Should I Use Direct Mailing?

It’s an undeniable fact that technology has changed the direct marketing industry. Unlike most people assume, however, it hasn’t exactly damaged direct mail marketing. In many industries it’s actually been enhanced by the dawn of digital technology.

Direct mail is great at getting leads to visit a webpage, encouraging customers to buy online or collecting information (including email addresses) from prospects.

An article published by Neuroscience Magazine in 2015, compares Direct Mail to Digital Forms of marketing:

Consumers who received offline direct mail advertisements were able to recall branding information 75% of the time. Consumers who viewed the same ads in digital formats were only able to recall the brand 44% of the time.

Inbox Overload

How many emails do you get a day? And how many of those do you actually read? The fact is that most of us get many more emails than we are capable of reading or even want to read.

Our inboxes are overloaded with personal communication, updates, news and offers. We don’t have the time or desire to look into each and every email. Most people don’t even sort through their emails daily, which means that your marketing message, and therefore the basis of your livelihood, might be sitting at the bottom of a stack that may never even get read.

When your prospects finally get around to their inbox they’re likely to just “Select All” and “Delete.” At this point you can say adios to any good your sales message might have done.

While consumers certainly throw out their physical mail too, the numbers are in favor of direct mail here. A study by Epsilon showed that 77 percent of consumers sort through their physical mail as soon as they get it.

Even better, data from the U.S. Postal Service showed that 98 percent of people check their mail daily. That means a much better chance for your sales piece to get actually get read.

High Response Rates

According to the Direct Marketing Association, Direct Mail has the highest response rate (other than telemarketing) with more than double the response rate of any type of digital, social or online marketing strategy.

Direct mail household response rate is at 3.7% compared to .2% mobile, .1% email, .1% social media, and .02% internet display.

Telemarketing can be perceived as invasive and unwelcome. Emails are easily deleted.  Pop up banner ads often get ignored and sponsored ads on social media can be overdone.

Direct mail has a high response rate because it’s a softer approach. People expect it in their mail and are more prepared to give it a brief look.


With the rise of the internet and online shopping, the days of mass mailings are gone. As a result, most homeowners are paying attention to what’s being delivered to their home. According to a recent USPS Household study, the average number of mail pieces a household receives each week is down from 24.7 to 19.1.


92% of shoppers say they prefer direct mail for making purchasing decisions.

70% are curious to find out what’s in their mailbox.

74% always or sometimes notice advertising in direct mail.

42% of recipients read or scan mail pieces.

Industries That Use Direct Mail Beautifully:

1. The Financial Industry

Every industry uses marketing methods in different ways, and sometimes there are benefits to be gained from knowing what others are doing. The financial services industry makes good use of direct mail, particularly when marketing to millennials.

A report by a Chicago-based researcher showed that the use of direct mail to millennials grew more than any other group between 2010 and 2014. This demographic, born between 1980 and 1999, are now aged between 20 and 40 years.

The market segment received almost 40% of all financial services offers sent by direct mail in 2014—an increase of 10% from 2010.

2. Travel/Hospitality

For many years, mail has been a commonly used marketing tool in the travel and hospitality industries. One of the greatest benefits of direct mail is the high quality mailing lists which enable marketers to do very specific targeting. 

Since many people in this demographic have both the financial means and the spare time to travel, travel companies should put their focus on sending mailers to middle-class retirees and seniors.

Marketers in this industry should pay attention to the season when designing their direct mail strategy. For example, the beginning of winter is a great time to send out mailers advertising cruises or tropical vacations to prospects who live in the northeast and midwest.

3. Healthcare

Healthcare offices can gain a significant number of more patients by targeting new residents with direct mail.  Being new to the area, these newbies will be already looking for new doctors.

Weave in testimonials from satisfied patients on the mailer to entice the consumer to call your office. Incorporate some demographic targeting by sending mailers to people 40 and over reminding them to make appointments for preventative care such as colonoscopies and mammograms.

Common Mistakes Direct Marketers Make

1: Ignoring the most important factor in direct mail success.

It’s not the copy or artwork. It’s not even when you mail. It’s the mailing list. In direct marketing, a mailing list is not just a way of reaching your market. It is the market.

2: Not having an offer.

A successful direct-mail package sells the offer, not the product itself. People aren’t going to respond to your product, they’re going to respond to your special, your deal, your offer.

Craft an excellent offer in every mailing. If it’s anything short of exciting, make another one. It needs to jump off the paper and into the “Immediate Action” section of your consumer’s brain.

3: Not testing.

Big consumer mailers test all the time while B2B marketers, on the other hand, seldom track response or test one mailing piece of list against another.

As a result, they repeat their failures and have no idea of what does and doesn’t work in direct mail. In direct mail, never assume you know what will work. You never know until you test and find out.

Be willing to put out some cash for a test. The answer to "Which concept is best?" is always the same as the answer to the question, "Which mailing piece pulled best?”

Because no one can argue with results.

Is your company is looking to design a direct mailer? 10twelve is the right place for you! Contact us today for a consultation on what products we can offer to your company and how we can help you achieve high response rates.