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10 Facts About Direct Mail Every Marketer Needs to Know

Direct Mail Facts

There is a widely held perception that traditional direct mail is a dying form of communication and emails, social media, display ads, and other digital advertisements have taken over.

This is just not true. Marketers may be utilizing online marketing more in this digital age, however, these facts about direct mail listed below will prove why marketers should be taking advantage of direct mail within their marketing strategies.

Direct Mail Fact #1: Direct Mail Response Rates Have Increased

As more marketers turn to digital marketing, the likelihood of marketing messages sent in the form of physical direct mail being engaged with by their recipients has increased dramatically over the years. This is because each piece of direct mail has had less and less competition year after year for the attention of its recipient.

Direct Mail Response Rates

Take email and social media marketing, for example, consumers are receiving way too many emails and the number of social media ads have increased so much that consumers are constantly ignoring them.

Yet, the direct mail they are receiving in their mailboxes is light, giving you the perfect canvas to stand out.

Recent studies have even shown that the current average direct mail response rate is 9% for mail sent to house lists and around 5% for prospect lists, while a decade ago, and even only a few years ago, direct mail response rates were much lower.

Basically, this fact proves that people are responding more than ever before to direct mail marketing messages.

Direct Mail Fact #2: Direct Mail Response Rates Are Higher Than Digital Marketing

Marketing Channel Response Rates 

While direct mail marketing is receiving an average response rate of 9%, email marketing is only receiving an average response rate of around 1%. 

And on top of that, direct mail response rates are higher than any other online advertising channel combined as we can see in this chart based on a USPS study showing email, paid search, and social media receiving a response rate of 1%, and online display ads receiving 0.3%.

Direct Mail Fact #3: Direct Mail Recipients Spend More

Online purchasing and purchases made via catalog and direct mail remain formidable forces in the world of purchasing methods.

In fact, US marketers earn an average of $2,095 worth of goods sold through direct mail per person which is a 1,300% return on investment. 

On top of marketers earning an impressive ROI, their customers who are receiving their direct mail pieces are spending more than their customers who aren’t.

Perhaps it has to do with people keeping the direct mail they receive for an average of 17 days while they are reminded of the advertisement every time they walk by it.

Whatever the reason, the United States Postal Service discovered that those who received direct mail from a company purchased 28% more items and spent 28% more compared to those who did not receive a direct mail advertisement.

Direct Mail Fact #4: Personalized Mail is Even More Effective

Researchers have partially attributed the increase in response rates to direct mail to an improved understanding of the types of messages that do well in direct mail campaigns.

Personalized printed materials. 

And while a great design, short and sweet message, intriguing CTA, and a high-quality, full-colored printed piece attracts direct mail recipients, marketers have found that when they tailor their direct mailers to each specific individual, they are gaining even better results.

Thanks to digital printing technologies, marketers can easily and affordably variably print customer information onto individual mailers allowing marketers to send personalized messages to individual recipients. This includes names, images, locations, and more.

Marketing researchers even say that these types of messages do exceedingly well in direct mail formats. So well in fact, that this level of personalization has proven to increase direct mail response rates by 135%. 

As we’ve shared in previous blogs, people have a stronger emotional connection to messages on physical paper they can hold in their hands. This psychological implication of print amplifies the types of messaging marketers use in marketing campaigns, so when the power of direct mail is combined with personalization using customer data to customize their messages it motivates customers to make purchases.

This is in part because when someone receives a message from a brand that is just for them, they begin to feel as though the brand truly values them which has been proven in a study that found 75% of people say that receiving personal direct mail makes them feel special.

Direct Mail Fact #5: Brand Recall is Higher with Direct Mail

Better Brand Recall 

Despite the migrations to digital marketing, physical, tangible direct mail has proven to have a significant impact on recipients' ability to recall a brand and has a longer lasting impression. More so than any digital advertisement.

In fact, only 44% of people who view an online ad can recall the brand after seeing it while 75% of people can recall a brand after seeing a direct mail piece for the first time.

