We’ve all heard the argument that direct mail is dead and web marketing is the new way to go. After all, who still uses the postal service to send mail? While that may be true when it comes to most social correspondence or work communication, advertising still fares extremely well when received in hard copy. Engaging customers through direct mail campaigns is a surefire way to get a higher return on investment (ROI) than if you focused all of your efforts on email and web marketing.
Direct Mail Response Rates
The Direct Marketing Association has studied the rates of response for both direct mail and email campaigns; these studies show that consumers respond between 10 and 30 times more frequently to direct mail campaigns than to direct emails. Because of this higher response rate, the higher cost of sending out physical mail is easily justified. Ultimately, email and direct mail cost the same amount per lead, but emails need to be sent to a much greater number of people before they can have any effect. Direct mail responses, however, can come from a much narrower set of names and contacts.
Why Email Fails
Email and other forms of online marketing fail to produce strong responses for a variety of reasons. One reason email fails is just the sheer amount of messages that everyone receives, much of which is spam that contains possibly dangerous links. Postal mail is simply viewed as more trustworthy than email. Even when emails seem to come from a trustworthy source, or an advertisement appears on a well-monitored site, it is not uncommon for web users to simply overlook the content because there is so much of it.
Emails are also wildly inconsistent when it comes to gathering accurate customer information. Physical addresses typically remain valid for a much longer period of time than email addresses. Additionally, many marketing emails winds up in spam boxes, abandoned email addresses, and other domains where recipients have their delete button at the ready. Less than 15% of retail-related emails are even opened.
Among business to business (B2B) campaigns, response rates to email campaigns were somewhat higher that business to customer (B2C) campaigns, but still generally failed to harness a large segment of the market.
Web Content that Engages Direct Mail
If your marketing strategy is deeply embedded with your online presence, there are still ways that direct mail can work for you. One recommended system is to engage your direct mail with your website through special offers or activities. In particular, if there is online content targeted specifically at direct mail recipients, a significant portion will head to the website. It can be as simple as inserting a call to action in your direct mail – and that action can direct customers to the website for more information or for a special deal.
Clearly, direct mail isn’t dead. If you aren’t harnessing the power of direct mail campaigns, now is the time to start. A basic direct mail campaign can transform your business’ marketing process, bringing in more new faces and enlivening your commercial life.