Direct Mail is Making a Comeback: 10 Statistics That Will Surprise You

stack of direct mail marketing on an old shelf

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Posted by: Lacy Gray

Every few years, some marketing analyst or another will try to prove their edginess by pronouncing the death of direct mail marketing. I’m here to make the case for why that’s not true, and I’m bringing receipts. 

Why You Should be Incorporating Direct Mail Into Your Marketing Strategy

In order for something to come back, it needs to go away. Direct mail never really faded. The effectiveness has simply been overlooked in favor of all the shiny new platforms. 

I’m not disparaging digital marketing. After all, it’s our bread and butter. However, the more technical our societies become, the less personal interaction and engagement customers receive.

For older consumers, getting an offer in the mail is nostalgic and comforting. It brings on good feels. For millennials, it’s novel and personal. They like having something concrete that they can hold in their hands. 

But, it’s more than that.

Direct Mail Marketing Facts You Can Leverage

According to the US Postal Service, about 77 billion pieces of mail are generated and sent each year, resulting in 28 percent higher sales for companies that send mailers like catalogs and offers. Another USPS study found that while mobile marketers will spend $247 billion by the end of 2020, direct mail marketing offers a higher return for a much smaller investment. Direct mail campaigns can expect an average of $2,095 in sales for every $167 spent, a return of 1,300 percent.

Direct mail is not just about emotions, though that’s an important component of branding. It’s about reaching your audience directly in a way that compels them to act. Think of it as a facet of content marketing

Here are 10 more statistics that will make you rethink whether you should add a direct mail campaign to your brand strategy. 

Direct Mail Campaigns Have a Higher Response Rate

What was the response rate on your last email marketing campaign? If it was higher than 0.6 percent, you’re already doing better than average; paid search elicits response rates of 0.5 percent. 

By contrast, direct mail marketers experience response rates of 5.3 percent on average. These rates increase by an average of 43 percent each year. 

How to leverage this stat: Each marketing plank adds breadth and strength to the overall platform. Combine your direct marketing campaign with digital marketing to increase response rates overall from a range of platforms.

Direct Mail Allows You to Target Audiences in any Area

When it comes to reaching audience segments, modern marketers know how to work social media. But, you’re able to target people where they live more effectively using a direct marketing approach, and you’ll get an average of 23 percent higher ROI.

How to leverage this stat: The USPS has developed an app called the Every Door Direct Mail Tool that allows you to target and segment specific cities and neighborhoods by a range of demographics. You can use this information to send out personalized mailers to any audience within your reach. 

Fewer Companies Use Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is decreasing by 2% each year. That may seem like a negative, but it’s good for you. Less direct mail marketing means less clutter and competition for you. 

How to leverage this stat: Make your mailers stand out from an ever-shrinking crowd by using personalized greetings, striking visuals, and unusual shapes rather than postcards or flyers. 

Direct Mail is More Likely to be Seen and Read

When you’re browsing the internet, the last thing you want is an interruption from pop up ads or redirects. Between ad blockers and people tuning out due to digital overload, there’s a good chance your online ad won’t even be seen. In fact, statistics show that customers find mailers less annoying than online ads by 43 percent. 

How to leverage this stat: Segment your audience by where they are in their journey, and construct custom mail that addresses them directly.

When Time is of the Essence, Mail Delivers

You may think that something like email has the edge when it comes to immediacy. But, considering the amount of unread emails over snail mail, and you’ll see that delivery speed doesn’t necessarily relate to reach. 

According to a study by the USPS, 77 percent of people sort through their mail as soon as they take it out of the mailbox. It’s much harder to ignore a letter addressed to you than one of 1,000 random emails. 

How to leverage this stat: Use direct mail for the interest phase of the marketing journey, and leverage that for further follow up via direct call or an online offer. It’s also great for making special offers and customer appreciation, and much more personal. 

Don’t Overlook Millennials

Everyone in business and marketing is trying to figure out how to capture the largest demographic since the Boomer generation. While it is also the most tech-savvy generation, there are some things that never change. 

Millennials and Gen Y may love their phones, but that’s more for social engagement. According to Gallup, 95 percent of millenials look forward to getting physical mail. What’s more, 60 percent of them purchased something via mail offer within three months. 

How to leverage this stat: Never take for granted the thrill of receiving something tangible that you can hold in your hand. Consider the return/engagement/response rates of direct mail marketing and don’t overlook the younger members of your audience when planning a campaign. 

Final Thoughts

Despite news to the contrary, direct mail marketing is alive and well. Using this technique as part of your branding efforts isn’t about deploying retro chic. It is a tried and true method with a long history of effectiveness. You could just park a domain and wait for visitors to come to you, or you could meet them where they live and shop. How you choose could decide the future viability of your business. 

Have you tried direct mail marketing? Tell us about your challenges and success stories. 

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Direct Mail is Making a Comeback: 10 Statistics That Will Surprise You