8 Facts You Never Knew About Direct Mail Advertising

Updated April 2017 –

In our digital age fueled by hyper-personalization, it’s easy to think that advertising by mail must be on the way out. The truth is, direct mail advertising is as effective as ever, and that’s why today’s post will share eight facts about what direct mail–postcards, letters and ads–can do for your business, with recent statistics proving its value to generations young and old.

Fact #1: Direct Mail Spending to Increase 

Direct mail spending topped $47 billion dollars in 2016 compared to just $2.3 billion spent on email marketing. In 2017, 64% of marketers expect to spend at least that much or more on direct mail flyers. This is despite the booming growth of digital options and ad spend. It relies on the fact that the defining resource for marketers is data. Our points below also account for this growth, including direct mail’s continued efficacy and integration possibilities.

Fact #2: Direct Mail Helps Drive Omnichannel Marketing 

Integration is key, and it isn’t just a marketing fad either. Customers expect to have a seamless brand experience from one device or medium to another. It isn’t just how easily they can engage your brand, but also your consistency in message and much more.

Consider the fact that 58% of millennials expect to interact with a brand whenever and however they want at any given moment. These millennials are expected to hold $1.4 trillion in spending power by 2020. According to the USPS, 42% of them prefer direct mail political advertisements over online, with 38% reacting equally to both.

That means marketing isn’t a question of either digital or print, it’s how to use digital and print most effectively. You can expect to see this kind of comprehensive, omni-channel marketing engagement continue to grow.

Consider that many forms of digital marketing are low cost, but also low engagement. Meanwhile, print advertising requires a higher investment, but it also provides a higher response rate to justify it. It also meets a subconscious need that many consumers appreciate: a tactile experience. In fact, 56% of American consumers describe receiving and checking their mail as a real, pleasurable experience.

Fact #3: Data Makes Direct Mail More Efficient 

As evidenced by the 4.3% increase in data spend, efficiency is paramount to physical mediums like print advertising, and nothing makes marketing more efficient than data. The data you use to segment your audience allows you to target exactly which customers get which mailings, meaning you never spend more on your print campaigns than you need to. It’s undoubtedly why 52% of over-performers worked at organizations that used data analytics to improve effectiveness versus 35% of under-performers.

Fact #4: Direct Mail is Possibly the Most Measurable Medium 

Direct mail boosts the quality of the analytics for practically any marketing campaign.Hand in hand with the fact that advertising by mail is made more efficient by data, is the fact that direct mail also provides excellent data easily. If you’ve done the math to get your campaign started, it will also give you the information you need to integrate touchpoints such as email or telemarketing. In this way, direct mail can act as an anchor for driving support tactics. This measurability also builds in new touchpoints for your brand as well. For instance, using a QR code or special URL can drive website traffic and put customers on a landing page that has been personalized to the offer in their hands.

Fact #5: Variable Printing Reduces Lag Time Between Touch Points

Reducing lag time can considerably improve the likelihood of conversions. When you track your data and analyze it regularly, you can use  variable printing  to print and mail highly-personalized direct mail pieces in 48 hours or less to website customers that browsed specific products you offer. That direct mail can, in turn, present the customer with a new touchpoint opportunity, drawing them down the path to purchase with your brand.

Fact #6: Direct Mail Maintains Steady Response Rates 

The 3.7% response rate from house lists is from 2014, a number that’s up two points from its rate in 2012. The response rate for direct mail in general is more along the lines of 4.4%. On average, direct mail gets 37 times more responses than other mediums, especially email. This is probably because mail is the preferred form of marketing for 54% of consumers, a number that jumps to 92% when you only consider young shoppers.

Fact #7: Direct Mail Offers Strategic Targeting

Direct mail allows you to run several versions of a campaign targeted for different customer segments. More than 70% of American consumers consider direct mail to be more personal than email, and when you leverage correctly, it can live up to that expectation. For instance, with Valpak advertising, you can send one home offers or promotions that are completely different from one you send to their neighbor right next door. That’s targeting.

Fact #8: Direct Mail Methods Can Lift ROI

Understanding facets like bulk mail, mailing piece design, and optimal mailing methods can improve response numbers, accelerate response times, save money, and increase your ROI. When it comes to considering why you want to use a particular marketing tool, it always comes back to the bottom line. Direct mail is a tool that brings in impressive ROI. About 39% of consumers will try a new business based on direct mail they’ve received, a number that climbs to 60% when you’re talking about consumers inspired to visit a brand website. Similarly, 40% of consumers made a purchase because of direct mail. According to some research, this means that you’ll see an ROI rate of 13 to 1 with this medium. That’s why you need to consider aspects of direct mail that will improve your ROI based on your needs, including:

  1. Bulk Mail
    • For large, less personalized mailings
  2. Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)
    • For reaching every home on a carrier route with the same message
    • Low cost option for reaching potential customers about a new business in the area, or to push back against competition
  3. Delivery Destination Unit (DDU) Mailings
    • For larger postcards that bypass standard USPS sorting, which is more expensive but offers greater impact and response

With these facts in hand, it’s time to evaluate if advertising mailers would be a good fit for your next marketing initiative. Direct mail can play a vital role in the way customers experience your brand, which ultimately strengthens your campaigns. If you’re curious about your options, consider Valpak advertising.  The Blue Envelope® represents a prime direct mail advertising opportunity, and Valpak offers solo direct mail and digital marketing, also, to help you with your cross-channel marketing. Contact us today to find out how we can help boost your business.