Direct Mail: The Walking Dead
Written by Abby Telleria
Like a Zombie, direct mail keeps coming back – and still delivers. A jaw-dropping 65% of consumers made a purchase as a direct result of direct mail. That’s right, direct mail. The thing you probably presumed to be as dead as a doornail is still very much alive!
In the days of mad tweeting, blogging, Facebooking – it’s hard to believe that what’s still considered a “dinosaur” in the marketing world by some – is basically gold sitting in your customer’s mailbox.
According to a survey conducted by Target Marketing Magazine, direct mail is the one channel that delivered the strongest ROI for customer acquisition for B2C marketers, and scored the highest for customer contact and retention.
In fact, J.C. Penny decided to bring back its print catalog after being dormant for five years. According to an article on NPR, a spokesperson for the retail giant says the catalog is making a comeback because of its popularity with customers and its ability to drive traffic to its online site and its stores.
So why not add direct mail to your online engagement strategy? With email inboxes full and traditional mail volumes down, you have an even greater chance of getting your message noticed by your prospects and customers.
According to a report from Compu-Mail, response rates for direct mail are at 5.1%, a record high since 2003. That’s 2 ½ times the response rate of email, paid search, online display and social media combined. As for our younger generation, they’ve been an exception to that rule (aren’t they always?). Response rates with 18-21 year olds are actually much higher – 12.4% to be exact.
And, while direct mail costs may be higher, Direct Marketing Association (DMA) reported that the cost per lead and cost per sale across direct mail, email and paid search are about equal.
Simply put – people still genuinely like to receive and read mail.
Direct Mail with a Digital Twist
By integrating direct mail into your omni-channel efforts, you can get more eyes on your company’s brand, and then drive home your message with a follow-up email campaign or digital messaging. It’s a one-two-punch.
Compu-Mail also states that when direct mail is combined with digital ads, the conversion rate is 28% higher; and, that marketing campaigns that used direct mail with one or more digital medium experienced 118% lift in response compared to using direct mail only.
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, when both email and direct mail are used together, the response rate is 25%, a huge uptick from solo email or solo direct mail campaigns.
And the same goes on an international scale. A study by Royal Mail’s research agency, Quadrangle, reports larger increases in customer engagement through the use of both mediums together. The report states 13% uplift on driving consumers to a website; 22% uplift on a purchase; and 34% uplift on using a coupon.
Without a doubt, while both mediums are effective on their own, using them together as part of an overall integrated campaign can significantly boost customer loyalty and ultimately, drive more sales.
The Future of Direct Mail
New and innovative technologies allow marketers to add more of the wow factor to their direct marketing campaigns and actually extend its shelf-life. For example, most marketers combine their direct mail efforts with mobile phone technology such as QR codes or SnapTag (a barcode similar to QR codes) to direct consumers to landing pages with relevant information.
Some take it a step further with the use of augmented reality (AR), which allows marketers to tie in a direct mail piece with video or computer-generated 3D graphics to improve engagement through a more personalized and compelling digital experience – think virtual shopping trip or game.
Another technology – near field communication (NFC), the wireless touch-to-transfer technology – will help direct mail remain a relevant marketing vehicle in years to come. It would enable marketers to deliver content through an NFC chip, so when a user touches a smartphone to marketing collateral – there’s an instant connection.
Direct mail will continue to be a workhorse for generating leads, traffic and sales, while your other media will help drive interest and awareness.
So, whether you currently use direct mail or are considering it, contact us to learn how our tools can help you get the most out of your campaigns. A successful direct mail effort starts with a clean and up-to-date mailing list, personalizing your mail and knowing exactly who to target with valuable demographic information.