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Direct Mail Campaigns: How Effective Are They?

In case you’re wondering, direct mail campaigns are totally worth it. For a while now, an urban legend about the death of direct mail has come to exist. Admittedly, the internet has charmed many people around the world into forgetting about its existence. That said, direct mail still has some endearing qualities. Even in the contemporary setting.

Curious? We’re more than happy to dig deep and delve into the subject further. While at it, we’ll share some actionable pointers on how to leverage direct mail campaigns to book more sales meetings. Sounds awesome right?

What is Direct Mail?

Direct mail is a marketing strategy that involves the sending of a physical letter, postcard, brochure, mailer, or package. As a salesperson, you can use direct mail to reach out to prospects and form longstanding relationships with existing customers. To really pull this off, you need to tap into your creative side and aim for minimalism. As you draft your message, ensure that you are incorporating a call to action and way for customers to reach out.

Here’s a couple of other prerequisites to run a successful direct mail campaign:

  • Define your audience – Evaluate your target audience and focus your energies there. This is important since it can help you save funds in the long run.
  • Run tests – Once you’ve defined your market and discovered who to market, it’s high time to perform a couple of test batches. As you evaluate, have a system in place to monitor customers’ engagement.
  • Proofread your mailers – It’s a good idea to kick things off on the right foot. Crosscheck your mailer and get rid of any existing grammatical errors and typos.  The text should flow and resonate with prospects.
  • Follow Up – We can’t stress this enough. By keeping tabs on engagements and responding to mailers, you’ll have a vast database for your future endeavors.

Why direct mail campaigns keep winning

Mail advertising is a practice that dates back to 1,000 BC in Egypt. However, it didn’t make it into mainstream catalogs until the 1800s. Since then, a number of brands have been able to build a name for themselves. One such company is Sears. Using direct mail, they were able to appeal to customers. How did they do it? By quoting competitive prices for products clients wanted. Cleverly, they did away with the over-dependence on local stores by delivering quality products and services.

In modern times, direct mail still has value in the business scene. In fact, it’s not a stretch to suggest that direct mail campaigns are continually shaping the landscape of B2C and B2B selling.

1. Excellent response rate

While direct mail has taken a hit from the rise of technology, there’s still an aura about it. In particular, the response rate hasn’t diminished that much. A study by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) actually showed that direct mail campaigns are all the rage. In their analysis of Bizo and Epsilon data, they noted that their campaigns registered a 4.4% response rate. To get the gist of things, their email initiative registered a paltry 0.12%.

Conclusively, they found that in most instances, the response rate from such campaigns stands at about 10-30 times higher than digital initiatives. The key reason behind this is believed to be the clutter associated with digital media. With direct mail, the channel is less chaotic. A characteristic that makes clients receptive to it.

2. Strong perceived value and interactivity

Despite having made impressive strides on the tech front, humans remain wired the same. In their research, the UK Royal Mail showed that direct mail has not gone out of fashion due to innate human attributes. Surprisingly, people would rather interact with objects that have a physical factor. The act of sending, receiving, opening, saving, and disposing of mail actually makes it a better medium. This is quite a contrast to electronic mail which is weightless, has zero substance and dimension. By giving your clients the opportunity to handle tangible objects, you’ll be able to contribute to the human experience.

This emotional connection also plays a big part in the effectiveness of direct mail. From the same study, it was noted that 60% of respondents shared they were able to recall tangible marketing strategies. At the same time, 57% of respondents shared that they felt valued after receiving postcards.

From the findings, it’s clear to see that physical mail has plenty of pros. You can use this as a great foundation to build authentic relationships.

3. Easy comprehension

A study showed that on average, direct mail campaigns work because it takes less than 21% cognitive effort. It’s easier for clients to process information since they don’t have to invest so much of their energy reading through the mail. For them, the easier your information is to understand, the better chance you have of resonating with your target audience.

On the flip side, if they were to encounter hurdles during the reading process, you would struggle to meet your objectives.

4. Memorable

What’s the greatest ad you’ve ever seen? There’s a fairly good chance you’ve already visualized a couple of ads you’ve seen through the years. All without having to crawl through endless Google pages looking for a particular ad campaign. This indicates that the marketing campaign was drafted to have a long-lasting impact on its audience. As an entrepreneur, this is what you should be looking to achieve. With a direct mail campaign, you’ll have a better shot at success than other virtual alternatives.

Remarkably, this is not just an assertion, it’s actually a proven fact. Research shows that millennials who spend more time engaging with physical ads tend to have a stronger emotional response. When this happens, they tend to have better memory retention of what they’ve seen. If you’re looking to come up with a game-changing project, direct mail could hold the key to unlocking those doors.

