Direct mail is one of the most important and impactful marketing tools you have. But it’s also one of the most misunderstood. Let’s look at some of the most common myths surrounding direct mail and the role it should play in your overall marketing plan.
1. Millennials don’t respond to direct mail
Several studies show that direct mail is more impactful for millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) than any other media—especially digital communications, which have become so pervasive that audiences tend to tune them out.
What might be more surprising, however, is that the overwhelming majority of millennials actually like receiving mail. In fact, a recent Gallup Poll shows that 95% of adults between 18 and 29 have a positive response to receiving a personal letter, with 30% feeling very positive—more than any other age group.
TAKEAWAY: Direct mail marketing is your most powerful tool for reaching existing and potential millennial customers.
2. Digital communications are a better means to reach customers
For a long time, people have posited that the Internet has killed (or will kill) direct mail. But when you look at results, digital just can’t compete. In fact, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has found that while email response rates average around 0.12%, direct mail response rates are 4.4%—over 36 times higher.
This is likely because the average household receives 157 emails every day. And that doesn’t account for all of the banner ads, pop-ups and social media ads that the average consumer interacts with on a daily basis. Compare that amount of digital clutter to the 2 direct mailpieces a household receives a day, and you start to see why direct mail is breaking through to consumers in a way that digital just can’t.
Need more proof? Just check out these stats:
- 80-90% of direct mail gets opened. (Source: Small Business Trends)
- 79% of consumers find that reading mail is better than going online. (Source: USPS)
- 58% of households with incomes over $65,000 have made a purchase based on a piece of direct mail. (Source: USPS)
TAKEAWAY: While digital marketing is an important part of any marketing plan, direct mail is a much more effective means to reach your customers.
3. Direct mail isn’t personal
Today’s direct mail is a far cry from yesterday’s “junk mail.” We no longer have to fill customers’ mailboxes with generic messaging, offers and information that will most likely be totally off-base for, and therefore totally ignored by, the recipient. Newer technologies and industry developments have increased the ability for direct mail communications to be targeted and personalized to a specific individual or group, making direct mail one of the most relevant forms of customer engagement today.
Now, outer envelopes can draw attention with a person’s name or city. Letters and self-mailers can offer complete 4-color variability to allow you to send the exact right message with the right offer to every one of your customers and potential customers. Even better, increased variability allows you to test different messages to learn exactly what your customers will respond to. Fine-tune your direct mail to get the best possible engagement and response every time.
TAKEAWAY: You have the ability to send relevant, personalized mail to your customers, ensuring that they receive the right message and the right offer to increase the likelihood of engagement and response.
4. Direct mail takes a long time to reach consumers
If you haven’t looked into direct mail innovations in a while, you might be surprised at how fast and efficient direct mail has become. Full direct mail campaigns can go from initial ask to consumers’ mailboxes within weeks, allowing you to get your message out faster than ever before to stay relevant and ahead of your competition.
And, if that’s not enough, cutting-edge innovations now allow industry-leading direct mail agencies to bring even more responsiveness to direct mail. Trigger programs can allow you to reach a specific customer with a targeted and personalized message in as fast as 2 days after receiving data. This means that you can have a customer retargeted with a specific, hardworking direct mail message almost immediately after they visit your website or store.
TAKEAWAY: The speed of direct mail communications is faster and more impressive than ever before.
5. You can’t track direct mail results
Believe it or not, direct mail results are some of the easiest to track and quantify. Think about this: over half of all emails actually end up in a customer’s spam folder, and you have no way to track whether this happens or not. With the right direct mail agency, however, you will have tools that allow you to actually monitor the delivery of your direct mail campaigns—meaning that you will know exactly when mail hits your customers’ mailboxes.
When monitoring the success of your direct mail campaign, you actually have a lot of tools at your disposal. Some of the more traditional means include dedicated 800 numbers and landing pages, as well as offer codes, business reply cards and even QR codes.
TAKEAWAY: Direct mail is trackable and measurable, making it one of your best marketing tools.
- Direct mail is the most effective means for reaching a millennial audience.
- Your customers are much more likely to read and respond to direct mail communications.
- Good direct mail can be highly targeted and personalized for a specific customer or group of customers.
- Modern direct mail is a fast and responsive marketing medium.
- Direct mail delivery and results are easier to track than ever.