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Direct Mail Is Alive and Kicking: The Best Practices for 2021

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Direct Mail Is Alive and Kicking: The Best Practices for 2021

Look to the past if you want to succeed in the future. Direct mail doesn’t have the same response rate it did years ago, but this doesn’t mean marketers can dismiss it completely. In fact, direct mail continues to have a significantly higher response rate than email. The Direct Marketing Association reports the response rate for direct mail is 4.4 percent. Surprisingly, the response rate for email comes in at only 0.12 percent. That’s a significant difference. What do individuals need to understand about this marketing technique? 

Direct Mail Marketing-What Is It?

Physical mail that arrives in a mailbox is referred to as direct mail. This marketing strategy involves sending a tangible item to a consumer. Many companies use this to market to consumers although businesses may send direct mail to other businesses as well. They do so with the help of custom business printing services. What are the benefits and drawbacks of direct mail today?

Direct Mail Comes with a Better Response Rate Than Email

As mentioned previously, direct mail comes with a better response rate than email. Why is this the case? Marketing Sherpa reports three-quarters of consumers today trust direct mail. The average person has 200 emails in their inbox, and this bombardment hurts companies looking to sell a product or service. Standing out in the crowd and capturing the attention of the email reader presents a challenge that is hard to overcome. 

In contrast, 40 percent of individuals say they like visiting their physical mailbox to see what they receive. They have an emotional connection to this activity. Individuals rarely say the same when it comes to checking their inbox.

However, direct mail does come with a drawback marketers must recognize. The return on investment is better with email than direct mail. The cost to send an email is much less than what one pays for direct mailings. This detail remains true even when the company factors in the cost of building the email list, composing the email, and other details involved in sending bulk emails. Companies must factor this into the decision-making process when deciding whether a digital mail or direct mail campaign is appropriate. 

The Response Rate

Marketers must know which types of direct mail receive a good response rate. House lists in 2018 featured a nine percent response rate, and this rate dropped to 4.9 percent for prospect lists. Use an oversized envelope to achieve a good response, with postcards coming in second, dimensional mail in third, and catalogs in fourth place. 

The Cost of Direct Mail

Men and women often look at the cost of postage when determining how much they might spend on a direct mail campaign. Considering this one factor and no others is a mistake. They need to take into account the materials, the cost to design the mailing and more. 

Inbound Marketing

Don’t overlook inbound marketing when creating a direct mail campaign. With a direct mailing, consumers receive unsolicited mail. Use this mailing to educate the customer about products and services to draw them in and have them contact the company. Follow up with qualified leads. In this scenario, direct mail can lead to further engagement with the consumer while saving the company time by identifying qualified leads. 

Be Creative

Direct mail captures a person’s eye. However, companies should take this a step further and find an angle to draw them in and encourage the reader to learn more. How can a company do so effectively? Use creativity combined with industry specifics to achieve this goal. 

Mercedes-Benz used direct mail to encourage drivers to learn more about a convertible they were offering. To accomplish this goal, they sent a mail that featured a picture of the vehicle on an envelope. When the reader went to open the envelope, the top would come off of the car and the convertible would be seen. The viewer could see themselves in the coupe only to reconsider how they would look in the convertible simply by opening the mailing. 

Restaurants can send a direct mailing with a picture of one of their most popular dishes. However, rather than using a standard postcard for this mailing, the dining establishment gets more attention by having the postcard cut so it looks like someone took a bite out of the food. The irregular shape will get noticed by the reader and they’ll want to know more about the sender and why they chose to remove a portion of the mailing. 

The Economist, a magazine, opted to send potential subscribers a balloon. When the recipient inflated the balloon, the brain inscribed on the back would get bigger. The magazine used this to suggest reading its publication would make the person’s brain grow much as the balloon did. It was a unique way to get the message across and encourage people to subscribe. Who doesn’t want their brain to grow? 

As The Economist demonstrated, direct mail doesn’t have to come in the form of a letter or postcard. Consider sending teachers an emergency kit if you sell school supplies. The kit could include a stain stick sample, headache medicine, a cleaning wipe, or other items the teacher might use on a daily basis. Although these may not be items the store carries, the direct mailer would get the attention of the teacher. When they go to use one of the items in the kit, they’ll remember who provided it. This technique helps to build brand identity when the direct mailer includes the store name and logo on the front of the kit. 

People often associate direct mail with spam, as the items do arrive in a person’s mailbox unsolicited. However, creative mailings are appreciated. For example, a person who may not be interested in subscribing to The Economist will still appreciate the thought that went into the mailer. It is unusual and captures the eye. They may mention the mailing to a friend who would be interested in subscribing. When this happens, the sender wins. Come up with a creative direct mailer today and see what it can do for your organization. Many business owners are surprised by the results they get. 

I am the founder of Startup Today. I am the main writer and have put in many hours of work into creating this blog. If you want to find out more about me then lets get in contact.

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