An Appreciation For An Old Friend: Direct Mail

Since I started my marketing career in direct mail, I have a soft spot in my heart for it. And, I believe there is still a place for it among the digital channels that are pervasive today. With more companies evaluating their ad spend and marketing budgets, many believed they should gravitate to advertising tactics like virtual reality, digital ads and boosted social posts.

However, companies have discovered these ad tactics often don’t yield the same results as traditional marketing strategies. Now, many brands are turning to their old marketing friend, direct mail, to leverage various print mediums. The $44.2 billion direct mail industry continues to thrive, even in a digital age, and it is doing so because it is a tried and true marketing tactic that gets results for advertisers.

Money Mailer is a good example of how direct mail is still delivering in the digital age. The company has gone from approximately 135 franchise partners in 2010 to 175 in 2017. Last year, Money Mailer sent over seven billion coupons, with an advertising value of $1 billion. John Patinella, CEO of Money Mailer, shared his insights on direct mail and why it should still matter to companies today.

Direct Mail Still Counts

Direct mail is effective because “giving, receiving and handling tangible objects remain deep and intuitive parts of the human experience.” Plus, U.S. advertisers spend $167 per person on direct mail to earn $2,095 worth of goods sold. That’s a 1,300% return on their investment. The response rate to direct mail pieces is much higher at 3.7% compared to 2% for mobile, 1% for email, 1% for social media, and 0.2% for Internet display.

Consumers continue to use paper coupons at a higher rate each year. In fact, according to a recent study, 93% of people said they use coupons from the mail in 2018. This is up five percentage points compared to 88% in 2017. Although consumers always rely on their smartphones, there is still a pleasant “tactile experience” from touching and using physical coupons.

atinella explained, “According to research by the Indiana Digital, consumers have experienced a 38% increase in oxytocin levels when receiving paper coupons. And, for advertisers, direct mail coupons continue to remain viable. A high average response rate of 5.1% as reported by the DMA. This is nearly three times the average response rate of email, paid search, online display and social media combined.”

Millennials Like Direct Mail

Despite being glued to their smartphones, millennials often prefer receiving direct mail. InfoTrends found that 38% of millennials prefer direct mail while only 26% like email marketing. The same study reported that 25% of millennials view reading direct mail as a leisure activity. The USPS found that 47% of millennials actually check their physical mailbox each day and also spend more time going through the mail they receive, including direct mail marketing material.

love direct mail

Millennials love direct mail. Shutterstock

However, since millennials also spend considerable time online, many marketers have focused on hybrid tactics. These tactics transition the millennial direct mail reader to view related online information. For example, direct mail ads with QR codes and scannable coupons leverage millennials’ combined channel interests.

Benefits For Any Industry

Another reason to consider direct mail is that it is a proven way to get advertising messages in consumers’ hands. A recent Money Mailer case study measured print advertising’s impact on a national network satellite dealer’s website. They found there was a 35% increase in website activity. The Money mailer campaign motivated consumers to flock to the satellite dealer’s website. Here, they could view product and package options.  As a result, the advertiser decided to maintain Money Mailer to drive further network sales activity.

“When consumers receive the Money Mailer envelope in their mailbox,” Patinella noted, “it is the food offer visible through the front window that gets them to open the envelope, month-after-month.  Once the consumer is inside, they go through each of the ads to find savings on other local products and services. Things like, carpet cleaning services, a new roof or perhaps a fun local activity to do with the family are examples of what influences advertisers to purchase items they may or may not have been looking for.”

Over the years, Money Mailer has become increasingly hyper-focused on delivering local, quality content in their direct mail envelopes. Neighborhood consumers view advertisers as a “local brand.”  Good local content is what gets Money Mailer’s envelopes open. And, more open envelopes mean more redemptions for Money Mailer advertisers.

Direct Mail Best Practices

Now that you know direct mail is still relevant for customer acquisition, it’s time to leverage some direct mail best practices. Throughout Money Mailer’s direct mail coupons, there are Calls to Action (CTAs) to prompt the recipient to do something. These include save money by a specific time or learn more on another channel like online, mobile, or print. You can use personalized URLs (PURLs), coupon codes, QR codes, reply codes, and printed coupons.

Also, make the direct mail piece as informative as possible to capture their attention. Use logos, visuals, charts, and targeted content to make direct mail a leisure activity. It may be beneficial to use a geo-location strategy to encourage a call to action to visit a local storefront. Lastly, research the demographics in your area to align your messaging and visuals with your audience’s preferences and interests.

~Source: Forbes

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