The re-emergence of direct mail

The re-emergence of direct mail

By Indi Rooney


In an age when we are bombarded with digital advertising, direct mail can almost seem quaint and colloquial. The novelty may be the reason snail mail marketing is making a comeback.


How many emails do you get each day? Dozens? Hundreds? Most of us even have multiple email accounts between work and personal accounts. Now think about the number of ads you’re served each day while online. How many do you actually look at and remember? There’s stiff competition to stand out. Getting an attractive piece of direct mail from the mailbox may be more likely to grab your attention.

Consumers are getting tired of the neverending influx of email advertising. The idea of going “old school” is starting to appeal to a lot of marketers. In fact, direct mail response rates have been steadily climbing, with a 37 percent increase since 2015, according to the US Postal Service.


A Royal Mail study of mail users in the United Kingdom found that 87% of customers rate mail as believable, compared to 48% for email. The same study also sussed out that 65% of customers are likely to pay full attention to direct mail pieces versus the state of constant distraction when we’re online.

However, businesses can be reticent to travel down the path of direct mail as they associate it with high costs, difficult execution and tough-to-track metrics. Let’s break down the major concerns:


1. Cost – You do have to design, print and pay postage for direct mail. But, thanks to online tools and office postage meters, you can create a slick direct mail campaign on a budget.


2. Creation – Online design tools can make anyone a graphic designer. (Note: our designer is the exception, because she’s amazing!). There are online print shops that offer free templates you can customize to suit your brand and some print companies even offer free design (or a big discount) with your order.


3. Tracking – Gone are the days when direct mail had to tell your whole story. You can lead your customers to your website for more information. If you count the visitors to a custom landing page or track a unique phone number, you can accurately gauge the success of your direct mailer.


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Don’t expect landslide numbers from your direct mail campaign. A 2 percent response rate is average. The number may seem small, but in the scheme of click-thru rates, overflowing email inboxes and just flat out annoying your customers, a mailer just may surprise and delight them. Consider the possibilities of direct mail as a winning tactic in the quest for customer attention.