In this era of integrated marketing, pay per click and viral video, is there still a reason to use direct mail in today’s digital world? Online we have:
- Content marketing
- Digital outreach
- Social media
- Daily blogging
- Forum posting
- Smart advertising
- Google AdWords
- Contextual text links
And more. You’d think direct mail was well and truly done for. But wait, because hidden in that incomplete list of online advertising methods lies the reason why the old fashion posted letter is still effective.
Long Shelf Life
If there’s one thing you can say about direct mail, it’s that it hangs around longer than other forms of communication: TV ads last around 30 seconds before being replaced by the next one, and emails are easily ignored or pushed off the bottom of the page when new ones arrive. Direct mail, however, stays in full view until it’s physically moved, meaning people are much more likely to refer to it later and giving marketers a longer time frame in which to capture consumers’ attention.
Consumers Deal with It Faster
Compared to email, direct mail is more immediate. In fact, a recent study showed that 77% of direct mail recipients sort through it immediately. Another factor in direct mails’ favour is the fact that just about every company on the planet uses email marketing, and consumers are now adept at ignoring it. Receiving a letter or postcard has something of a novelty value these days, so it’s less likely to be dismissed without a fair hearing.
More Control and Closer Targeting
With ads in newspapers, or even online advertising methods such as AdWords, you can’t totally control where your message appears, even if it’s right next to your competition. With direct mail, you can target exact locations right down to towns and streets. You can even target individual households within the street if you have pertinent, demographic information to work with. If your offer is designed to appeal specifically to young families with children, direct mail allows you to exclude retirement communities.
No one understands your individual customers quite like you do, and with direct mail you have the opportunity to tailor your offer in a way you know will appeal. You have more choice of format, from simple postcards to full brochures or catalogues, and you can offer recipients a multitude of ways to respond, from coupon clipping to form filling or NFC clicking.
Direct Mail Creates Trust
New scams pop up every day online, and with each one trust of online offers grows thinner as more people fear clicking links in emails or social media. With direct mail, marketers don’t face the same trust issues, and while email attachments are often ignored for fear of viruses, businesses can include as many add-ons as they like. Consumers may ignore them because they’re not interested, but will never discard them through fear of damaging expensive equipment.
Far from reducing the effectiveness of direct mail, online marketing has added richness and opened up even more opportunities, making ‘traditional’ the new ‘cutting edge’.