4 Reasons to Choose Direct Mail (Instead of Email)


If you’re not using direct mail as part of your marketing strategy, there’s a good chance you’re missing a potentially lucrative trick. The ease and immediacy of email has stolen some of direct mail’s thunder, it’s true, but often the very things are attractive about email are also the things that make it less effective.

Here are four very good reasons why direct mail is still your ace in the hole:

Reason #1: It’s More Favorably Received

In a digital world where people fight with an overload of information in their email inboxes, getting mail through the post is a welcome change. Yes, you’ll hear direct mail referred to as ‘junk mail’, but the words are spoken with a certain affection, unlike ‘spam’, which has distasteful undertones.

Another important distinction is the circumstances in which people receive the two different kinds of marketing messages. For many, emails get in the way of life and are an interruption, whereas a letter or postcard is browsed at leisure. A UK report indicated that up to 48% of recipients responded to a direct mailing received in the last year, and 18% saved mail for later reference. It’s not often emails are saved and, even if they are, chances are good they’ll soon be forgotten beneath the never-ending cascade of new messages.

Reason #2: A Longer Lifespan

Emails get relegated to the trash in a flash, and while it’s true that people can just as easily throw away physical mail, they’re far more likely to leave it lying around and look at it a few times. Also, consider this if you’re worried your direct mail will take a quick trip from front door to trash can. People have to carry mail to the trash, looking at it as they go, and something might catch their attention at the last minute. Emails are disposed of with the click of a mouse, and there are no second chances.

The latest study by the DMA reports that median response rates are up since 2012 for direct mail sent to house lists. The fact that direct mail hangs around for longer, and is browsed during less-pressured leisure hours, may have something to do with that.

Reason #3: Direct Mail is Versatile

Both in terms of design and message type, direct mail wins every time when it comes to doing all jobs. After all, you can direct people to a website in your sales letter, but you don’t often read ‘see our letter’ in web copy or email. Here are some other ways direct mail shows its versatile side:

  • Use it for prospecting
  • Ask for referrals
  • Cross-selling or upselling
  • Email list nurturing
  • Re-engage previous customers
  • Offer special discounts
  • Unique branding opportunities
  • Integrated marketing across multiple channels

Reason #4: More Choice of Format

All emails look the same. You can include colors, logos, images and whatever you like in the body of the email, but there’s little to attract anyone to open it other than the subject line. Direct mail, on the other hand, is immediately recognizable. Maximize space with messages on the envelope, use postcards for instant readability, print in full color for immediate brand recognition, and personalize everything for quick one-to-one rapport.

With direct mail, you’re competing in a less crowded, trustworthier playing field. And that’s worth more than a moment’s consideration of anyone’s time.

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