Interested in personalizing your direct mail with variable data printing but not sure where to start? We know how overwhelming the options can be, and we’re here to guide you through it.

For starters, variable data printing (VDP) is where you can switch out text and images from one printed piece to the next. With this type of digital printing, it doesn’t slow down the press and it uses information from an external data file.

Variable data printing goes beyond just changing out the name and address on every mailer. Images, text, and colors can all be individualized for each recipient.

It lets you go the extra mile in personalization. As a result, increasing brand loyalty and retention rate.

Here are 5 different ways you can personalize your next direct mail marketing campaign with VDP.

1. University Pamphlets and Brochures

For colleges and universities, you can design a mailer targeting an individual with their academic interests.

Variable Data Printing

For example, Southern Connecticut State University is known for their nursing program. They can send out brochures or pamphlets tailored specifically for prospects interested in healthcare. Conversely, they can also do this to target students interested in teaching or the sciences.

If someone was interested in art and English, it wouldn’t make sense to send them a pamphlet about pursuing history.

Personalization is key, and you want to know who you’re targeting. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the design of your pamphlet is if the information isn’t relevant for the receiver.

To broaden your reach of prospects, you can purchase mailing lists. You can tailor these lists down to different demographics such as age, income, where they live, etc.

2. Coupons and Promotional Mailings

Nearly everyone appreciates a bargain and saving money. In our last post, we talked about how it can increase brand loyalty and boost sales.

If you have a new store, consider sending out a coupon saving 10% off their first purchase. Like with universities, you can purchase mailing lists for people in the surrounding area of your new business.

You can personalize these offers by tailoring them to your customer’s likes and previous purchase habits. For example, they regularly purchase chips from a certain brand. You can tell them about a new flavor that you carry from that brand.

Variable Data Printing

doggyloot: They ask for information about your dog. This information is used to tailor future promotions for you and your dog.

Or, you can send out a Father’s Day coupon to dads or a coupon off cat food for cat owners.

The possibilities are endless with the ease of personalization. Get creative and see what works!

Coupons always give incentive to keep a brand in mind.

3. Nonprofit Donation Requests

Last year proved to be a challenging time for all of us. For example, nonprofit organizations that mostly function due to their donors had a rough time especially.

At Graphic Image, we helped Mission Lazarus develop a larger format for their donor letter. This allowed for larger graphics and more space for personalized messaging without any increase in unit cost.

It resulted in a 300% increase in donations over 2019 — in a year of pandemic and general nonprofit revenue losses. It was a huge success.

Variable Data Printing

We know how well personalized messaging works, and we’ve seen it time and time again from client testimonials.

For this reason, consider prompting past donors with a personalized mailer. You can highlight their past donations, to try to get them to match it or go even higher to “beat” their last donation.

This strategy is great for putting some pressure on your donors and increasing engagement. Also, it emphasizes how much you value them as a donor.

All in all, it’s a win-win for everyone.

4. Postcard Reminders for Appointments

If you’re anything like me, you immensely appreciate the reminders you get in the mail from the doctor, dentist, etc.

Gentle reminders telling you that your dog is due for their annual checkup or your child needs to get their next round of vaccines.

Variable Data Printing

The mailers show me they care to take the extra effort informing their customers that something important is coming up.

This improves customer retention rates, as they’re more likely to follow-up and schedule the appointment with you.

5. Personalized Landing Pages

A landing page is a standalone page on your website created specifically for a promotion or marketing campaign. It’s where a visitor “lands” on your website after clicking on a search engine optimized search result, online advertisement, or marketing email.

Personalized landing pages (PURL) take that concept further. PURLs are catered to a specific individual or group of people.

On your next direct mailer, consider putting a QR code or URL that’ll take them to a personalized landing page.

Variable Data Printing

Taking this further, design the PURL to show products tailored to that individual’s tastes or give them a unique offer code. You can also put up information and imagery specifically for them.

For example, a pet insurance company can put stats about your pet on a PURL along with an image of your pet/breed. There can be a form to fill out that’ll give you a coupon to use, or show you products you might like for your pet.

It’s endearing and shows me they care about my pet and I. Brands that go the extra mile make all of the difference.

Another upside, PURLS help you gather data on your customers about what they’re interacting with online. You can use this information to make the next campaign even more unique.


There’s a myth floating around that direct mail is expensive and difficult. By all means, we’re here to show you how that’s not the case.

After all, personalization is king in marketing.

Using variable data printing takes your marketing campaign to the next level. It’s easy and includes no extra cost. Contact your printer and they’ll be more than happy to help set everything up for you.

You want your customers to trust you and to feel valued.

Show them that you’re listening and paying attention to their needs with your next marketing campaign.

Have further questions about variable data printing? You can email us at or contact us here.