Forgot about direct mail? Your customers haven’t!

Remember the excitement you felt as a child when you opened that birthday card from grandma — or last week when you tore into that package of stuff you ordered online?

That’s the power of mail — and it’s as strong as ever! For instance, a U.S. Postal Service report showed that 62 percent of millennials said they had visited a store in the previous month because of information they received in the mail.

Direct mail marketing isn’t dead — far from it. In fact, as the ways in which we communicate have shifted, direct mail has pivoted from a traditional marketing tactic to something hip and edgy. Like vinyl records, mail is cool again.

It’s wide open and waiting

Truth is, mail isn’t what it used to be — but that’s a good thing!

The Postal Service reports that total mail volume has declined by nearly 30% since 2006. A number of reasons account for that, such as online bill pay and more sophisticated targeting methods.

But the upshot is this: As our email inboxes become more cluttered, our physical mailboxes are wide open. And, while people often see checking their email as a chore, checking their mailbox is a daily ritual.

Plus, when they get there, they’ve got something to hang onto. Physical mail is tangible, and the tactile sensation of taking it out of the box and opening it makes it more memorable.

Need more proof that direct mail has got it goin’ on? Check this out:

Direct mail sent using house lists has a 9% response rate, while prospect lists receive a 5% response rate, according to the Data & Marketing Association (DMA). That’s a whopping 173% increase since 2006 for house lists and a 194% increase for prospect lists.

Client Spotlight

Direct mail doesn't have to be just a flat postcard! It partners well with other media to get your message across. IdeaBank produced a video mailer for Grand Island Area Economic Development to give businesses thinking of locating in Grand Island a firsthand look at the community.

Topics covered in the video:

  • Welcome and overview.
  • Locations and infrastructure.
  • Local and state incentives.


Think SpongeBob and Patrick

So, should you ditch digital and put everything into direct mail? Not at all.

Digital is the yin to direct mail’s yang, the SpongeBob to its Patrick. They work best together.

There are a lot of numbers out there — 28%, 118%, even 450% — but the truth is, combining direct mail and digital boosts response and conversion rates. Following up a digital message with direct mail (or vice versa) increases exposure and keeps you at the top of your customer’s mind.

Direct mail can be the key to driving consumers into your digital realm or bringing them back.

For instance, a QR code included on a direct mail piece can be scanned with a smartphone, allowing the user to visit your website or download an app. If a customer has abandoned a shopping cart on your site, a direct mail piece can remind them of what they’ve left behind.

Along with email, paid and organic search and social media, direct mail provides an additional channel to get your message in front of your audience.

QR Code

QR codes connect a printed piece to your digital assets. The code on this catalog sent customers to the website to see current products.


This time, it’s personal

If you think of direct mail as a one-size-fits-all, carpet-bombing approach, it’s time to get your head out of the mail sack!

variable data illustration

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Like its digital cousin, direct mail offers sophisticated techniques for targeting just the right recipient.

Remember those millennials? In the Postal Service study, 75 percent said they like to receive personal mail because it makes them feel special. While you can’t get everyone’s grandma, pen pal or latest crush to deliver your message, you can do a lot to personalize direct mail.

Variable data printing provides a great way to deliver a message that recipients can relate to on a personal level. Elements like text and images can be changed from piece to piece without slowing the printing process.

Each piece looks like it’s been designed and printed for that particular recipient. In addition to unique salutations and text, you can provide special offers, coupons or tracking numbers.

Every Door Direct Mail® provides another way to target your message. The Postal Service’s free online tool allows you to map particular ZIP Codes and neighborhoods — and even filter for age, income and household size using U.S. Census data — so your message goes only to your target audience rather than everyone in town.

It’s alive!

Rumors of direct mail’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

It’s not only alive and well but also appealing to new audiences in ways that cut through the digital noise while actually complimenting your online efforts.

Your neighborhood mailman remains, as much as ever, an indispensable member of your marketing team.

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