In thinking about different advertising mechanisms that you could use to promote your business, most business owners think about the digital options – social media advertising, electronic billboards and native online advertising on websites frequented by your target audience. While digital advertising certainly has its place in your marketing mix, direct mail is one form of advertising that is often overlooked.
While many consider direct mail to be an antiquated form of communication, here are five reasons why direct mail should not only be considered in your 2022 plan, but may surprise you with its results and impact.
Mail is a physical medium.
We live in a world of screens – TV, tablets, computers, phones. And, those screens are crowded with businesses, individuals and organizations all competing for 15 to 30 seconds of your day. With direct mail, you take your business off the screens and directly into the hands of your audience. (Plus, with fewer businesses using direct mail, your business has less competition in the mailbox!)
As a physical medium, the beauty of direct mail is that someone has to physically touch your advertising. Compared to emails, which can be instantly discarded at the push of a button, direct mail tends to have a longer lifespan, finding a home on counters, fridges and even migrating over into the hands of family, friends and neighbors.
Being able to hold a direct mail piece isn’t the only benefit of a physical medium.
With direct mail you have the ability to create customized pieces that reflect your brand’s personality and provide key information that helps you reach your growth goals.
According to Peter Valcarce, a direct mail expert, most people tend to think of direct mail as a sealed envelope with a letter inside. However, direct mail comes in all shapes and sizes. Valcarce warns that while you can get creative with shapes and sizes, USPS requires that all mailed pieces have square corners.
Just like other forms of advertising, direct mail pieces can be customized to different campaigns, brand styles that you’re interested in promoting. However, unlike other forms of advertising, you control the approval process from start to finish, without the need to submit content to a third party for review and sign off.
You can reach specific audiences.
Direct mail can help you grow your business by allowing you to reach specific audiences that will be most receptive to your product or service.
With direct mail, you are able to micro-target specific lists of recipients. According to USPS.com, Every Door Direct Mail® (EEDM®) allows business owners to send “postcards, menus, and flyers to the right customers.” Using the EEDM Online Tool is an easy way for business owners to map zip codes and neighborhoods for mailings. There is also the ability to filter information by age, income or household size, using U.S. Census data. If you’re interested in targeting niche audiences, working with a data partner that specializes in developing customized lists can be beneficial.
Share tailored, longer messages.
Similar to other forms of advertising, direct mail allows business owners to share tailored messages. However, depending on the size of the piece that you are interested in mailing, you may have much more space than a traditional advertising platform would allow for text, images and creative elements. Let’s look at a comparison between Facebook ads and direct mail. If you’ve ever used Facebook advertising options, you have limited space to get your message across. This isn’t the case for direct mail. You control the size of the creative, thereby allowing you to be in control of your design.
According to Valcarce, while users of direct mail may have fewer limitations on creative specs, he urges business owners to keep designs clean and functional. “Cluttered designs can lead to confusion,” shares Valcarce, “If you have multiple messages that you’re trying to get across, consider sending different mailings out over the course of a few weeks. The increased frequency of mailings not only allows you to share multiple messages and information, but it also reinforces your brand and increases your chances of being remembered.”
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Get a solid ROI.
In comparison to other forms of advertising that may cost pennies, direct mail is an expensive marketing tool. Depending on the number of pieces that you’re interested in printing and the size, a piece can range anywhere from $0.20 to $2.00 or more. Not to mention, you’ll need to have a piece designed by a professional who can lay the piece out according to mailing standards. And, the cost increases if you want to mail a sealed envelope versus a postcard.
While the cost may be a hindrance for some business owners, the return on investment can be quite alluring for business owners. According to marketing expert Neil Patel, ROI for direct mail is 29%, a higher ROI when compared to paid search advertising which comes in at 23%.
Additionally, according to information published on direct mail from the USPS:
- 23% of direct mail recipients visited the sender’s store location.
- Direct mail recipients purchased 28% more items and spent 28% more than non-direct mail recipients.
- Over 60% of direct mail recipients were influenced to visit the promoted website.
- Direct mail compels action. The USPS found that 23% of direct mail recipients visited the nearest store location.
And, according to a recent study from Pitney Bowes:
- 71% of consumers acted when they received a coupon.
- 63% acted after receiving a catalog from a brand they previously purchased from.
- Over 50% acted on brands that were new or not familiar to them.
In short, those who receive direct mail take action.
Everyone gets mail.
Did you know that as of October 2021, 22.5% (27.6 million) of all U.S. households have no internet access at all? It’s true. Yikes…think about all of those potential customers that your social media and online ads aren’t reaching. But, what do all U.S. households have? A mailbox. Unlike some forms of advertising, mail is able to reach every single household regardless of age, race, income, geographic location, etc. If you have a mailing address, you have a mailbox.
With more people working from and staying at home than ever before, a trip to the mailbox can be a welcome reprieve from a busy day. Not to mention, many people simply like getting mail, especially Millennials. According to the USPS RARC report: Millennials and the Mail:
- 84% of Millennials take the time to look through their mail and 64% would rather look for useful info in the mail than from emails.
- 87% of Millennials like receiving marketing mail.
- 77% of Millennials pay attention to marketing mail.
- 90% of Millennials think marketing mail is reliable.
In short, direct mail isn’t an antiquated marketing tactic. In fact, it could perhaps be one of the most powerful marketing tools that you ever employ for your business. And, even if your other marketing tactics are working, consider adding direct mail to the mix to push your business even further in 2022. Keeping a healthy mix of marketing tactics is key to ensuring that you’re reaching your target audiences both frequently and across different channels.