top of page
  • Writer's pictureJulia Bailey

DIRECT MAIL: You CAN Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

I started my career as a direct mail copywriter. Those were my salad days, when clients had generous direct marketing budgets and I had the luxury of writing long sales letters, offer buckslips, lift letters, multi-page brochures, order forms, and more. (Wow, I’m really dating myself!)

Then came email marketing and social media. And all the clients with the big direct marketing budgets moved on to short, strategic digital marketing tools.

Now, with new digital marketing strategies that yield a high ROI, is direct mail dead? On the contrary. I believe that, because everybody's scrambling to leverage digital methods, good old traditional direct mail is more effective than ever. Because there's so much less of it these days, it actually stands out when it arrives in a mailbox.


The tide has turned (back)

The other day, I was stopped in my tracks by a LinkedIn post Tracy Samantha Goodheart, a PR consultant I’ve followed since 2011, when I attended one of her “Creating Your Own Blog” classes at the Chicago Tribune. In the post, she touted the power of direct mail to “break through the noise of digital ads and get around ad blockers” and its ability to garner high conversion rates. It inspired me to take a new look at my old pal direct mail.


Turns out, now that consumers are receiving thousands of emails every month and only a few pieces of “snail mail,” direct mail is actually growing in popularity. And it's a winner when it comes to ROI. In 2022, it outperformed other channels with an average ROI of 43%, compared with 32% for email and 29% for social media advertising.


So, I thought, "Why aren't we taking advantage of this surprising turn of events by combining the new appeal of direct mail with digital strategies we're already using?" Bear with me, here are a few ideas that just might work:

  • Combine a social ad and/or email campaign with a personalized direct mail piece. After all, consumers who see your brand and message in multiple places are more likely to recognize you, recall your message, and respond. 

  • Include personalized URLs in your mailings that provide customers with a personalized appeal and an appealing option for response.

  • Mix it up by combining direct mail with influencer marketing. Really, think about it! If you’re already featuring an influencer as part of your social media strategy, why not feature them in a direct mail campaign, too, with a QR code that takes them to a landing page? The beauty of direct mail is its stickiness, so they might even hold onto your direct mail as a reminder of your offer.

  • Is content marketing your jam? Direct mail offers another way to point customers and prospects to your website to access your high-value content assets.

  • Video is also really big now. So, why not think about using a video mailer to take advantage of the impact of video and the convenience of direct mail?

  • You can even incorporate direct mail with your ABM campaigns. Let’s face it, your target accounts are inundated with digital communications. Direct mail adds another touchpoint and opportunity to get their attention. And it gives your sales team something to reference when they do their follow-up phone and digital communications.


Mail matters

According to a recent report from WARC and Marketreach, nearly two-thirds of recipients say that mail attracts their undivided attention for an average of 108 seconds. And more than 80% of mail in an envelope is opened by recipients. That means they actually take time out of their busy day to stop and read your message.

The average response rate for direct mail is increasing, too, up to as much as 4.9% for prospects and 9% for the household list, according to one study. Compare that to digital ads that, if they're lucky, get a 0.14% ad clickthrough rate. And when it comes to the landing page, the average conversion rate is 2.35%.

Maybe that’s why 89% of marketers have increased or maintained their investments in direct mail in the last year, with predictions that mail volume and investments will continue to increase in 2024 and beyond.

So, let's take a fresh look at my old friend direct mail. It may just deliver results that are something to bark about.



10 views0 comments


bottom of page