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Direct Mail Is Making a Comeback

Direct Mail Is Making a Comeback

Colleges and universities are courting my 16-year-old daughter. Almost every day brings a new array of colorful and creative brochures and mailers to our home mailbox. She pours over most of them, marveling at the use of her name and the way some of them target her interests.

She loves the fact that there is some “snail mail” for her. She is not alone.

In an age in which we are bombarded with digital messages, direct mail advertising can seem fresh and new. For today’s young people, junk mail is in their spam folder, and what is in their real world mailbox can seem much more interesting.

They say everything old is new again. Long relegated by many companies as a way to reach older customers only, printed mail is making a comeback. Consider these statistics:

  • A study by Royal Mail MarketReach found that 70 percent of respondents say they receive too many emails. Fifty-seven of the study participants said personalized direct mail is more likely to grab their attention.
  • An International Communications Research survey found that 73 percent of consumers favor direct mail over other advertising methods.
  • Research conducted by Compu-Mail found that young adults, 24 years and younger, are the most direct mail responsive age group. A whopping 92 percent of these young shoppers reported that they prefer direct mail for making their buying decisions.
  • A survey by the U.S. Postal Service found that 98 percent of consumers bring in their mail on the day it is delivered and 77 percent of these consumers sort through their mail right away. More than half of the survey respondents report that they “look forward” to opening their mail, and 67 percent said they feel direct mail is more personal than digital mail.

Before you launch a direct mail campaign, here are some tips to make the most of it.

Combine Direct Mail With Your Other Marketing Efforts

The most successful direct mail campaigns link customers with your other efforts.

Use QR codes and NFC technology on your direct mail to promote your website and your social media pages, for example. A study by CP graphics found that 44 percent of customers visited a brand’s website after receiving a piece of direct-mail marketing.

Clean Up Your Database

Take the time to go through your list of contact information for current and prospective customers, looking for duplicates and outdated information. You want to make sure you reach your desired audience. This time spent translates into saved money.

Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

Gone are the days when direct mail had to tell your whole story. You can lead your customers to your website for that.

Use the direct mail piece for high impact. Your message should be well designed and concise. Consider a simple eye-catching postcard for low cost but high impact results.

Get Personal

Use your database to create personalized messages that reflect the recipient’s history with your company. Thank the recipient by name for recent business or offer a discount on a new purchase. Wish your customer “happy birthday” with a free gift.

Make Them an Offer They Cannot Refuse

Direct mail is at its most effective when it includes a special offer. Use your mail to offer a deep savings or discount to the recipient, or use direct mail to support an integrated email campaign.

Be sure to create a sense of urgency with a deadline. Be careful not to make this “special offer” too often, or your customers will lose interest.

Learn From Your Efforts

You can test and track direct mail just as you do with your other marketing efforts. Use codes for mailed coupon or print a URL that connects these customers with a special landing page.

Worried about the cost of direct mail advertising? According to the Direct Mail Association (DMA), direct mail’s cost per lead is in line with pay-per-click advertising or other print forms of advertising. It works out to be much less costly than telemarketing, the DMA reports.

According to Direct Mail News, the average response rate for direct mail is 4.4 percent for business mailings. This rate is considerably higher than email’s response rate of 0.12 percent.

Finally, timing is huge when it comes to direct mail. A reminder postcard that hits the home mailbox too early or too late is a wasted effort.

As a new junior in high school, my daughter has some time before she makes a decision for college. Until then, I will be watching for trends in how the schools’ marketing teams work to catch her discriminating eye.

I already know they have her interest.

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by Tricia Drevets // Regular Contributor to Businessing Magazine. Tricia Drevets is a freelance writer who specializes in business and communication topics. A community college speech and theater instructor, Tricia lives in beautiful Southern Oregon.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.