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Starting up starts with us


Serving primarily
e-commerce companies
in the San Francisco
Bay Area that have no
experience with direct
mail, we can, of course,
help start up clients
wherever they are.

Starting up Starters and Start-ups

Amherst Direct is the boutique direct mail & catalog marketing consultancy serving e-commerce companies ready to test the viability of making money with direct mail or catalogs for the first time. Before our clients invest in hiring their own direct mail talent in house, it makes sense to test direct mail first and find out whether it is viable for their business. That’s where we come in. Our strategic advisory and turnkey solutions services get e-commerce companies, both large and small, up and running quickly. When it comes to direct mail, we help starters start up, and start-ups start up.

The People

We are Christopher and Dianne, two direct mail fanatics with over 50 years of deep direct mail and catalog experience at your service. Founded in 2012, our team has been working in direct mail and catalog marketing for decades. Direct mail is fun! We enjoy serving our clients.

Meet the team.

Small is Big

Unlike large agencies, we have zero employee turn over. We’re in this game for life, so you benefit from the longevity and continuity of our relationship with you. Unlike large agencies, you are always talking to us, the principals, the people at the top, and not account managers, who can come and go, jumping from agency to agency, or from agency to clients. If you’re like all of our clients, you were recommended to us by one of our clients.


Our name comes from where we were originally based: Amherst, Massachusetts. We are now located in northern California where we can better serve our predominantly San Francisco Bay Area clients. And, let’s face it: the weather played a factor in our move. Coincidentally, Amherst’s zip code, 01002, is the lowest numbered zip code in the nation. Well, we like to believe that, but its actually the second lowest. The lowest is 01001, assigned to Agawam, Massachusetts.

New to Mail?

If you’re like our
other clients, you’re
highly proficient in
all forms and facets
of digital marketing.
Direct mail isn’t the
same as digital. Key
fundamental assumptions
of digital marketing don’t
apply to direct mail. Why
go it alone when you can
take us with you?

Alive and Kicking

Reports of the demise of the post office and, subsequently, direct mail, are greatly exaggerated. Did you know? The postal service is written into the United States Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7: “The Congress shall…establish Post Offices and post Roads”). And while the USPS indeed took a hit from the Great Recession, ever since then, mail is up. Packages are up. And no one will be elected to congress on a platform of firing our beloved postal carriers.

Success. What matters most?

When you think about direct mail you might first think about the creative design. You might obsess over it. The creative is indeed the fun part of direct mail for many people.  It’s what comes in the mailbox, right? The finished product. The beauty. The pride.

Guess what, though: while creative design is very important, there are other factors that, if not attended to, will make your beautiful creative entirely worthless.

What matters most?

Our own first-hand experience of trial and error indicates that the following are mission critical, in approximate order of priority:

  1. List
  2. Timing
  3. Promotional offer (savings or FREE offers usually double response rates)
  4. The device itself (standing out in the mailbox with a dramatic, unusual, and violating device relative to the usual ho-hum mailers that we see in our mailboxes every day, can double response rates)

That said, the creative is important, indeed. Yet, your beautiful creative, sent to the wrong list (Christmas ornament catalogs sent to truck drivers), at the wrong time of year (Halloween costume catalogs mailed in November), will likely produce a response rate of exactly zero. Direct mail can be expensive. Lists matter most. Promotional offers, combined with the dramatic impact your device achieves in the mailbox, and how effectively it engages the recipient, will play a huge role in success. Your creative should be perfect, and yet it can be “good enough”. The other factors are guaranteed to play a bigger role in performance. We’ll help you keep focused on what matters most when you’re starting up.