Why direct mail marketing still matters in the digital age

Direct mail was once the darling of savvy marketers, but with the rise of social media and email marketing, the tactic is often overlooked for something sexier. It’s truly a shame, because direct mail is still an exciting tool for acquiring customers, and it has its place in the modern marketing mix.

  • Engagement. 

Direct mail has a few core attributes working in its favor. Namely, it’s a physical object. Physical mail has this habit of sticking around, lying on a desk or table, while unwanted emails are quickly deleted and Web pages can be abandoned.

A mailer may go unnoticed at first, but repeat mailings often yield increased response rates. In fact, the U.S. Postal Service’s 2007 “Household Diary Study” states that 80% of households read or scan advertising mail.

  • Take direct mail digital.

Direct mail pieces are easily updated for the digital customer. Simply include a quick response code or a personalized URL on each mailer. These techniques allow your customer to engage with your brand online, taking your marketing strategy down the multichannel funnel. These digital strategies also allow you to better track the metrics associated with each mailing piece.

  • Deliverability.

With email marketing, you always have deliverability challenges. Will your email even make it into the recipient’s inbox, or will it be quarantined in the SPAM folder? With direct mail, deliverability isn’t an issue. If you send a piece of mail to a valid address, it’s going to be delivered.

  • Physicality.

There’s just something special about receiving a piece of print media. I always look forward to my Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. With the Internet acting as a channel for both information and expression, we sometimes forget that people used to send letters. People notice their mail because a physical mailer evokes a sense of nostalgia. It’s kind of like the resurgence of vinyl LPs in recent years — people want o experience the warmth of a romanticized time and place.

  • Creativity.

Direct mail is also one of those marketing strategies that allows for creative impact. Your direct mail piece doesn’t have to be a postcard. It could be a coffee mug, a gift basket or some other fun tchotchke. People are pummeled with brand messaging day in and day out. Do something compelling to cut through that noise.

Use these tips to incorporate direct mail into your marketing strategy. It’s an age-old tactic that can still yield strong customer response and great return on investment.


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