Direct Mail Isn’t Dead: Here’s Why You Should Use It

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Direct mail marketing is the process of using physical mail to boost your sales. This form of unsolicited advertising isn’t used often anymore, which means it’s a great way for you to capitalize on a seemingly outdated trend. The term “direct” is given because with this form of advertising, you’re communicating directly with the consumer, rather than the through another channel. You may think direct mail is dead, but the truth is it’s alive and well, and it can work in your favor now more than ever. Here’s why you should still use this old school marketing tactic:

Measure Your Success

Many people falsely assume direct mail marketing isn’t a good investment because it won’t provide any data. The opposite is true. You can measure the success of your direct mail campaign just as easily as you would an online campaign.

The key to achieving this is setting up trackable contact methods. This includes a unique link for direct mail, a unique phone number for direct mail, or a unique discount code. Any recipient who wants to make a purchase and uses one of your trackable links will clearly demonstrate the source of their interest. If you sent out 1,000 mailers with a unique discount code, and 100 people use that discount code to make a purchase, you’d know that your campaign had a 10% success rate.

Deeper Connection to the Consumer

With email and mobile communication being the primary source of communication, it has lent an air of nostalgia to the concept of direct mail. One study even found that direct mail was more real to the mind and resulted in stronger brand emotion. Because it builds a higher internalization in the brain, it may yield a higher conversion rate. Furthermore, in 2016, the Data & Marketing Association found that the direct mail customer response rate had increased by 43%. Compared to 2015, the project response rate had also increased by 190%.

Target Your Ideal Customer

Using the Every Door Direct Mail tool on the USPS website, you can target your market just as easily as you would online. This tool is used mail to different customers in an area. Begin by entering your city or zip code, and the tool will generate a map for you. When you hover over a specific mail route, you can learn more information about it, such as the number of residents, age range, household size, how many businesses are in the area, average income of homes, and more. You can use this information to decide where to send your mailers.

Unique Customization

With direct mail, you can customize your branding in unique and unparalleled ways. From a surface level perspective, you can invest in envelope printing to help your mailer stand out from the rest. Something as simple as custom envelope design can easily capture attention. But if you have the budget, you can take your marketing efforts to the next level. If you take a look at some of the most unique direct mail campaigns, you’ll have a better understanding of what we mean.

For example, IKEA delivered mailers that were flat, but could be folded into a 3D piece of miniature furniture. The element of surprise was successful, and it also helped to communicate a brand message: IKEA furniture is very simple to build. Similarly, ADT Security had a powerful campaign that stood out among consumers. The concept was a flat box that could be slipped under door frames, and it was engineered in a way where it popped open into a 3D box once it was inside. When the recipient opened the box, the inside cardboard explained how easy it was for someone to break into your home.

Increase Your Brand Awareness

For starters, consumers enjoy having something tangible. If your business is a local restaurant and you’ve sent out mailers with a great deal, the recipient might hold onto it longer, or put it on a refrigerator management. While an email is easier to forget about, physical mail tends to stick around a bit longer. There’s also a higher chance that the recipient will, at the very least, glance at it before they throw it out. And even when they do toss it out, if your branding is good, they’ll recognize it in the future.

Integrate It With Digital Marketing

Direct mail doesn’t have to be standalone. Many great marketers use multiple channels in their campaign, and do so effectively. An easy way to do this is to include a scannable QR code on your mail. With QR codes, your recipients can use their mobile devices learn more about a product.

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Susan Melony is a writer and content marketer based in Kansas City. She writes about marketing, finance, business, and how to survive the solopreneur lifestyle. You can find her on Twitter.