5. Creative opportunities

With direct mail, there’s plenty of wiggle room for you to tap into your creative side. To achieve a seamless customer journey, we suggest pairing your digital content marketing with direct mail. Once you do, you’ll be able to get the best of both worlds and expand your reach.

One way of doing this is by sending out postcards that feature a code for customers to scan on their devices. Ideally, you want to redirect them to something such as a YouTube video that offers insights about a product. As you make the video, you can also choose to come up with a hashtag that they can use in social media posts. This is highly recommended since it will help you come up with a uniform brand message all round.

6. Easy to get noticed

So many companies have jumped onto the digital marketing bandwagon. The objective? To connect with more audiences using an environmentally friendly route. While all this is dandy, it’s left the direct mail playing field wide open. With fewer players involved, it’s easier for you to stand out by conducting campaigns.

One notable thing is that many people tend to skim through emails. As a result, not much information is retained.

In contrast, they are more likely to pay attention when they get a colorful direct mail piece delivered to them. This is because many people don’t expect direct mail in this era. At the same time, it’s worth noting that there are fewer distractions handling them than when they’re online.

Another key advantage is the staying power of physical mail. While email gets forgotten or trashed as soon as it’s received, direct mail is usually kept in storage when not wanted. Some people actually stick mail on their fridge or on boards to look at when they please. Once they require the services offered by your company, they’ll be quick to remember just who to call. This bodes well for you if you’re planning to get more sales meetings.

7. Purchasing desire

Not too long ago, the U.S. Post Office sponsored a study that made use of the latest in tech innovation. In the study, they were able to read and track eye-movement and use biometric measurements. The goal? To gauge the attention and emotional engagement associated with both digital and direct mail.

After respondents underwent this exercise, they were asked to recall a particular ad. During this evaluation, magnetic resonance and imaging was used to monitor their brain activity. The findings were spectacular since they showed almost equal engagement levels for both digital and physical ads. The key distinguishing factor was that recipients of physical ads exhibited heightened levels of excitement. The researchers attributed this twinkle in their eye to the enhanced level of desire for the items advertised.

8. The millennial appeal

Contrary to what popular culture will have you believe, not all millennials were raised with iPhones and tablets in their hands. To assume that they would want nothing to do with direct mail would be a big mistake to make. In truth, a good number of them like mail. The key reason behind this is the built-in emotional response factor.

Gallup came up with a revealing report about millennials. In their report, they showed that 36% of people under the age of 30 look forward to checking their mailboxes every day. At the same time, they realized that a whopping 95% of 18-29-year-olds like receiving direct mail.

While the aforementioned numbers are impressive, we’re sure you’re thinking about the financial side of things. If so, you’ll be glad to hear about Accenture’s report. From their estimates, they expect millennials to have great spending power amounting to $1.4 trillion by 2020.

Tips to create direct mail campaigns

1. Be creative

When creating campaigns, keep things fresh. This means spicing up the presentation and injecting some of your creativity into the mix. Instead of sending bland letters that have the same feel as bills, create something exciting. By doing so, you’ll be motivating prospects to book a one-on-one session for you. Our design team is here to help you with this step.

2. Emotional Connection

When it comes to buying, many people don’t solely base their decision on logical information. Instead, they also factor in their emotional connection to the product. Then weigh the options before reaching a verdict. It’s also worth documenting that in the advertising scene, feelings of fear, anger, affirmation, and disgust are known to work wonders. If you can tap into any of these emotional states, your message will hit home.

3. Uniqueness

In most instances, emails are not fun environments. They are usually clogged by bills, bank statements, and spam content. As a result, many people tend to ignore most of the correspondence coming their way.

To avoid becoming another statistic, we suggest devising exciting campaigns. If you’re a newbie and are looking for inspiration for your project, we recommend trying your hand at juxtaposition. Ideally, this means thinking up creative ways to showcase just how excellent your service is by making comparisons to a completely different service.

When properly executed, your audience will pay special attention to your message and likely proceed to buying.


For one reason or another, direct mail doesn’t have the best reputation. However, our review clearly shows that it’s not going anywhere. When done right, it can be targeted, engaging and relevant. The great thing about it is that it can be used whether you’re running a B2C or B2B business. With the tips shared, we’re confident you have the necessary info to come up with brilliant campaigns that pull at the heartstrings. Contact us by phone or email to schedule a meeting so we can help you get started with your campaign today!



Posted by AlphaGraphics