Is Direct Mail Marketing Effective in a Digital World?

We often get asked if Direct Mail is still a good option to advertise a business with so many digital marketing channels available. And the answer is an enthusiastic Yes.

Direct Mail is actually more effective today than it was a few years ago based on the fact that there are too many digital channels and they are all oversaturated. 

While Direct Mail sounds antiquated to some, the fact is that it’s a time tested and high producing channel that is working very well for companies in every category.

Here we go in detail on a couple ways that Direct Mail is being used effectively to generate high ROI.

Personalized Direct Mail Shows High Returns

Did you know that Direct Mail has a better response rate than email?!

Neither did we until we did some research and found that direct mail on average generated a response rate of 4.4%, and the response rate for email on average was a miniscule 0.12%.

To put that into an example, if you sent direct mail and email out to 1000 people, you’d have 44 people respond to the direct mail, but only 1.2 respond to the email.

That’s a HUGE difference in performance!

Here are 3 reasons why Direct Mail outperforms other channels in performance and ROI

  • Direct Mail is Targeted
    With direct mail you get a unique set of targeting criteria not available with other channels. You can pull a lot of the basic info such as city, state, and sex on any channels targeting, but with direct mail you get the benefit of additional targeting data such as household income, home ownership status, presence of children, veteran status, and much much more!
  • Direct Mail is Personalized
    This ties in with the availability of additional data so you can customize the message to each segment you are sending to but you also have the ability to customize the creative to include things like name, remaining mortgage amount, pictures, etc.
    Doing this will create a more intimate experience between you and the customer which will increase your campaign performance from responses to sales.
  • Direct Mail is Affordable
    People have this misconception that print is expensive, but it’s quite the opposite. Individual direct mail pieces are actually very low cost and if you look at the costs associated with other channels such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads you’ll find astronomically high ad spend is needed and with email you have to investing in getting leads to build your list or you’ll buy the list which both are expensive ways of getting email addresses to send out to.

Top 3 Direct Mail Marketing Tips for a Successful Campaign

While Direct Mail is one of the top performing channels you still need to use effective campaign tactics so that you can maximize the ROI you get from your efforts.

Here we look at 3 direct mail tips that will get you those results.

Think Like A Customer

As marketers we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that what we like and want is what the customer likes and wants. The problem is that many times our preferences are way off from what the customer actually wants.

The easiest way to “think like your customer” is to ask them why they need your product or service, what pain points it solves for and why they chose to go with you.

By taking this feedback and incorporating it into your direct mail messaging, it’s guaranteed to deliver amazing results.

You can split test messages to refine it even further.

You may be surprised as to what ends up being the best.

We’ve been doing this work for years and we still can’t believe the results sometimes!

Include Attention Grabbing Graphics

This seems like it should go without saying, but unfortunately marketers get “shy” when it comes to choosing bold attention grabbing images or graphics. There is a worry that you can “go too far” and take a more conversative approach to their creative choices.

Unfortunately being tame doesn’t produce big results.

Instead focus on images that relate to the problem the customer is facing or an aspirational image that showcases the desired outcome of your customer.

The same applies to graphics by choosing illustrations or treatments that enhance the message and make the value proposition more prominent.

And don’t forget about the call to action.

This needs to be one of the most prominent features of your direct mail piece to ensure the customer takes action by engaging, contacting or buying.

Focus on Benefits (Not Features)

You’ve likely heard this piece of advice before and we’re here to tell you that it’s still true and much more effective to highlight the benefits of using a product or service instead of it’s features.

The psychology behind this is that when a customer hears what the product or service produces, you are most relevant to them, connecting to the outcome they are trying to achieve. This is what they actually want.

Work done by Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen on the customer’s “Jobs to Be Done” shows how we as consumers need to achieve or accomplish something (getting the job done) which can be highlighted as a benefit of your product or service.

For example: A house cleaning service doesn’t need to share that they use the most advanced cleaning techniques in the industry, if they instead share that you as a customer can expect to…

  • Spend more time at your home with family
  • Invite your friends over for game night
  • Serve up the perfect Holiday Feast

Your customer ultimately wants a clean house, which is the functional benefit, but they want the house to be clean for a reason. It’s that reason which can take your direct mail performance from 1 to 100!

To bring all of this together, Yes, direct mail is still relevant and works very well in today’s digital world. It actually works better than most channels and if you use the tips we’ve shared in this article you’ll find that your direct mail marketing campaigns deliver better results than you’ve ever seen before.

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