Rethinking Direct Mail, Part 1

Mail Boxes

Photo credit: Gregory Jordan

How many emails did you get today? How many did you delete? How many did you actually act on?

Chances are that if you are like me, you receive hundreds of email pitches every day. They’re ubiquitous, often poorly targeted “push” messages and, for the most part, not very welcome! So what’s a poor marketer to do to cut through the clutter of the email marketing haze? We think it’s time to rethink direct mail.

Why should direct mail have a place in your campaign, you ask? Well, here are three very important reasons:

1.    Direct mail works! The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has found that direct mail boasts a 4.4% response rate, compared to email’s average response rate of 0.12%! Depending on how one crunches the numbers, direct mail has a response rate of up to 10 to 30 times that of email — and even higher when compared to online display advertising!*  

2.    Direct mail supports conversion. In the same DMA study cited above, in using display advertising on the web “…only 6% [were] converted as a result of the immediate action of the click, meaning that 94% of conversions happened at a later date — an important finding, considering that the success of a display’s impact is generally judged by its click-through rate.”

If so much commerce happens long after the viewing of a display ad, supporting that effort with a tangible and engaging mail piece will make a huge difference in conversion rates.

3.    Direct mail means ROI. We already discussed the higher conversion rates from direct mail over online display ads. This leads to a crucial point: direct mail does have a higher cost per customer relative to other digital marketing tools and, on its own, is not likely to achieve the ROI of digital marketing. However, given its higher conversion rates and using the analytic tools now available, direct mail is extremely affordable and ROI positive for profound reasons.

Direct mail can be highly-tailored to an individual or group, improving performance. The use of analytic tools allows marketers to automate all marketing communications, including direct mail, while personalizing each message. Finally, analytic tools allow marketers to “select” the appropriate communications channel for each customer, meaning only those customers most likely to respond are sent a direct mail piece. Direct mail is an essential part of a total communications strategy.

However, the benefits of using direct mail in your next campaign do not end there. Stay tuned for more reasons direct mail is worthwhile in an upcoming blog post!

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