Are you considering a direct mail campaign for your business, but not sure if it’s worth the investment? Rest assured that even with the wide range of digital advertising platforms available today, the significant benefits of direct mail marketing make it an appealing and extremely viable option.
Direct mail boasts better response rates, greater visibility, and highly innovative creative opportunities when compared to online efforts, and should be a key component of any marketing campaign in 2019.
Here are 14 benefits of direct mail marketing:
Direct Mail Offers Great Response Rates
Direct mail has always been a leader in response rates when compared to other marketing methods, and has continued to improve in recent years. A 2018 study by the marketing and advertising trade association Data & Marketing Association (DMA) reported these rates at 9% for in-house lists—those previously engaged with a brand—and about 5% for prospects.
These rates are not only up compared to trends throughout the past decade, but exhibit significant improvements since 2017.There are many factors contributing to these spikes, including personalization. Such customization at scale has improved dramatically in recent years, and been shown to increase response rates by a factor of 10 or more.
Email can’t even come close to a 5% response, with an average Click Through Rate—the percentage of email recipients who clicked an attached link—of less than 1%.
Direct Mail Gets Opened & Read
Imagine walking out to your mailbox and bringing a stack of mail inside. Do you immediately throw it all into the trash, or scan it to see what you received? If you scan or read through each piece, you’re not alone. In fact, 53% of Americans actually read every one, according to a study by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), while 21% at least scan. This means the vast majority of recipients will see your direct marketing message, more than any other medium.
Direct Mail Is Tangible & Personal
Many people actually want to receive mailed marketing messages, according to a study by global marketing company Epsilon, which found 59% of respondents agreed with the statement “I enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products.”
This speaks to the appeal of tangible marketing messages as opposed to those delivered online. Physical mail can be put in a pocket, wallet, or hung on the fridge as a reminder, for example. These are private areas that can’t be accessed by any other means, and are invaluable placements.
Direct Mail Is Familiar & Builds Trust
Mail has been around for a long time, and is impervious to many of the drawbacks of digital advertising. You can’t infect someone’s computer or home with a direct mail letter. A seedy digital ad? That’s a different story. Who hasn’t been offered a free iPad online? Such familiarity creates a sense of security and trustworthiness that connects with many consumers, especially those who are senior or unfamiliar with technology.
Direct Mail Is Highly Targeted
Direct mail is the best way to take advantage of all the consumer information available today. You can buy lists of consumer data that extend far beyond names and addresses to include details about professions, purchase preferences, ages, and much more. This greater personalization and relevance for each batch of mailings enables marketers to define and target their ideal persona more accurately than ever.
Direct Mail Is Highly Personalized
Customer data is valuable, but nothing without personalization. Modern printing equipment has expanded customization options, so everyone can receive a unique piece of mail. No customization is off limits, from creative to copy.
Personalization can include photos of a hometown
instead of a city on the other side of the country.
Scale is especially important, since research indicates exponential performance increases with three or more personalization points. In the recent past, each design would require an operator to manually set up a new press configuration, which takes time and money. Today, that process has gone digital, and presses adapt on the fly, which reduces time-to-ship, and increases response rates.
Direct Mail Is Creative & Versatile
Mail offers nearly unlimited creative options, especially when compared to digital alternatives. Online banner and social ads, for example, enable photo and text changes, but size is standardized, and there’s no tactile element involved. Email is even worse, with only one line of text visible to users before they click.
This BMW mailer requires recipients to tear a road shape in the
package to open it and see the ad inside.
Direct mail is tangible and physical, lending itself to more creativity. You can apply textures, change sizes, send creative 3D objects, or even add scratch-n-sniff options to any design. This gives you more opportunities to catch attention, draw recipients in, and delight them while delivering a marketing message.
Direct Mail Is Simple To Do
While all this talk of targeting, personalization, and creativity may make direct mail seem complicated, it’s actually very easy to do. A basic campaign with a few variables can still provide a great Return On Investment (ROI), and is very easy to execute with a simple design, the right list, and a reliable mailing partner.
As such, this is a great marketing method for all types of businesses, from Fortune 500 companies to local shops.
Direct Mail Is Cost Effective
In addition to simple execution, direct mail is cost effective, for any budget. According to an annual study by DMA, direct mail has an average ROI of 29%, competitive with online media.
Unlike digital campaigns that increasingly require a large investment to see patterns and significant ROI, direct mail works with even a small list.
Direct Mail Is Highly Trackable
While direct mail might not seem easy to monitor, there are a variety of techniques that help marketers measure performance for any campaign.
Via a Website
One of the most common methods for a direct mail campaign is to use a custom landing page and list the URL on your direct mail campaign. Or, create a custom Personalized URL (PURL), which redirects to an existing page pre-populated with recipient data. This makes the experience much quicker and simpler. PURLs help identify landing page hits and recipient actions.
Via Custom Phone Numbers
Unique phone numbers can be created for your direct mail campaign to forward and document calls to your current numbers, enabling you to see what marketing methods result in the most.
Via Exclusive Offers
You can create an exclusive offer to only send via direct mail. Then you simply keep track of the number of submissions you get for that particular deal.
Easily Ramp Up Back-End Fulfillment
When you launch a direct mail campaign, you’ll have a reasonably accurate idea of when demand will increase, and can prepare accordingly—such as applying an expiration date to define a window for increased demand, for example.
Online ads, on the other hand, are more volatile. You never know when one will go viral or suddenly become more effective. These require extensive tweaks, testing, and small adjustments, until one day the ad “clicks” and demand explodes, which can also overwhelm fulfillment.
Direct marketing won’t eliminate all uncertainty, as they’re not guaranteed to succeed, but can help combat it so you can ramp up production, when appropriate.
Direct Mail Complements Digital Marketing
Direct mail and digital marketing are natural comparison partners, and may even seem to be at odds with one another. This is not the case, however. In fact, the two work exceedingly well together. Direct mail can be used in any stage of the marketing funnel to work toward the same goals as online ads.
For example, you could send out mailers with a QR code for recipients to scan that will bring them to an online webpage. Or, you could run an online branding campaign, and follow it up with a direct mail campaign to a small group of ideal customers with an exclusive offer. The possibilities are endless.
Whatever your goal, direct mail can work with your other marketing methods to improve overall performance and increase customer engagement and ROI.