10 Reasons Why You Need To Be Using Direct Mail


In the digital age we live in marketers are well trained in all forms of online advertising. Consumers are bogged down and distracted by hundreds of online advertisements weekly. Billions of dollars are invested in advertising each year, and I am here to tell you today why a bigger proportion of that should be going towards investing into direct mail. Without any further delay, here are 10 reasons why you need to be using direct mail.



  1.    Direct Mail Is A Proven Marketing Technique

I know considering the technology we use today direct mail might seem like it is as old and obsolete as the fax machine. Actually marketers have been using direct mail successfully for well over a century. In fact in 1917 the Direct Mail Advertising Association was created, and it even continues to this day as the Direct Marketing Association in order to aid companies in all forms of direct marketing. There is a legacy of success that comes with direct mail that is not matched by many other forms of marketing. Now you might say to yourself, “this just tells me that direct mail used to be very popular, but what can it do for me today?” I would respond and say that direct mail is utilized today because it has grown and evolved from its humble beginning. When direct mail was first used there were not even zip codes, let alone the easily attainable masses of information about consumers that any marketer can access today. Marketers used to just send their advertising pitches out into the ether, and hope their ROI would turn out well. Nowadays direct mail takes advantage of modern data and marketing techniques while also having the benefit of over a hundred years of experience.

Attitudes Toward Direct Mail 2012

  1.    …And It Still Works

Not only is direct mail a tried and true marketing technique, but also it has its own place in today’s digital world. Direct mail has the ability to cut through the large masses of digital clutter we trudge through every day. Furthermore it is a great way to attract new customers or enhance customer loyalty due to its more personable nature compared to digital messages or advertisements. Not only is it more effective in many ways than digital advertisements, but also your ROI on direct mail can easily be greater than digital advertisements.  

  1.    Scratch That, It Excels

Actually I may have misspoken earlier, let me revise that. Direct mail does not just work, it is actually a fantastic marketing technique compared to any digital channel because of its response rate. Direct mail outperforms all digital channels combined by 600%*. It certainly seems that direct mail gets people to take action far more than emails and paid online searches combined, and this makes sense.  Lets look at an example. You could have the same ad across three channels: direct mail, email, and an online ad. In the direct mail scenario your ad would be competing with the few things in your mailbox. In the email scenario your ad would be competing with the dozens of emails your consumer gets daily, not to mention be devalued due to how everyone has their guard up warding off spam. In the online ad scenario you are competing with whatever your consumer is choosing to read or view. Which scenario do you think has the least obstacles to getting your message read? Direct mail is a great way of advertising with little competition, especially in the digital age that we live in.

  1.    It Can Be Personalized

Another advantage direct mail has is that personalization works exceptionally well with it. Personalization is a powerful tool, and it is being utilized more and more in all marketing channels. However personalization via direct mail has an intimate feel to it compared to reading your name on your computer screen. Now when it comes to personalizing direct mail you should not merely stop at adding a name. Personalizing direct mail should include a tailored list of products or services your potential customer might be interested in. The relevancy of your direct mail is an absolute imperative. 44% of direct mail recipients immediately discard it if it is not relevant*, and on the opposite spectrum 80% of people are more likely to open it if it is personalized*.  Not only will less people be receptive to direct mail if it is not personalized but a big segment of people will not even read it. That is a dramatic change that would heavily affect your ROI, and it all comes down to whether you personalized your direct mail.


  1.    People Actually Read Direct Mail

How often do you skim the first sentence or so of an ad before dismissing it? This is a common problem that marketers deal with, getting their full message across to their target audience. Very few people read anything thoroughly now. Which is why having a marketing channel in which you grab the attention of your readers is very important. 79% of direct mail is read for one minute or more*. When compared to the mere seconds other marketing channels get from their audience this number is staggering. The advantage of direct mail being a tangible and hopefully personable piece of advertising is evident when you see how much time people spend with it compared to other forms of marketing.

  1.    It Drives Results

And people are not just reading their direct mail. They are taking action because of their direct mail. It appears that among the people that respond to direct mail there is a great rate of action. Out of those that responded to direct mail 55% went to a physical store*, 54% visited a webpage*, and 45% say that direct mail led to a purchase*. These levels of rates of action are great examples of why successful direct mail campaigns have good ROI’s.

  1.    It’s A Key component In Multi-Channel Marketing

So far I have been comparing direct mail as an alternative to other forms of marketing. Now I will go through how direct mail can aid your efforts in a multi-channel marketing approach. The idea behind this strategy is that the more channels you hit your target audience through, the better results you will see. Marketers that are only using printed marketing materials garner a 7.4% response rate and a 7.4% action rate*. Marketers that use printed marketing materials and email garner an 8.8% response rate and an 8.1% actions rate*. Finally marketers that combine print, email, social media, and mobile marketing techniques garner a 9.5% response rate and an 8.5% action rate*. It is clear that when a multi-channel marketing is utilized correctly the results collected exceed any single marketing channel alone. If you want a marketing campaign to truly be a hit then you should heavily consider hitting your target audience through multiple mediums in a multi-channel marketing strategy.

  1.    It Sticks Around

Did you ever wonder about the life of a tweet? Well the average tweet has the lifespan of about 18 minutes. This is not very long at all. How about a Facebook post? Well after two and a half hours your Facebook post has received 75% of its total impressions. While your digital content on the Internet will technically last forever, pretty much nobody cares after a few hours.  This is not the case for direct mail. With direct mail you have the chance for it to sit around the house for days, even weeks for the right person.


  1.    Its Interactive

Yet another advantage that direct mail has over digital marketing is that it can be interactive. In the direct mailing business there is a rule that many people live by, make your mail lumpy. When the consumer notices that there is something inside the envelope other than paper they are much more likely to open your mail. Once they open their mail they will also now have an additional selling point, the sample you included. Certain industries such as the makeup and fragrance industries have had incredibly successful direct mail campaigns by utilizing sending samples with their direct mail.

  1. Those That Do Use Direct Mail Love It

There are those that are under the impression that direct mail is dying. Hopefully by now you are educated enough to know that direct mail is a very viable marketing strategy, and it is not going anywhere. Not only does it have a solidified spot in the marketer’s toolbox, but it is actually on the rise. 92% of marketers expect the amount of direct mail they send next year to increase or stay flat*. This does have the unfortunate repercussion of making the direct mail space more competitive. However I would say that it is impossible for our mailboxes to ever get as crowded as our email inboxes. Like I said, direct mail is not going anywhere.


*Xerox, “Direct Mail: An Opportunity For Growth”


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