Does Direct Mail Marketing Have Benefits?

In a world that’s saturated by digital marketing in every way, it’s easy to overlook traditional, tried, and true marketing approaches. 

One of those is direct mail marketing. While it’s not necessarily for every industry or business, it is still highly effective when used appropriately. 

For example, there are a lot of benefits of direct mail marketing for real estate agents, and that’s just one example of a place it still works. 

The following are some key things to know about direct mail marketing and its benefits. 

What It Is

Direct mail marketing is when you send physical correspondence to clients through the postal service. This direct mail can include promotional offers, postcards, gifts, or announcements. 

Email marketing is the digital equivalent of direct mail marketing. 

Essentially any time you’re sending something as physical marketing correspondence to your customer or targeted audience, you’re engaging in direct mail marketing. 

In one survey, direct mail campaigns had a higher ROI than online display ads and paid search. Direct mail was only one percentage point behind the ROI for social media. 

There’s research that’s found a 5.3% response rate for direct mail, compared to 0.6% for email marketing. 

So what are the benefits, and why does it continue to work even in a changing marketing landscape?

When You Send Direct Mail, It’s Interactive

One big benefit of direct mail over digital marketing and email marketing is that it’s interactive. You are giving your targeted audience something they’re physically handling. They have to touch it to decide whether they’re going to keep it or not, and they can’t just delete it without glancing. That puts more eyes on what you’ve sent. 

If you include promotional offers or a call-to-action that requires that the audience do something with the mailer, they’re more likely to keep it. For example, if you add a coupon that has to be shown in-store, it raises the chances of someone keeping it and then acting on it. 

It’s also more memorable in a world where everything is digital to send something through traditional mail channels. There’s more of an emotional response that you can create if you personalize it as well. For example, a handwritten note can go a long way to build an emotional connection and send something memorable. 

Ample Opportunities for Creativity

You can bring your traditional direct mail marketing together with what you’re doing elsewhere in your content marketing to create a unique and seamless customer journey. This gives you so many opportunities to think outside the box. 

For example, put something scannable on your direct mail that then encourages people to use their phones to connect with your brand in other ways. 

If you can somehow connect your physical mail marketing with digital marketing, then it’ll help you analyze your campaigns as well and see what’s working and what’s not. That’s important because one of the downsides of direct mail marketing is that you don’t have the advanced analytics that allows you to make quick and informed decisions. It’s a lot harder to know what resonates and who saw your message with direct mail marketing, so you can start to build analytics when you bridge it with various forms of digital marketing. 

Another way to track the response is to ask customers to bring in what you’ve sent to get a deal or access to something special. This can help you start to gauge your ROI. 

You’ll Face Less Competition

When you use direct mail marketing, you’re going to stand out because fewer people are doing it and instead are putting the bulk of their budgets into digital marketing. There’s simply less competition, and that means more people are likely to pay attention to what you’re sending. 

Are There Downsides?

As with anything in marketing or any particular approach, there are downsides to direct mail, but they aren’t insurmountable. 

One is that it can be expensive. That’s why it’s a good idea to figure out ways to analyze whether or not your campaigns are bringing in the ROI you need to see to justify the costs. 

A few best practices can help overcome any downsides include first, making sure that you do some test runs first. Send out a few batches of your mailer to small segments of your targeted audience. Make sure you’ve created it in a way that will facilitate tracking engagement. 

Finally, you also want to make sure you include a call-to-action that’s specific and concise, and you should follow up with the people who ultimately respond because these are your engaged customers or prospects who might be interested in hearing from you in the future