How Much Does Direct Mail Advertising Cost?

Last updated: July 30, 2021 | By Ivy Sieff

Reading time: 3 minutes, 30 seconds

Type “direct mail marketing” in your search bar and the top search results will mostly relate to how much direct mail marketing costs. It’s doubtful; however, that you’ll get definitive costs with a simple online search.

Let’s talk about that.

Why Is It Difficult to Provide the Cost of Direct Mail?

Because each campaign is unique. Several variables affect end costs:

Direct Mail Variables

  1. Content
  2. Graphic Design
  3. Printing
  4. Production/Mail Preparation
  5. Types of Direct Mail
  6. Mailing List
  7. Mailing Class
  8. Special Options

Although this list may make direct mail seem complicated, with the help of direct mail professionals like Valpak, it really isn’t. For reasons why direct mail is worth it, keep reading.

7 Reasons Why Direct Mail Costs Are Worth the Effort

1. Consumers are suffering from email and online ad overload.

Consumers are exposed to about 5,000 online ads and 120 emails per day. This ad and email overexposure only diminish returns on digital campaigns (although, surprisingly, the cost of online advertising is rising – in some cases as much as 50%). Negative feedback from digital ad fatigue is also hurting advertisers. If a consumer hides or blocks an ad too many times on Facebook, the platform records this as negative feedback, which can make it difficult for the advertiser to get ads accepted moving forward.

2. People still love checking for and receiving mail.

The USPS found 88% of millennials look through their mail and 59% find the information they receive in the mail more useful than what they receive via email. We’re talking millennials here, who, according to one source, hold about $600 billion in purchasing power. And it’s not just millennials who love mail. The Dec. 2019 Valpak® Readership Study found 92% of consumers who receive The Blue Envelope® open it and 81% look at every ad inside.

3. Printed mail delivers an emotionally positive experience.

According to the Office of the Inspector General, consumers spend more time examining physical ads than digital ads and experience a stronger positive emotional response and recall for them. You can view our infographic based on the OIG’s report here.

4. Direct mail strengthens branding.

Direct mail is an excellent method for strengthening your brand and top-of-mind awareness. Sending direct mail every month keeps your business top of mind with consumers when they need your product or service. Our latest readership study also found that 71% set aside 1-4 coupons they intend to share or use in the future.

5. Direct mail evokes response and engagement.

Print advertising and direct mail encourage consumers to respond and engage. The response rate for direct mail is 4.9%, higher than email, paid search, online display, and social media1 and 32.5% of homeowners have responded to a direct mail ad in the past 30 days.2 This response and engagement drive consumer purchase behavior. A recent SBA blog reported direct mail campaigns generate purchases 5X larger than email campaigns.

6. Direct mail boosts digital performance.

Direct mail-in combination with digital boosts response performance across both channels. A recent study found 83% of respondents reported good or very good ROI when direct mail is integrated into a multichannel campaign – versus 51% without direct mail. Salesforce Research reports 71% of consumers to use multiple channels to complete a single transaction. More and more advertisers are using digital combined with direct mail to target their audiences because it gets results.

7. Direct mail drives consumer purchase behavior.

According to Forbes, each $167 invested in direct mail marketing generates $2,095 in sales. Other consumer responses include:

  • Visiting the brand website
  • Making a purchase
  • Searching online for more information

One reason direct mail drives purchase behavior is trust. 82% of consumers in a marketing survey responded that they trust print ads more than any other advertising medium when making purchasing decisions.

Find the Best Direct Mail Advertising Costs for Your Budget

Typically, direct mail costs pennies per household. Although, acquiring an accurate cost estimate on your unique direct mail campaign requires you to pick up the phone and call a professional (hint: Valpak). However, it will be worth your time and effort. Taking the time to explore the best options for your campaign will ensure it produces the same great return on investment it has delivered for so many other satisfied businesses.

And won’t you wonder what the cost might be if you don’t try it?

For more than 50 years, Valpak has been the national leader in direct mail marketing with local offices nationwide. If you need help establishing a campaign for your business, contact your local Valpak representative today.


1. ANA/DMA Response Rate Report, 2018.
2. AudienceSCAN 2019.