Direct mail is a marketing tool used by businesses to reach their current and prospective customers through the direct sending of physical promotional and advertorial mail. With the increased spotlight on digital marketing, many are questioning whether direct mail still has a place in a successful marketing strategy. In this blog, we’ll cover all you need to know in terms of its effectiveness and answer the question of ‘does direct mail work?’
What is direct mail?
Direct mail is defined as: “a method of marketing which involves companies sending advertising material directly to people who they think may be interested in their products.”
It can be sent to a business’s prospective or existing customers and can be in a variety of formats, such as a postcard, brochure, catalogue or package. Many direct mailers also include exclusive promotional codes or offers and free samples.
What can direct mail achieve?
Direct mail can serve a variety of objectives and has the potential to drive strong results. Common objectives that businesses aim to achieve with direct mail are improved brand awareness and direct sales, thus revenue. However, alongside these, direct mail will help to strengthen the consumer and brand relationship by building trust, loyalty and a sense of the consumer feeling valued.
What are the benefits of direct mail?
Businesses and organisations can experience a variety of benefits of direct mail. Some of these include:
Direct mail uses a business’s consumer and geographical data to create highly targeted mailers that present a message that is tailored to the receiver. This increases engagement rates as the consumer relates closely to the advertising message.
Stand Out in a Digital World
Our digital world is currently bombarded with digital advertising. Emails, social media, and website banners - it’s hard to get away from it all. Postal messaging is a much less saturated market and creates space for businesses and brand messages to be absorbed by their target audiences. The average person could receive around 20 marketing emails a day, compared to a couple of pieces of mail. A direct mailer will therefore stand out much more than a marketing email.
A benefit of direct mail is that it can be highly personalised, using customer data such as their name, interests and buying habits. Each mailer can therefore be specifically personalised for each consumer which helps build loyalty and trust.
High Open/Read Rates
Research shows that direct mail can have high open and read rates that often exceed that of email marketing and other digital marketing activity. Research from DMA showed consumers engaged with 96% of direct mail, with 87% influenced to make an online purchase.
Are there any cons to direct mail?
Although there are many benefits of direct mail, it’s not without its challenges.
The cost of producing a direct mail campaign is probably one of the biggest challenges of direct mail, especially when you compare it to other digital marketing activities. The cost of the materials needed, printing, as well as postage costs, can all add up. You will also need the work of a designer and copywriter to execute the design and make it stand out. However, direct mail does tend to offer a good return on investment (ROI) when strategically done, plus the use of a mailing house can help to alleviate and reduce costs.
Although direct mail can provide some measurable benchmarks, it is limited when you compare it to the capabilities of digital marketing. Without the use of a specific discount code or QR code, it can be hard to measure the effectiveness of the campaign when it comes to direct sales. This can be frustrating for many marketers as they can’t prove the ROI or success of the campaign. However, this doesn’t mean it is not effective.
Can all businesses use direct mail?
Yes, direct mail isn’t limited to a select type of business or industry. Any business, whether it be B2B or B2C can benefit from sending out direct mail to either their current or prospective consumers. Businesses with a strong database of customer data can also create some really effective direct mail campaigns that are highly targeted and personal to the receiver.
How much does direct mail cost?
The cost of direct mail can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. These include:
- The materials & inks used
- Volume of recipients
- Use of a mailing house
If you are carrying out a large-scale campaign across the UK to distribute your business’s product catalogue using premium paper and inks, then this will end up being more costly than a local direct mail campaign that consists of a single flyer. We recommend that you contact your mailing house to get an accurate quote for your direct mail campaign.
Does direct mail work?
Direct mail can be a very effective marketing strategy and a way of engaging both prospective and current customers, as well as strengthening the trust and loyalty of the customer and business relationship. Receiving mail, especially that is personalised to them, makes customers feel special and gives them more of an alliance with a business or brand. Direct mail also proves to be a viable strategy to stand out from other competitors, especially as the digital world and email inboxes are heavily saturated.
It can therefore be said that direct mail does work, but it is important to measure and track results to ensure its effectiveness and whether it has a good ROI for your business. It is also recommended to use direct mail in combination with other marketing strategies to maximise its potential. Therefore, using a mix of both direct mail and digital marketing techniques is a strong way to target consumers both off and online.
Successful direct mail campaigns with Direct Mail Systems
Step into the world of direct mail with the help of Direct Mail Systems. Whether you are overwhelmed with your in-house direct mail tasks or are looking for support for a successful, high-quality direct mail campaign, we can help.
Call us on 0117 934 1600 or email us at