in the direct mail delivery. So this checkbox here and only this checkbox, defines if a profile is added to your direct mail delivery or not in general. Obviously it also has to fall into your segmentation criteria. That’s clear. But if it can be added or not. If I click this this address can be added. Now if you remember our trap profile didn’t have any address lines filled in. Why is this? This address specified checkbox does not have a control mechanism It will not check if the address fields are filled in. Why is that? Because we don’t want to limit you. The address lines, the address field, city, country, zip code, state etc. They are not mandatory. None of these are mandatory because it really depends on which country you are sending to or even which organization you’re sending to. For example you have universities that only have the city and the zip code but might not need an address line. So this is not limiting you but it also means that if this Address specified checkbox is checked and this profile meets your segmentation criteria, it will be added to your list, even if the address fields are empty. So you need to be aware of this. -

Create a Direct Mail within a workflow

The channel is available from the home page and within the workflow view to define cohesive, cross-channel marketing strategies. The following example workflow includes the Direct Mail activity.

Workflow Image

See the product documentation to learn more about Direct Mail

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