Untrue & Debunked
With years of experience, we’d say we’re experts in direct mail marketing. But we’re not just the mail people. We provide highly impactful direct mail marketing that cuts through today’s digital noise to deliver a tactile experience and leave a lasting impression. That’s why we’re well versed in all of the misconceptions about direct mail floating around out there, and can tell you exactly why they’re untrue. Follow along as we debunk the 6 misconceptions of direct mail.
Misconception 1: Direct mail is past its heyday
Once in a while, we hear people speculate and assume that direct mail is past its peak – but just because direct mail has stood the test of time, doesn’t make it outdated. It’s been around for a while for a reason, and has evolved and changed over time – with the times. In fact, in a recent IAB survey, six out of ten marketers prefer direct mail over other offline channels and still include it in their direct marketing strategy today.
These days, direct mail breaks through the digital noise and is unique and different than other marketing tactics. It brings about nostalgia, as people enjoy the feeling of paper in their hands, similar to enjoying paperback books over kindles. Plus, for every 36 emails you receive (on average), you get 1 piece of mail in your mailbox. The possibilities are quite endless, with many exciting design opportunities and options. Really, direct mail is only boring and old if you make it that way.
Misconception 2: Compared to other tactics, direct mail doesn’t provide ROI
This one couldn’t be further from the truth. Don’t believe us? Here are just a few stats to back us up. The average lifespan of an email is 17 seconds, compared to direct mail’s average lifespan of 17 days. Up to 90% of direct mail gets opened, compared to only 20-30% of emails. Per USPS, 98% of people check their mail daily and Americans spend upwards of 30 minutes with their mail on a single occasion. Direct mail open rates can reach up to 42%. Recipients of direct mail also “purchase 28% more items and spend 28% more money than people who don’t get that same piece of direct mail.” Direct mail gets response rates 10 to 30 times higher than digital channels, according to the DMA (Direct Marketing Association).
Basically, direct mail usually does very well in terms of ROI, and it can (and should) be tracked – so make sure you’re getting the most out of it by making it trackable with the use of digital touchpoints.
Misconception 3: Direct mail marketing is expensive
When people think of print, they sometimes think of high-cost, but that’s not always the case. If you have a quality list and are getting the most out of each mailer you send, direct mail won’t seem all that expensive. What do we mean by a quality list? If you’re sending to strategic, particular contacts – not just any contacts, your ROI will be worth the price.
Additionally, print often gives you more for your money while other marketing practices alone may not (for example PPC, social media ads, email marketing platforms, and more). According to the stats, mail marketing is much more likely to be seen and paid attention to.
Misconception 4: Millennials and younger don’t like or pay attention to direct mail
Direct mail isn’t just effective for older audiences. Actually, 73% of American consumers (in general) say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read or review the information at their leisure. And, 41% of Americans of all ages look forward to checking their mail each day.
Millennials, specifically, like to feel important and seen, so the personalization opportunities of direct mail make for great millennial marketing. To add to this, many millennials and Gen-Z-ers have digital fatigue and find taking a “break” with print to be often enjoyable, and it “should be no surprise that those raised on the internet are best able to tune out online ads.” They also have shown to have a lot more trust in print resources than in digital.
Misconception 5: Direct mail works on its own and doesn’t integrate with other channels
These days, direct mail is actually an excellent touchpoint among many, especially when conducting a multichannel marketing campaign. And, we’d even say that combining tactics, even if it’s just two, is usually the way to go. In a recent study, a whapping 68% of marketing respondents saw that combining digital and direct mail increased visits to their websites.
So, how do you integrate physical with digital? By using a URL of a landing page or website, a PURL (personalized URL), BRC (business reply card), or a QR code. Any of these can be used to lead the viewer to a digital touchpoint. These can all also be used to measure attribution and better understand your target audience, and the emails and other information acquired from BRCs or online landing page forms can be used for email marketing, targeting customers with digital advertising, and sending further communication.
Misconception 6: Direct Mail = Junk Mail
Unlike junk mail, direct mail is focused, targeted, relevant, ROI-producing, and uses a quality send list. For more on why direct mail isn’t the same as junk mail, check out our blog, “Direct Mail vs. Junk Mail”, here. Strata can be a resource for direct mail with a surgically targeted list of prospects that are not only more likely to have a need for your project or service, but are also more likely to respond.
Now that it’s a bit clearer that direct mail is relevant, effective, and can be a huge part of the bigger picture of a marketing strategy, you may be interested in giving direct mail marketing or multichannel marketing a try. If so, give us a call.
