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Why Direct Mail Won’t Be Replaced by Email Anytime Soon


In a world where so much of your marketing efforts are now conducted online, going back to producing physical marketing materials can seem a bit antiquated, especially when it comes to direct mail campaigns. Why should you waste money on marketing efforts that can only go to a limited number of people? How is it still possible in this day and age to achieve a ROI utilizing ‘snail mail’? Wouldn’t it just be easier to send an email? 

Actually, direct mail will help you stand out from your competition because it is likely that most of your competition has moved mostly toward digital marketing. It’s a great unique way to reach your target audience and show that you care. Utilizing direct mail in your marketing efforts will allow you to achieve greater success than your digital-marketing-only counterparts.

Don’t believe me? Here are a few statistics to change your mind:

  • B2B direct mail is 37 times more effective than email
  • 82% of direct mail is read for a minute or more
  • 85% of people will open a piece of mail that captures their attention compared to 27.1% for emails
  • 79% of people act on direct mail immediately versus just 45% with email
  • For every $167 spent on direct mail in the US, marketers sell $2,095 in goods

Despite what you may think, it IS possible to achieve success with direct mail. And, it’s a lot easier than you think, if you incorporate the right things into your strategy.

Decide What You Are Mailing

What you decide to send depends on what you are trying to do. Are you running a general awareness campaign? Are you pushing a new product or service? Are you trying to convince current clients to purchase an add-on to a service they are already using?

There are many different types of options for direct mail marketing. Here are just some of the things that can be sent via mail to clients and prospects:

  • Letters: Letters are a great way to include a lot of information about a product or service. However, it may get lost in a person’s other mail received, do what you can to make it stand out.
  • Postcards: The visual elements of a postcard can draw the attention of recipients. While it is more expensive, more color is better. Larger postcards tend to be more effective compared to smaller ones, but are more expensive to print and send. 
  • Brochures: Brochures give you the benefits both of letters and postcards: you can include a lot of information, but in a way that is visually eye-catching. However, it is more of a supplemental piece to the message you are trying to transmit. 
  • Newsletters: Sending newsletters via direct mail versus through email ensures that more people will see your newsletter. Newsletters are great at helping you showcase your industry expertise
  • Catalogs: Catalogs can highlight a plethora of products and services that you offer. However, they may appear to the recipient to be junk mail, causing them to immediately end up in the recipient's trash. 
  • Dimensionals: Dimensionals are bulky, physical items that have a dimension. Examples are boxes or tubes. They tend to stand out from the rest of your recipient's mail. While these items do have one of the highest response rates, they are more expensive to send. 
  • “Swag bags” or “1% boxes”: These special forms of dimensionals are bundles of gifts to the client/prospect, typically either to thank them for being an “A+” client or to convince a very valuable prospect to do business with your company. As a dimensional, they are more expensive to send, but can be huge in building a relationship with the recipient because they show that you care. 
  • Lumpy Mail: Lumpy mailers are envelopes that have an unexpected “bulk” to them. When a customer receives that mail, they are typically intrigued, and will open the envelope to see what is inside. Lumpy mail has a very high open rate; some claim that it gets opened 100% of the time. Ensure that you include something interesting that can be useful to the recipient so that the item is not immediately disregarded.

Note that the larger the item you are trying to send, the more it is going to cost for you to ship it. You have to decide if the benefit is worth the initial cost. Also, your options are not limited to the options listed above. There is a world of possibilities limited only by your creativity and the money you are willing to put toward it.

Personalize the Content

To ensure that the money you put into your direct mail campaign isn’t wasted, you need to find a way to personalize whatever you are sending. Personalizing content shows the recipient that they aren’t just another number on your mailing list. More time and money is needed to personalize what you are sending. But, it pays off.

In a study of direct mail, 84% of consumers reported that personalization made them more likely to open a direct mail piece. Adding a person’s name, including more sophisticated database information, and using full color can increase your response rate by up to 500%. Even without any sophisticated data incorporated in, your response rate is increased by 135%.

Link Back to Online Content

Pairing your direct mail with digital media is a surefire way to achieve success with direct mail. By creating a seamless transition from print to digital, you are able to reap the benefits of direct mail marketing while still making it convenient for recipients to learn more about your products and services. This has been proven to be effective: marketing campaigns that used direct mail and 1 or more digital media experienced a 118% increase in response rate compared to using direct mail only.

Here are a few ways to provide a seamless transition for recipients:

  • Include QR codes and shortened URLs: QR codes and shortened URLs make it easy for the recipient to get to where you want them to go with little to no effort on their part. Not every client will want to take the effort to type everything into their internet browser. However, not every recipient will have a QR reader installed or included on their mobile device. Include both to satisfy both customer types.
  • Create Direct Mail-specific promo codes: You want to track how effective your direct mail campaign is in actually generating sales. QR codes and shortened URLs can track how many people actually visit your landing page. But, it is not guaranteed everyone that does will actually end up inquiring further about the product or service you are offering. Using a promo code allows you to see the actual ROI of your campaign. Of course, promo codes are not always relevant in every direct mail campaign. For example, if your campaign’s goal is to generate awareness about your company, you probably won’t need to include a promo code in your mailing pieces. 
  • Give the recipient choices: Including multiple ways for the client to contact you is recommended. Not every person wants to be directed to online content. They may prefer contacting your company more directly if they have a lot of questions, and don’t want to hunt through your landing page to find that information. Best practice is to include links to a landing page via QR codes and shortened URLs, a contact email, and a contact phone number.

Let Us Help You Run A Successful Campaign

A direct mail campaign can be very time-consuming to run. Let us take that burden off of your hands by running that campaign for you. We can send letters, newsletters, brochures, postcards, cookie tins, and more. Contact us today to learn more.

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