Direct Mail

Reach vs. Frequency in Direct Mail Advertising

By 18 January 2024February 16th, 2024No Comments
direct mail reach vs frequency with millennials

Reach vs. Frequency: How to Prioritize Marketing Spend to Get Best Results

When was the last time you responded to a marketing email? A week ago… a month or year ago- Oops you don’t remember, Right! But, you may remember the last time you saved a direct-mail coupon to redeem it later. That’s the power of direct mail! It is personal, attention-grabbing, and result-driving. However, marketers are often confused around questions, like- what is the difference between reach vs. frequency?

direct mail reach vs frequency with millennials

In short, reach is the number of people you mail, whereas frequency is the number of times you mail the same people. Reach and frequency are crucial metrics in direct mail marketing that help marketers conduct effective campaigns.

However, be careful with these metrics as they directly affect your campaign ROI.

In this blog, we will discuss the difference between direct mail frequency and reach in an offline mailing campaign. We will also help you determine which metric you should prioritize to maximize results.

What is Reach and Frequency in Advertising?

Frequency and reach help businesses decide the scope of their marketing campaigns. They are significant in the planning stage of a campaign wherein marketers need to determine whom to mail, how many items to mail, etc.

Reach is the total number of mailing addresses in your list. Suppose you plan a large-scale advertising campaign to reach 10,000 people; your marketing reach will be 10,000. You need to have a huge marketing budget to expand your reach and connect with more people.

In contrast, direct mail frequency refers to mailing the same group of people multiple times. If you mail marketing postcards to the same 2,000 people five times, your frequency is five.

Please note that there is an inverted relationship between reach and frequency. Though it may seem like an excellent idea to expand your reach and frequency, it can pose some serious budget issues.

Thus, marketers need to develop the right reach and frequency formula to create a balance and optimize their marketing dollars.

When Should You Prioritize Reach And Frequency In Advertising?

Some people are interested in your mail items but forget to respond. They are so caught up in their daily lives that your letters or postcards fail to enter their to-do lists. But, you can go back and grab their attention once again by focusing on your direct mail frequency statistics.

Some direct mail frequency best practices include frequency capping and testing which we will discuss ahead. But are you sure you want to prioritize frequency overreach? Under which circumstances should you mail to the same list more than once?

Below are the top two situations when you should prioritize direct mail frequency:

  • You have a niche target audience, and your prospects are widely spread out
  • Your prospects are already hunting for a product or service similar to yours

In both the above scenarios, mailing to the same people frequently can ramp up sales and increase visibility.

When discussing reach vs. frequency advertising, marketers may think that reaching out to more people is more beneficial than repetitive campaigns. But, they should focus on reach only when:

  • They have a huge marketing budget
  • They have a generic audience (e.g., restaurants)
  • They want to conduct a brand awareness campaign

PostGrid’s direct mail API can help you conduct standalone and recurring campaigns, both at reduced costs.

Advertising Reach vs. Frequency: Which One Wins?

The short answer to the question- Reach vs. Frequency, which is the better strategy for direct mail is frequency. Yes, it is more profitable to send marketing messages to the same potential customers repeatedly than to target a huge number of people just once.

This theory may seem counterintuitive to you at first but can yield better results. It takes a company at least six to eight touches before a prospect turns into a lead. Hence, it is evident that the higher your direct mail frequency, the better your chances of conversions.

Also, it doesn’t make sense to mail thousands of people altogether and forget about them. Customer-company relationships need nurturing over some time before they can produce any positive results. Thus, it is always better to side with frequency in the advertising frequency vs. reach debate.

Try to strengthen your personal and emotional bonds with prospects to optimize your campaign performance.

After all, reaching people in huge volumes without frequency can waste money, time, and effort. Such one-off campaigns can rarely generate long-lasting, helpful results.

Direct Mail Frequency Best Practices in Reach and Frequency Advertising?

Effective reach and frequency are significant in increasing brand reputation and response levels. But, as said above, prioritizing frequency is better in more than one way.

Below are some steps you can undertake to improve the effectiveness of your mail campaigns using frequency:

Take Care of Your Timeframe

Mailing frequently requires you to plan out your campaign timeframe properly. Ideally, it would help if you did not mail a person more than two times a month.

Also, don't plan your campaigns too far apart, as your prospects might forget you completely. Your purpose should be to brush up on their memories, not start from the beginning each time.

Use Frequency Capping

The effective reach vs. effective frequency may lead you to believe that you can mail as many times as you want. But, it can do more harm than good. Hence, consider using direct mail frequency capping to control your mailing levels.

It is the process of monitoring how many items you send mail to the same people. This way, you can avoid spamming your prospects’ mailboxes and causing marketing fatigue.

Segment and Test

It is crucial to test your reach and frequency practices to check whether your plans are working out properly.

In some cases, you may not be sending out mail frequently enough, or you may be overdoing it a little. The only way to decide the optimal reach and frequency levels is to test your programs and see what is best for you.

You may be sending your marketing items to the same list, but it is not necessary to mail the same things. Mix it up a little and experiment with your mail design, colors, offers, CTAs, headlines, etc. This way, you can determine what your audience likes and use it to your advantage.


Every business has different requirements and marketing goals. You may or may need to increase your direct mail frequency. Thus, there may not be a standard answer to which is better- reach vs. frequency.

However, focusing on direct mail frequency statistics is always a safe choice. Once you decide on an optimal frequency for your campaign, you are ready to go!

If you need any help conducting an offline mailing campaign, try using PostGrid’s direct mail services. To get started, talk to our sales team now and see how we can help you decide between reach and frequency!