7 Reasons to Use Direct Mail Marketing

Last updated: November 6, 2020 | By Dory LeBlanc

Reading time: 5 min.

In today’s digital age, research shows that consumers are beginning to show signs of digital fatigue. Look at your own email. How many promotional messages and marketing emails do you receive on a daily basis? More than likely, quite a few.

Use this opportunity to increase your brand exposure and acquire new customers with good, old-fashioned print advertising and direct mail. These advertising vehicles offer very effective ways for your business to rise above the digital noise. (To check jump directly to our Best Direct Mail Offers Infographic, click here)

1. Breaks Through Digital Noise

The Radicati Group estimates there are approximately 3.9 billion email users worldwide, with 293 billion emails sent and received daily. According to DMR, the average office worker receives 121 emails per day. Talk about email overload! And that number is expected to rise. With Americans exposed to around 5,000 ads per day, up from 500 ads per day in the ‘70s, and a large amount of those being digital, print and direct mail can cut through the digital noise to reach your audience and drive sales.

2. Elicits a Strong Emotional Reaction

With less physical mail hitting the mailbox than the number of emails that hit your inbox, consumers might actually enjoy checking their physical mail as opposed to their email. A Gallup Poll shows that 41% of Americans look forward to checking their mailboxes on a daily basis. It’s not just the older demographics, either. In fact, 57% of Americans under the age of 30 have made purchases based on direct mail offers.

The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General conducted a study with Temple University that focuses on the responses to digital and physical media in the buying process. This study found that participants spend more time with physical ads and had a stronger emotional response. They also remembered the physical ads better. The physical ads had a longer lasting impact for easy recall when purchasing, and they triggered the area of the brain responsible for value and desirability of featured products, which can signal greater intent to purchase.

3. Supports Digital Efforts

Print advertising and direct mail can work alongside digital marketing in a supporting role. As a small business owner, you should consider including your social media channels on your printed materials and explain why your audience should connect with your brand.

Another way you can use print to support your digital marketing efforts is by providing an offer and driving consumers to a high-value lead magnet online. Verizon and Motorola ran a campaign with a call to action on their direct mail promotion that drove consumers to a landing page by scanning a QR code where they could enter to win Super Bowl tickets. The companies then used the entry information to move consumers through their sales process.

Need another example? Airbnb, the online marketplace for lodging worldwide, launched Airbnb Magazine in the U.S. in May 2017. When asked why the digitally based company partnered with Hearst Magazines on the venture, Brian Chesky, chief executive of Airbnb Inc. said “there’s the possibility that it can be saved. It isn’t ephemeral, as opposed to content on a feed that expires.”

4. Strengthens Branding

Given that 92% of Valpak consumers open the iconic Blue Envelope and 81% look at every ad inside1, direct mail is an excellent method for strengthening your brand. Sending direct mail to a minimum of 10,000 people every month keeps your business top of mind with consumers when they need your product or service.

As part of your strategy though, it’s imperative that you keep a few things in mind, like the colors you use on your mailings, a firm understanding of your demographics and consistency. If you’re mindful of these factors, you will be well on your way to strengthening your brand awareness. If you don’t have design experience – no problem! Your Valpak marketing consultant knows which ad designs and offers get the most response and they’ll be happy to walk through hundreds of proven designs or help you create a new one.

5. Direct Mail is Engaging

With the right content, direct mail can be incredibly engaging. Businesses can personalize a message, share information that’s relevant, and customize it to fit a specific target audience.

Consumers want to feel special and print advertising campaigns can make that happen. While it may be easier to send messages to an audience with a generic greeting, a personalized, targeted piece would garner more appreciation and response. In fact, research shows that 80 percent of consumers are more likely to open a personalized direct mail piece over a generic one. That same research shows that 44 percent of people will immediately discard a mailer if it’s not relevant to them.

6. Establishes Trust

Research shows that print advertising and direct mail are perceived as more trustworthy sources. Although we live in a digitally driven world, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people always believe what they read and see in the digital realm. There’s a certain trust that comes along with print. In fact, 90% of millennials find that something printed on paper is reliable. To further drive home the point, 82% of millennials view messages printed on paper as more trustworthy than digital messages. It’s also worth noting that half of millennials ignore digital ads.

7. Evokes Response and Engagement

Print advertising and direct mail encourage consumers to respond and engage, which in turn, drives consumer purchase behavior. A recent SBA study found direct mail campaigns generate purchases 5X larger than email campaigns.

As mentioned earlier, the positive emotional reaction to direct mail leads consumers to remember the physical ads better, which have an extended impact for easy recall when purchasing. They trigger the area of the brain responsible for value and desirability of featured products, which can signal greater intent to purchase.

Here are some direct mail offers that consumers responded to the most for various businesses:

best direct mail offers for your business

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Valpak has been an industry leader in direct mail marketing for over 50 years. If you need help establishing a print and direct mail campaign for your small business, be sure to contact your local Valpak representative and let us introduce you to your neighborhood.


1. 2019 Valpak® Readership Study, Dec. 2019.