Direct Mail during the Quarantine

Amid the widespread slowdowns across the economic spectrum, there’s a potential bright spot in our industry that bears mentioning.

“While all corners of the print industry have already been impacted by Covid-19, some sectors have seen less of a downturn than others, and opportunities particularly exist for certain types of direct mail, such as business mail, as the situation continues,” writes Richard Stuart-Turner in PrintWeek.

The reason, he explains, is because of the high interaction rates that direct mail has been shown to have in normal times. Typically a piece of business mail is seen by an average of 1.16 people per household and interacted with 4.64 times – including reading the envelope, opening, reading, setting on the counter, etc.

Now, with more people sequestered at home, those engagement opportunities are going up.

“Many direct mail specialists believe that with substantially more people at home than usual currently, it is likely that engagement with mail will increase even more during this period,” Stuart-Turner explains.

“[Direct mail] will certainly have more attention now from people than it’s ever had in the past,” said Webmart’s chief executive and founder Simon Biltcliffe. “People are at home and if something comes through their letterbox, they will look at it. Print will be a really strong medium for people to build their brand and build their awareness.”

The typical reaction in troubled times is to pull in, conserve resources and wait it out. Yet Biltcliffe says that’s probably the wrong approach for brands that want to be strong at the other end of this pandemic.

“What you tend to find is that in moments of crisis, the brands that come out the other side really strong are those that advertise through it, and those that hold back on their advertising spend are the ones that weaken themselves.”

Think about it. Direct mail is delivered directly to the home… where the majority of us are spending almost all our time. And there’s only so much time you can spend binging on Netflix and scrolling Facebook. In those moments when we need something real, your brand’s direct mail looks mighty inviting sitting on that freshly-scrubbed counter.

(And, fyi, put aside any possible concerns about COVID-19 being transmitted via the mail … there’s no evidence at all to support this.)

We do, on the other hand, have plenty of evidence that direct mail is an excellent way to spread your brand’s message and inspire customers to take action. And now more than ever, you have a captive audience.

A few words of caution… people are extremely sensitive to disingenuous marketing claims, so be authentic. Be relevant to your audience, and be mindful of the reality we are all in. Use direct mail in a way that leverages its power to build relationships and offer inspiration.