Every year, a new set of studies will tell you that email is the most powerful marketing channel out there. We get it: there’s no better way to reach people 1:1 with timely, relevant messages than in their own inboxes. But the fact is, email is becoming a competitive battleground for your audience’s attention. Marketers still rely on email for one simple reason: it’s cost effective—according to the CMO Council, the ROI of email marketing is quadruple that of direct mail ($28.50 vs. $7.00). We’ve compiled some direct mail marketing stats to show that direct mail really can hold its own as a channel.
For instance, Meineke’s localized direct mail campaigns with Lob saw conversion rates of up to 15%.
Companies that are thinking about sending direct mail marketing campaigns at scale have an off-the-bat way to reduce their costs, scale their outreach, and make tactical outreach. Just as easily as you can with email, you can use an API to control your sends, personalize campaign elements for different segments, and track performance (with a promotional code, for instance). But before jumping into the tech, it’s important to remember the human side of direct mail—why it’s such a powerful channel in the first place.
People aren’t opening emails, but still sort through their mail
Take a look at your email inbox right now. How many messages are waiting for you? Some people are able to keep their Inbox at zero, but most of us have hundreds of unopened emails, and more on the way.
Given this perspective, it’s no surprise that according to MailChimp’s email benchmarks, most companies see average open rates below 20%. It’s hard to stand out to your readers.
But unlike email, people are actually sorting through their physical mail, and they do so immediately. A study by Epsilon showed that 77% of people sort through their physical mail as soon as they get it. So if you design something eye-catching and memorable? You have a strong chance of capturing your recipient’s attention.
98% of Americans check their mail every day
Some marketers may worry that direct mail messages will go unread–that the mailings will go to a random address, and never leave the mailbox.
The short answer: don’t.
The mailbox is something physical, and people check it. According to data from the U.S. Postal Service, 98% of people check their mail on a daily basis. If you send something out, there’s a high likelihood that it’s going to get seen.
If you send out consistent mailings, then people will see your brand often. Your messages won’t go to a spam folder. Instead, they’ll hit your customer’s physical mailbox.
Roughly 66% of people have bought something because of direct mail
According to the Direct Mail Association (DMA), nearly two-thirds of people have bought something because of a direct mail piece. Additionally, 70% of customers have re-started a relationship because of direct mail.
But it’s not enough to just send out a postcard with your logo printed on the front. The key to capturing your audience’s attention is to offer something up, like a discount or promotion. If you require people to use a code on the direct mail piece, you can track the success of your direct mail campaign.
People feel that direct mail is more personal than the internet
There’s something about receiving an email that can feel impersonal. It can take a long time for images to load, or they won’t load at all. With so many messages coming into your inbox, it’s hard to feel like any of them are special.
Direct mail, on the other hand, feels personal. According to USPS, 69% of people feel that mail is more personal than the internet. You’re receiving something tangible–like a ‘thank you’ card vs. a ‘thank you’ email.
When it comes to direct mail marketing, even the subtlest personalization techniques can make a big difference. Make sure your names and addresses are accurate, as no one likes to receive a mailing addressed to the wrong person. Consider writing personal letters or using first names, for instance. Remember that with programmatic direct mail, all of these capabilities become scalable.
Physical mail leaves an imprint in the brain
Millward Brown, a research agency, found that physical media left a “deeper footprint” in the brain than digital media did. If people can touch and see a piece of direct mail, they’re likely to be more engaged with it.
It sounds crazy, but touching something with your hands helps you commit it to memory. So when people receive direct mail, it can actually leave an impression on people’s brains.
Consider what happens when you receive a piece of mail. You retrieve it from your mailbox, carry it to a countertop or table, and carefully sift through each piece. This exercise causes you to touch, feel, and see the mailings you’ve received.
People spend 30 minutes reading their mail
If a potential customer spends a few minutes on your website, that’s considered a good amount of time. What if we told you that they spend 10x more time with their mail?
According to the USPS, Americans spend an average of 30 minutes reading their mail on any given occasion. When it comes to magazines, they spend 45 minutes turning the pages.
People enjoy receiving direct mail
Today, our mailboxes are filled with health insurance notices, various bills, and coupons for the grocery stores in our local area. So when we receive a piece of mail from our favorite brand, it excites us.
There’s something about receiving mail that makes people feel good. In fact, 56% say receiving mail is a “real pleasure,” and 55% “look forward” to learning what they’ve received in the mail, according to the USPS.
Direct mail represents a huge opportunity for marketers to connect with their customers. It can lead to more sales, brand awareness, and a deeper sense of connection.
Optimize your direct mail at scale
As a marketer, you’re constantly told to increase your output in the digital realm. You’re encouraged to write more blog posts, amp up your social sharing strategy, and spend more on PPC. But direct mail is still a great way to connect with prospective and loyal customers. Delight your audience, and start sending direct mail. And with the right tech, from a campaign planning perspective, direct mail has the potential to be as simple as email. Learn how Lob’s programmatic direct mail API can help you. And subscribe to our newsletter for more tips on how technology can improve your direct mail marketing.