In today’s era of remote work, growing e-commerce, and the lure of social media, the uptick in screen time has created digital overload. It’s no surprise that for the sake of our physical and mental health, experts recommend taking daily breaks from our digital devices to connect with the people and the world around us.
This is where direct mail shines: It’s a refreshing and welcome change from everyday digital connectivity—an offline marketing channel that reaches us where we live and work.
The latest data shows that despite pervasive digital technology, direct mail is far from dead: A Gallup Poll found that 41% of Americans of all ages look forward to checking their mail each day. And when you consider that 58% of the mail American households receive is marketing mail (USPS), that’s good news for direct mail marketers.
If you’re working to grow your brand reach, read on for the latest industry statistics that reinforce why direct mail should be part of your brand marketing.
Use of direct mail is on the rise in 2022.
While USPS mail volume has slowed over the past decade, the number of direct mail pieces sent has increased, along with response rates. While overall mail rates declined, total direct mail volume increased by 28% from 2020 to 2021. (Sequel Direct Mail Trends Report: Q4 2021) The DMA reports that customer response rates to direct mail increased year-over-year by 43%, and prospect response rates more than doubled—a 190% increase. It’s a trend that’s fueling the popularity of direct mail.
Direct mail is giving consumers all the feels.
The tactile appeal of direct mail is rooted in science: Studies show that people value something they can see and touch more highly than something they can only see. And it’s not just hitting home with Baby Boomers who relate to the nostalgic influence of physical mail:
- 90% of Millennials believe that direct mail marketing is more reliable than email and 24% are likely to share it with others. (USPS, Valassis)
- More than 70% of Gen X consumers feel mail is more personal than online digital communications and are more likely to read promotional mail than emails. (USPS)
A recent Marketing Brew article backs up those stats noting that “Given growing data-privacy concerns, clutter in online advertising, and demand for brand authenticity, some marketers…said the best way to reach younger consumers could be through some good ol’ fashioned snail mail.” Read Why some marketers are shifting their focus from inboxes to mailboxes.
These benefits make a compelling argument for including direct mail in your marketing mix.
We know the customers like to have a relationship with the brands they support—but not when the brand’s marketing schedule dictates that contact. 73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read it whenever they want. (Epsilon)
We know that personalized brand messages have a greater impact than generic pitches: Nearly 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences (ANA | DMA Response Rate Report).
So, suppose you’re using an account-based marketing strategy. In that case, direct mail can be a compelling channel: By doing your research and then customizing and personalizing your direct mail messaging, you’ll make a stronger connection with your target audience. Follow these tips to align your direct mail strategy.
While we can Google products or scroll Instagram for the latest styles, today’s consumers feel appreciated by the brands that make an authentic brand connection, sharing a glossy catalog or an oversized postcard in the mail: As many as six in 10 Americans say they enjoy learning about new products via mail. (Epsilon)
It gets people’s attention.
Studies show that, on average, we receive 107 emails and see 63 display ads every day, but only two pieces of mail daily. So, by using direct mail, your brand message has a lot less competition and is more likely to be read—and remembered:
- 2% of direct mail recipients either read or scan their mail. (Data & Marketing Association)
- Only 44% of people can recall a brand immediately after seeing a digital ad compared to 75% of people who receive direct mail. (Marketing Profs)
It has staying power.
Because direct mail is tangible, it has the potential to stick around in your target’s home or office—an average of 17 days—and create interaction with your brand: USPS reports that 60% of catalog recipients visit the website of the company that mailed them the catalog.
The response rate for direct mail is up to nine times higher than that of email: With an average direct mail response rate between 5% and 9% (depending on the recipient), email falls flat with an approximate 1% response rate for both household and prospect lists. (Data & Marketing Association) What’s more, the average return on investment for direct mail is $4.09 for every $1.27 spent. (Global News Wire)
It amplifies digital channels.
Direct mail can be used on its own. But it also plays well with other marketing channels as part of a balanced, integrated marketing effort:
- A Harvard Business Review study shows a 49% increase in sales and a 125% increase in customer inquiries from those who received emails and catalogs.
- 84% of Gen Z have received a direct mail piece with a QR code to interact with a brand online (by watching a video, going to a landing page with sales copy, or ordering by phone/action device). Nearly 40% of these campaigns used direct mail and generated a profitable ROI. (CDMG Inc.)
Direct mail has moved beyond a basic postcard format; we’re using a variety of sizes and substrates to help brands stand out among competitors. At 11%, oversized envelopes have the most significant response to house files over other mediums (followed by postcards at 12% and letter-sized envelopes at 10%). (ANA | DMA Response Rate Report)
These benefits underscore what we know to be true: direct mail is alive and well and an essential element of a balanced brand marketing program.
If you’re interested in talking about how to use direct mail marketing for your brand development, connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.