3 Reasons Direct Mail is More Relevant Now Than Ever

With so much attention placed on the ease, speed, and lower cost of digital marketing tactics it can be easy to think that offline print marketing is a thing of the past. But that would be a mistake.

One offline tactic that is especially important not to forget about is direct mail marketing: sending letters, postcards and brochures to the mailbox of your ideal customer.

New data from retail giants shows just how important direct mail can be in driving consumers to buy. One recent example of this is Nordstrom, who saw a major decrease in sales when they tried cutting their direct mail program earlier this year.

Here's why you should focus your marketing strategy on real life mailboxes just as much as on digital ones.

Direct Mail is More Memorable

Research shows that people process information on paper differently than information on a screen.

One Canadian study used eye-tracking technology and EEG brain scans to determine how people respond to different media. Researchers found out that people used 21% less of their cognitive capabilities reviewing direct mail than they did for digital ads.

Using less cognitive capacity means direct mail pieces are easier to understand and tend to be remembered over a longer period of time than digital ads. This same study showed that people who see direct mail are capable of recalling the brand 75% of the time, compared to just 44% of the time when they see a digital ad!

Beyond this incredible data about how our brains process printed vs. digital information, direct mail simply sticks around because it is tangible. It occupies physical space and demands to be remembered.

With email inboxes becoming so cluttered that the average American worker has 199 unread emails at any given time, email ads run the risk of becoming just another forgettable "unopened" notification on a screen. Conversely, physical mail is unavoidable.

Unlike emails, if your direct mail piece has a special offer most people will save it for future use and go back to it when they have a need for whatever you are selling. What's more, since print is physical it can't be "deleted" with the click of a button, and there is a possibility that it will passed on to more potential consumers. 

Direct Mail Gets a Higher Response

In 2016, The Data & Marketing Association reported that the direct mail customer response rate increased by 43%. Even better, the prospect response rate increased by 190% compared to 2015.

Direct mail pulls a higher response rate than any digital direct marketing medium, ranging from five to nine times greater than that of email, paid search, or social media. But don’t go canceling your digital marketing campaigns just yet. Pairing direct mail with digital advertising is the most effective strategy to build brand recognition and loyalty.

Based on a recent study, 76% of shoppers discuss at home relevant mail from a brand or retailer they’ve purchased from in the past. With 81% of recipients touching their mail every day, direct mail offers the opportunity to establish lasting connections with shoppers. What’s more, direct mail shoppers are highly engaged. The same study found that 61% of recipients consider direct mail influential in driving purchase decisions. In fact, 75% of direct mail shoppers talked about the product post-purchase, while 22% liked or followed the brand or retailer on social media.

Direct Mail Reaches All Age Groups

Everyone checks the mail. And because of that, your postcards and coupons can turn anyone—young or old—into a customer.

It may not come as a surprise that online marketing doesn’t offer a great chance of reaching an older demographic.

Only 59% of people between ages 65 and 69 own a smartphone. That percentage continues to decrease with age to as low as 17% for those 80 and older. Similarly, an average of only 67% of people between ages 65 and 80 have the Internet, decreasing to 44% with increased age. Finally, only 34% of people between ages 65 and 80 use social media, going down from there as age increases. 

Direct mail offers a powerful tool to reach this older demographic. 

Surprisingly, direct mail is also a powerful tool to reach the younger, digitally native generation of Millennials. Gallup reports that 36% of people under 30 look forward to checking the mail each day, and the U.S. Post Office even found that Millennials spend 9.7 more minutes sorting through their mail than any other generation. What's more, studies have shown that 90% of people ages 25 to 34 find direct mail reliable, and 87% like receiving it.

All things considered, if you’re looking to capture the business of the coveted Millennial consumer you’ll definitely want to give direct mail a shot.

In the end, direct mail is still a powerful marketing tool. To stand out in today’s world where everything has gone digital, we recommend complementing your digital marketing strategy with the personal touch of a direct-mail campaign.

Interested in using direct mail to boost your sales? We can help! Just contact a sales rep to get started today!