Why They’re Not (at All) the Same
Sometimes direct mail gets a bad rep. Why? Because it’s commonly mistaken for junk mail. But other than being mail, these two have nothing in common. Direct mail only falls into the category of junk mail when it’s poorly executed. When done right, direct mail targets, entices, and benefits a specific customer. Someone, who through market research, is most likely in need of your product or service. It’s designed with purpose in mind, is backed by research and data, drives audiences with calls-to-action, and is highly customized and personalized. Take a quick read to further understand how direct mail differs from junk – and why it should be a key part of your company’s marketing strategy.
Direct Mail Starts with a Good List
The biggest difference between direct mail and junk mail is a good list. A list that’s backed by data, and one that targets the right people – not just any people. Before making an effective, comprehensive or specified list, first review the mailing lists you currently have. Who are you sending mail to? Who have you sent to in the past? Are they the right audience(s)? Are there more audiences (or more specific audiences) you should be targeting?
A wrong list will fail to target those who’d be interested in buying from you, and will often also target those who’d have no interest at all (cough, cough – junk mail). For example, sending “get 10% off your first order with us” to a loyal customer, or even worse, trying to sell meat to a vegetarian. Junk mail goes to anyone and everyone, and often with irrelevant and impersonal information. Plus, it’s often a waste of money, as many of those unspecified and uninterested customers will throw your mail out without a second thought.
In contrast, direct mail is sent to people in data-driven lists, and with messaging that makes sense for their specific customer profiles. Compiling this strategic list makes all the difference in targeting the right customers and catching their attention. Direct mail, unlike junk, is sent to direct people for direct reasons. In fact, 42% of recipients read or scan direct mail that’s relevant to them.
Types of Direct Mail Lists
Direct mail lists come in many forms, so it’s good to take a look at them all before deciding what will work for your company and its marketing needs. Here are the 4 most common ones:
House List: A list you’ve collected on your own time of prospects and customers you’ve made connections with. People on this list are likely to respond, because they’ve already responded to previous offerings.
Response List: A list you’ve put together of people who’ve responded to and reacted to your outreach before. Whether they’ve purchased something or have asked for more information, these people have some level of interest in your offerings.
Compiled List: A list of candidates that went through screener questions and possessed a characteristic or set of characteristics you searched for. These characteristics are fixed, and are most commonly age, gender, location, or income level.Another characteristic could be new movers – those who just moved in and are looking to become loyal customers of your services.
Segmented List: A list curated through a high-tech analysis platform that defines key prospects. This type of list accesses information far beyond age, income, and gender, and gives you the ability to micro-target your market for more extreme results and higher ROI. This type of targeted list also helps you avoid sending to “do-not-mail” contacts.
Direct Mail Has Personally Relevant Messaging
After you decide on a list, the next step is deciding on the right messaging. Direct mail isn’t just about knowing who to send to, but how to speak to them to get them to notice, develop interest, and potentially buy from you. Look into your customers’ buying habits. What entices them? What offerings are they most interested in? And, how can you best reach them? Knowing the proper way to connect with your current and potential customers will help your mailer stand out. Don’t just use a cheesy, typical slogan or generic text. Craft words that highlight who you are, what makes you unique, and why they should use your surfaces or buy your offerings (over others). Make your mailer personal by adding their name, incorporating content that makes sense to their age and other demographics, and including offers applicable to them. Lastly, a clear call-to-action can educate the recipient in how to respond in the most efficient and convenient way possible.
Direct Mail Has Purposeful & Impactful Design
Lastly, once you’ve crafted effective messaging, design your mailer with intentional and engaging visuals. Make sure you’re thinking through the following key design aspects:
Sizing: Think about what size mailer makes sense for your audience, and what will help yours stand out in the mailbox among others. And, in terms of font size – think over what message is most important to get across. Use sizing hierarchy to emphasize words like “free” or “grand opening”.
Layout: Always consider how you want the viewer’s eye to be lead across your mailer. One good technique is the “s-curve” layout – which leads the eye down and across by using imagery on the left and words on right, or a similar variation.
Graphics: Using unique and eye-catching graphics is a great way to make your business stand out from the rest. Be sure to use high quality images as well as consistent branding elements – such as a logo, fonts, colors, and textures. And, go further by using variable images depending on who’s receiving the mailer to make it resonate with the viewer.
Color: Pops of color are also a great way to spice things up – especially when they’re not expected, or to emphasize a call to action. For example, use pops of color on new services, departments, or special offers, or to emphasize a QR code.
Altogether, the key to good mailer design it to ensure it resonates with the customer and emphasizes who you are and the message you’re trying to send. For more help with mailer design, specifically, check out our blog on current direct mail trends.
Now that we’ve gone through what makes direct mail, well, direct – we hope you can see that it is drastically different than unsolicited junk mail. If you’re looking to make a change with your direct mailers or simply want to learn more, contact Strata’s experts.