Direct Mail is hot-hot-hot

January 18th, 2023 by

All of the pundits agree that direct mail is hot. For any of you deniers out there, it’s not the same direct mail from the past. It’s not “spray and pray” and it’s certainly NOT junk.

Direct mail today is a personalized, well-planned, marketing channel that has a high read rate, high response rate.  It guides buyer intent, moving the recipient from channel to channel. In fact, direct mail works best as an anchor to other channels, combining to create higher response. Studies show that when it’s coupled with digital media, direct mail increases conversions by 10% – 25%.

Bottom line, it’s got to be relevant. If it’s not significant to the recipient, it’s a waste of your time and money.

There are so many statistics in the marketplace that confirm that direct mail is hot.  Here are some great numbers I wanted to share with you:

92% of consumers have been driven to online or digital activity as a result of receiving mail.

And, before you think that’s crazy, just think of the Amazon Holiday catalog that drove people to order online – or how many people get their property tax / utility bills in the mail and pay them online.

87% of consumers have been influenced to make online purchases as a result of receiving mail. 

And, in addition to this, the DMA reports the following as a direct result of receiving mail

    • 86% have connected with a business online
    • 54% have engaged in social media
    • 43% have downloaded something

79% of households say they read or scan direct mail ads

Your customer base isn’t just willing to read your print marketing materials; they’re highly likely to read them. How many online ads do you read every day? Always think about the USPS mail moment. That’s the time when people get their mail, sort their mail and look over their mail.

39% of customers say they try a business for the first time because of direct mail advertising

If you’ve ever wondered where to find new customers, direct mail marketing is the solution. If you want someone to try your business, make them an offer they can’t refuse. According to the USPS, 69% of millennials go through their mail looking for restaurant coupons. Give them a reason to try you!!

Direct mail marketing yields, on average, a 13-to-1 return on investment ratio

Many small businesses are wary of print marketing due to the perceived high initial investment, but the average return speaks for itself. Small businesses need to take advantage of the options now available that let them market in small quantities.

Direct mail is scalable

One of the best things about direct mail is that you don’t have to mail to 50,000 people to be successful. Small businesses can mail small quantities. They can fine tune their prospect list and spend their money marketing only to the best possible prospects.

92% of young shoppers say they prefer direct mail for making purchasing decisions

Direct mail is one of the most effective ways to reach the Gen Z audience. This audience is 40% more likely to claim that mail can change their mind about a brand than the average adult. And, don’t forget about the coupon statistic. 69% of millennials and Z-ers go through their mail looking for restaurant coupons.

Direct mail brings in 78% of donations for nonprofits

As far as fundraisers go, direct mail can’t be beat!  It’s also cheaper than staging an event. And, before you shrug your shoulders in disbelief, the reality is direct mail continues to be the workhorse of fundraising. The very best nonprofits have robust direct mail programs. That’s because direct mail is effective and, believe it or not, donors like to receive mail.

For every $167 spent on direct mail, U.S. marketers sell $2,095 in goods

That makes for a 1,300% return on average. I have heard all sorts of ROI numbers. But everyone agrees that you get back far more than you spend. BTW – do your Facebook and AdWords efforts pay off like that?

Personalization increases response

I read a great statistic that adding a customer’s name in full color can increase response rate by 135%. Crazy number 135% – but bottom line is that we all know that personalization increases response. Color makes the name stand out and be noticed. The truth is that we all like to see our name in print.

82% of customers find print marketing to be the most trustworthy type of marketing – 76% trust direct mail advertising

If you want to build trust, the statistics suggest you should invest in print. Marketing Sherpa’s survey found that the top five most trusted advertising forms are traditional.

44% of customers visit a brand’s website after receiving direct mail marketing

That means you could get 4 in 10 people to visit your website with a simple postcard campaign.  That’s 10 percent more than people who visit a brand’s website after receiving an email. Using digital technology can leverage traditional advertising. Think QR codes.

48% of people retain direct mail for future reference

Even if your direct mail marketing doesn’t yield an immediate response, customers will remember you when it’s time to buy. Direct mail simply lasts longer than digital marketing or email. People pile it on their desks or stick it on the fridge.

Remember magnets? They can really up your response rate. There is a fabulous case study of a hospital who mailed emergency ID kits to new movers. They were able to document the number of responses to the mailing as well as how many people used them.

Over 64% of businesses

(in financial services, e-commerce, travel, media, quo, telecommunications, insurance and healthcare) agree that direct mail is hot. It delivers the best response rate of all their channels. One of the reasons has to do with its’ trustworthiness.

Direct mail has an average ROI of 29%

We marketers toss that expression (ROI) around like everyone is supposed to understand it.  Return on investment (ROI) is a valuable metric that shows how your direct mail campaigns performed. To calculate the ROI of your direct mail campaigns, divide the net profit by your total campaign investment and multiply that by 100.

An example of the calculations: If you invested $1,000 in your direct mail campaign and you received $1,200 in profits, your ROI would be 20%.  If your direct mail made a net profit of $6,000 (after expenses) and you spent $2,000 on your direct mail campaign, your ROI would be 300%. If you had an ROI of 300%, you got three times the value of your initial investment. In other words, you had a great return and your campaign was a success!

Direct mail has an average response rate of 9%

According the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), the average direct mail response rate is 9%. This is very impressive when you compare it to the average response rate from email of 1%.

House Lists versus Prospect Lists

The ANA reports the response rate on a house list at 9% and a prospect list at 5%. That’s why its so important to keep your customer list current. Remember to update it annually through NCOA. Append phone numbers, update email addresses. Your house list is golden. Make sure you maintain it that way.

Direct Mail Type makes a difference

Oversized envelopes provides the highest response rate, followed by postcards and then letters. Postcards offer you a lot of flexibility, both in size and speed of delivery. You can mail an oversized postcard, first class, for 38 cents.

Retention vs Acquisition Response Rates

Retention mailings have the response rates in excess of 10%, while acquisition campaigns are typically in the 5-10% range.  Again, acquisition response depends on the mailing list, the offer and the creative.