Just the Facts, Ma’am, on Direct Mail in 2020

Mail volume since 2006 has dropped a whopping 29.5% since 2006, according to USPS data. At the same time, the average response rates for commercial direct mail are up a whopping 173% for home lists; and almost 200% for prospect lists.

Direct mail is the most effective marketing channel for new customer acquisition and customer retention,” notes this article from Mail Shark. “For proof of that, just look at the average response rates for direct mail in the United States. House lists boast a 9% response rate on average, while prospect lists receive an average response rate of 5%. That’s a 173% increase since 2006 for house lists and a 194% increase since 2006 for prospect lists,” according to the 2018 DMA Response Rate report.

“How does that compare to digital? Email, paid search, and social media offer a 1% return, while display ads average a response rate of 0.3%,” the article continues. “While digital may be great for remarketing and spreading brand awareness, it’s clear that direct mail is better at driving new and returning business.”

Why? What makes direct mail so powerful? It keeps coming back to this handful of very good reasons:

  1. Print engages better, because our brains react differently on print than on digital.
  2. It’s more trustworthy, especially when it comes to things that really matter to us personally, like our finances, our health and our privacy.
  3. Print mail is tangible, and as humans we crave and value the physical over digital.
  4. Because there’s less of it than digital, we simply pay more attention to it.

“Less mail to sort through means prospects are more likely to take the time to read your piece. And when consumers give you their full attention, there’s a better chance they’ll notice your offer and quickly take advantage of it,” the article continues. “In fact, the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) reports that 79% of consumers act on direct mail immediately, which is much higher than email’s 45%.”

Image source: MailShark

Nobody’s telling brands to get off digital entirely; there is certainly the case to be made for a carefully crafted cross-channel strategy. Just remember that your consumers check their mailboxes typically once a day, and hold your marketing material in their hands for at least several seconds. This is why baked-in customer engagement often starts at the door, with print.

“Direct mail,” the article continues, “is the perfect complement to your digital marketing channels. In fact, mail paired with digital advertising is proven to produce 28% higher conversion rates. Following up a direct mail piece with an email (or an email with a direct mail piece) increases the impact of your marketing and helps keep you top of mind.”

Just know this … direct mail is projected to grow through this year, in both B2C and B2B niches. Don’t wait to leverage the exclusivity of print mail; now’s the time, while the sky is still blue and the fields are still green.