The Effectiveness of Direct Mail Marketing

Remember the excitement when a letter arrived in the mail? Or a packaged box full of mysteries inside just waiting to be opened? Email and digital marketing is effective, but it is not the only method to reach consumers and generate leads.

While marketers may be concerned about the effectiveness of direct mail and whether or not they can properly track it or afford the costs, there is plenty of evidence to support this “traditional” marketing strategy.

 Direct mail connects and builds a relationship with consumers. 

What are the benefits of direct mail as part of a marketing strategy?

Direct Mail Helps Brands Get Noticed

Direct mail physically puts a brand’s logo, message, and image in front of the consumer’s face. While email boxes are littered with spam and  messages that often remain unopened, a direct mail piece needs to be physically touched, even if it is thrown away.

There is no risk to opening a piece of mail like there is with email which could result in a breach of privacy or hacking. Because consumers do not want to miss out on any deals response rates are comparatively high. According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), in 2017, the response rate for direct mail was 5.1% compared to email’s 0.6% and 42% of consumers read or scan direct mail before tossing it into the trash.

Even if there is not a direct lead or purchase that results from the sent piece, direct mail increases overall brand awareness. Mail takes up space and, if it provides value to the consumer, it is more likely to be hung on a wall or linger in the room. Direct mail can represent an opportunity to have a physical poster on the consumer’s wall (or fridge)!

Mail makes it easier for brands to get noticed, but don’t be fooled. The quality and content of the direct mail piece must be distinct and unique.

Direct Mail Helps Brands Be Present

Using direct mail as an extension of a digital marketing campaign keeps brands present and in front of the consumer. A singular digital ad or one mailer rarely convinces the consumer to be brand loyal, however, targeting from multiple channels will plant the brand in the consumer’s subconscious. According to the DMA Response Rate Report, pairing digital ads with mail leads to a 28% higher conversion rate and retargeted website visitors are 70% more likely to commit to a brand.

Track the success of direct mail campaigns by having a clear call-to-action (CTA). Include coupons, codes, or a link or phone number that is only associated with the specific campaign to measure leads and interactions.

Direct Mail Helps Brands Connect

Personalizing a direct mail piece gives brands the power to evoke emotion and connect with consumers. According to Canon Solutions America, including a person’s full name increases response rates significantly and response levels increase by 50% when targeted marketing is personalized.

Direct mail can connect with people of any generation. A portion of older generations either don’t have smart phones or social media, so digital ads would be useless, and younger generations are so consumed with social media and internet that direct mail is like a fresh breath of air.

Direct mail is a humanizing way to connect with consumers. A recent United States Postal Service (USPS) study found the heart rate and respiration of people opening physical mail experienced “heightened excitement” that made them desire the product more. The UK Royal Mail put it simply, “Giving, receiving and handling tangible objects remain deep and intuitive parts of the human experience.” Physical mail leaves an impression on people and makes them feel valued.


Quick Tips for a Direct Mail Strategy:

  • Highlight the features and benefits of the product/service rather than just talking about the brand.
  • KNOW THE TARGET MARKET well to reduce costs!
  • Have a defined CTA that relates to the business (and provides tracking).
  • Use proper list hygiene to ensure all data is up-to-date. Never use old lists!
  • Make the content readable and unique - adjust font sizes for the age of the eyes intended to view it.

Direct mail shines a light on brands while making the consumer feel special. Most consumers prefer direct mail advertising and more than half purchase a product because of it. Use this traditional (but effectively forgotten) marketing strategy to your advantage to get in front of the consumer and ahead of the competition.

Need to get started? Check out: 11 best direct mail pieces to inspire your next campaign