Why Brands Need the Post Office to Function

Your business sends out a marketing piece. Would you rather get a 9% response rate, or a 1%?

It’s not a trick question; it’s an honest look at the difference in response rates between direct mail (9%) and email, paid search and social media (all with a 1% response rate). The stats come from Compu-Mail’s 25 Direct Marketing Statistics for 2020, and show that U.S. consumers continue to read, value and respond to direct mail more than digital versions of marketing communications.

Let’s look at a few of the key stats from their report:

  • For roughly every 36 emails the typical consumer receives, they get one piece of direct mail. It makes sense, then, that direct mail is more able to cut through the noise.
  • The average lifespan of an email once it’s opened is 17 seconds; direct mail sticks around an average of 17 days.
  • Up to 90% of direct mail gets handled and opened; 70-80% of email is never opened.

Given the realities of direct mail, it’s not surprising it gets much better response rate. Catalogs in particular are a great marketing investment, with 60% of people who receive catalogs visiting the website that sent it.

(I know I’m in that 60%; it’s extremely rare for me to receive a catalog without following up in some way.)

Okay, so we know direct mail works. And we need a functioning postal service to continue to deliver it to the public. Yet we also know direct mail is more challenging and costly to produce; not everything can or indeed should be printed. The real advantage comes when brands combine direct mail with digital marketing to create that omnichannel synergy. When that happens, the magic really starts, with:

  • 40% conversion rates
  • 68% bump in website visits; and
  • A 60% rise in ROI

I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard how powerful it is to combine digital marketing and direct mail in your campaigns; but it is a reminder, especially during these tough times when so much is at stake at the post office, to use every option available to leverage the best response you can from your marketing budget.