Long before television and online marketing, direct mail ruled.
One of the most popular examples of direct mailing can be traced back to Sears in 1888. The company sent a printed mailer to potential customers advertising watches and jewelry. Not long after, the Sears, Roebuck and Company catalog became extremely popular nationwide.
Today direct mail has received a bit of a bad rap. The term “junk mail” isn’t exactly a compliment! Some refer to direct mail as an “old” form of advertising, thinking of direct mail as antiquated or off-target.
But is that really the case?
The fact is, many companies do use direct marketing. According to a 2015 study by the Data & Marketing Association, 57 percent of total mail volume was comprised of direct mail pieces.
Response to direct mail continues to be strong every year, generating leads for businesses across a range of industries. Consider customer response rates from these common marketing methods:
- 0.9% — Online Displays
- 0.6% — Social Media
- 0.5% — Paid Search
- 0.45% — E-mail Marketing
- 6.0% — Direct Mail to Household
Why is Direct Mail Effective?
Direct mail is easy.
Direct mail marketing is helpful because it’s easy to process.
In an age of digital noise, the tactile presence of a physical mailing is refreshing! One study found it takes 21% less cognitive effort to process physical mail, so your audience can digest it quickly and easily.
Direct mail is interesting.
The USPS found that 47% of Millennials check their physical mailbox each day, and many consider perusing mail a leisurely activity.
According to the Data & Marketing Association and the USPS, 18-21 year-olds’ response rates to direct mail are as high as 12.4%. If you have a new business or are willing to offer coupon discounts, millennials are quite likely to respond!
Direct mail is memorable.
People who spend time with physical ads have a stronger emotional response and a better memory of this material.
Of course, a clever message goes a long way too! If you send direct mail, do your best to create colorful, memorable messages, like this:
IKEA wanted to feature the simplicity of its inexpensive furniture so they engineered a 3D postcard. When customers “opened” the postcard, this flat mailing turned into a replica of the LACK side table, available for under $10 at IKEA.
The postcard perfectly demonstrated one of IKEA’s clever design concepts – minimalist furniture that ships flat but pops to life upon arrival. IKEA’s postcard allowed users to experience the simple assembly of the LACK table, which left a deep, memorable impression.
Go Face-to-Face Through Distinct Direct Mail
Whether you send mass e-mails, many people will toss your message without reading it.
But if you send direct mail, some will offer you one-on-one attention they wouldn’t give to any other medium. Paul Entin, owner of New York City-based EPR marketing, said he uses direct mail because it stands tall in a digital generation:
“Except for the many catalogs that clog our mailboxes between Halloween and Christmas, most of us receive very little snail mail, certainly far less than in years past," Entin said. “This means your direct mailer has a far greater chance to stand out from the rest of the mail and get noticed."
If you need help creating the perfect direct mail piece that will stand out, we can help you every step of the way.