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3 Reasons Direct Mail is a Powerhouse Marketing Tool

Cats versus Dogs.  Vikings versus the Packers.   Coke versus Pepsi.  The world is full of rivalries.   In the world of marketing, there is another epic rivalry brewing; direct mail versus email marketing.  With any rivalry, you’ll find each side has its positive attributes and advantages. This certainly is the case with direct mail and email marketing.  For each, there are uses and purposes for which they are particularly well-suited.   Our point is not to disparage email marketing.  However, too often we see direct mail undervalued in today’s online focused world.  In fact, direct mail is the stronger contender in terms of ROI.  Check out these 3 ways direct mail outpaces email as a powerhouse marketing tool.


Email Versus Direct Mail Direct Mail Gets Delivered Mail delivery rates average around 98%.  If you take the time to send it, you can be assured that it will get to its intended destination.  Meanwhile, email delivery rates vary by industry and list but, due to SPAM blockers, are far below 98%.  According to a Return Path 2016 Deliverability Report, only 73 percent of messages were successfully delivered to the inbox within the United States in 2016. Direct Mail Makes an Impression According to a 2016 USPS Mail Moments study, 86% of respondents said they take the time to look through their mail.  They also reported receiving an average of 29 pieces of mail a month.  Compare this to the approximately 416 commercial emails a person receives per month with read rates varying from 14% to 38% depending on industry (according to an data from Direct Mail Garners Higher Response Rates According to a 2015 DMA study, direct mail response rates outperform digital channels by a long shot. Direct mail achieves a 3.7% response rate with a house list, and a 1.0% response rate with a prospect list. All digital channels combined only achieve a 0.62% response rate (Mobile 0.2%; Email 0.1% for a Prospect list and 0.1% for House/Total list; Social Media 0.1%; Paid Search 0.1%; Display Advertising 0.02%).


So, now that you’re informed as to why you should consider direct mail, we’ll cover how to do it right.  As with any marketing effort, there are steps you should follow to ensure the best possible outcome for a direct mail campaign. As an experienced Twin Cities print and marketing business center, we’ve helped countless clients design, print and implement successful direct mail marketing campaigns. Here are the key steps we take with our clients when implementing a direct mail campaign.
  1. Establish your objective – Always begin by identifying a specific message and result you are aiming for. These objectives should be the driver behind every decision.
  2. Develop a quality list – Whether using your own customer list or a rented list, make sure the list is accurate and up-to-date.  Want to target a neighborhood? Consider Every Door Direct Mail, a budget friendly option offered by USPS which allows you to target areas by mail route.
  3. Create an offer relevant for the audience –  Encourage a response by offering something that is of value to your targeted audience. It’s not enough to introduce yourself, you need to give them a reason to reach out to you.
  4. Communicate the offer in a compelling way – An engaging design is critical.  Think creatively in terms of graphics, layout, copy or packaging. Consider using variable data printing for a more personalized approach (see our previous blog on the benefits of personalized marketing)
  5. Make the customer experience easy! – Make it as easy as possible for the recipient to respond.  Include a personalized URL to easily access your offer or customized variable mapping to provide a map of your nearest location.
  6. Think CAMPAIGN, not 1-shot – Just like other forms of marketing, multiple impressions are best.  Multiple mailings or a single mailing tied into a multi-media campaign will yield better results.
  7. Research & Test – Do your homework beforehand to ensure you are targeting the correct audience with the right messaging.  Always have designated objectives for your direct mail campaign that you can use to assess your results and base adjustment decisions upon.  If you are working with a large mailing list, consider sending a smaller initial mailing to determine the response before sending to the larger group.


To develop a direct mail marketing campaign that is best suited for your business, give us a call.  From concept to mailing, we are here to help you create a stand out, one of a kind mailer.  We have two convenient locations in the Twin Cities, one in downtown Minneapolis and another in Apple Valley.  At both locations, you’ll find knowledgeable, experienced professionals ready to help your business get noticed and get business. Contact us today to learn more or get a free quote.

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