Should businesses use old fashioned direct mail in today's digital marketplace?

January 27, 2015

Are you wondering if direct mail is still able to work within a world that has become hyper connected with the Internet? Surprisingly, yes it does still work, especially when used in combination with your website.

Direct mail should be a part of a strategy that is fully integrated and one that has each element serving a purpose that is deliberate. It has been repeatedly shown that a range from 40% to 70% of direct mail respondents are driven online. This is expressly why integration between online and offline components is imperative.

Once your direct mail campaign has interested consumers enough for them to venture online to your website, it is very important that their online experience picks up where the offline direct mail experience left off. Many businesses fall short in creating this user experience, therefore making direct mail useless. This is due to their website giving no more information that their mailer. Consumers do not appreciate having their time wasted.

So the question that should be asked about if a business should use direct mail for marketing is, how to make it work? Direct mail does not the way it used to for generating leads and sales. As the world moves further into the realm of the Internet and e-commerce, your direct mail campaign must lead consumers to a fully functional and informative website. The sales world has gone through many evolutionary turns over the years. The marketing landscape has evolved into email and social media.

Because Internet marketing is not the best option for every audience, direct mail remains an important marketing tool to reach people you cannot reach online. For example, it is believed that only about 45% of senior citizens have Internet service (according to Market Scan). The figure for available emails is in the neighborhood of 20% of postal addresses. Moreover, without the use of direct mail, in some cases your business may miss out on up to 80% of its target market.

Also, keep in mind that consumers are becoming increasingly more savvy in regard to their email accounts. They are beginning to automatically block emails containing sales messages. Also, most people do not look at the content that is filtered into their spam folder. Recent reports show that spam folders, more often than not, are emptied automatically by the email software without ever being viewed. Additionally, consider the fact that the vast amount of email addresses have been abandoned and are now dormant. Think about the Hotmail, Yahoo, Excite, and other email accounts you created several years ago that you have not opened in years. Just because your email was delivered to an email account does not mean your email is being read. In fact, a very large percentage of the email you send for marketing is never viewed as it is going to abandoned email accounts and/or filtered directly into a spam folder. This is why direct mail can be so useful as most people keep their home address far longer than they keep an email address. People are also far more likely to read their postal mail than email.

So if you are considering spending thousands of dollars on email campaigns, it may be money wasted. On the other hand, a postal direct mail campaign that is integrated into a solid marketing strategy may very well offer both greater reach and better results. The Direct Marketing Association conducted a study that determined that consumers respond to email campaigns on an average of 0.12% of the time, whereas consumers respond to postal direct mail campaigns on an average of 3.4% of the time.

In the end, postal direct is still a valuable way to get your marketing message in front of your target market to generate leads and sales, especially when you use direct mail with as a tool to direct people to your website.


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