That kind of recall rate is exactly what smart marketers are looking for.

Direct Mail Fact #6: Consumers Prefer to Be Contacted Via Direct Mail

A recent study showed that the majority (73% to be exact) of consumers say they prefer to be contacted by brands via direct mail.

This fact isn’t surprising considering consumers are bombarded by marketing emails every day. And we’re all constantly having to exit out of pop-up ads just to see the content we visited a website for in the first place. And as a marketer you know reaching out to your audience in a way that they enjoy is important. The more you send messages that are sometimes perceived as annoying or are becoming invisible thanks to digital clutter, the more money you’re wasting.

Also, it’s important to point out that this direct mail fact isn’t based on just an audience consisting of an older generation. In fact, 80% of millennials alone look forward to seeing what they’ve received in their mailbox.

Direct Mail Fact #7: Direct Mail is Trackable

If you have good data about how many people are responding to which messages across your various marketing segments, then you’re on the right track to building a foundational data set that can be used to inform your future marketing campaigns.

Direct Mail Tracking

Many marketers turn to digital marketing because it’s so easy to track. However, what many don’t realize is that direct mail is just as easy to track.

There are several ways to track your direct mail responses including using personalized URLs (PURLS), a unique phone number, using QR codes, unique coupon codes, and more.

Plus, some marketers just include a message within their direct mail designs telling the consumer to bring their direct mail piece in at the time of purchase to redeem a special offer. And with 66% of Millennials, 57% of Gen X, and 56% of Baby Boomers saying they frequently or occasionally bring marketing mail into retail stores, this tracking option isn’t a bad idea.

Direct Mail Fact #8: Direct Mail Has Gone Digital

Direct mail went digital a long time ago but the digital direct mail solutions that are now available to marketers are more advanced than ever before.

What once could only be sent through a tedious process, can now be sent with a click of a button, or better yet, through a marketing workflow so marketers can set up an ongoing direct mail campaign and forget about it.

Modern-day solutions like Direct Mail CRM Integration which allows marketers to send direct mail the same way they send emails, Direct Mail Retargeting which retargets anonymous web traffic, and so many more have helped marketers take advantage of these direct mail facts listed in this blog without any hassle at all.

Direct Mail Fact #9: Combined Direct Mail and Email Has Even Better Results

We’re all aware of the marketing rule of 7 which states someone needs to see a message at least 7 times before they become provoked to take action.

Use email and direct mail.

Because of this, it’s important to get your marketing message in front of your audience multiple times. And studies have shown that when that marketing message is seen multiple times, through different marketing channels, it generates better results.

In fact, when direct mail is combined with email, there can be a 49% increase in sales and a 125% increase in inquiries.

This means when you send multiple direct mail pieces, a few emails, and throw some social media marketing into the mix, you’re guaranteed to gain exceptional results.

Direct Mail Fact #10: Direct Mail Isn’t Ignored

With billions of emails received daily, it’s no surprise that only 20-30% of emails get opened while 90% of direct mail gets opened. 

This direct mail fact is important for marketers to remember because while email seems like the easy route, email platforms now have spam, promotional, and even social inboxes, which many consumers never check meaning your marketing email’s subject line may never even be seen.

Unlike emails, direct mail has only one place to go, your recipients' mailbox. And while 10% of direct mail still isn’t getting opened, they are still being held and looked at. This means even if you sent a letter and your envelope has your logo on it, but your recipient threw it away before opening it, you know that they looked at your logo and the more they see your logo, the more you build brand awareness.

Digital marketing may be ignored, shoved away and never seen, be perceived as annoying, as well as generate pretty low response rates and ROI, but direct mail can help. And these direct mail facts prove that direct mail marketing can and will get you the results you are looking for.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of direct mail, click the button below to explore some proven direct mail marketing solutions, and if you have any questions or are ready to get started, our direct mail experts are here to help you launch the perfect direct mail campaign.

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