For decades, direct mail marketing was one of the most tried and true of all marketing initiatives. Unlike ads in newspapers or on television, sending a post card or letter directly to the people who would be most interested in your product or service was the best way to reach them. In the last fifteen years, direct mail has given way to email blasts as a cost effective alternative. While not specifically targeted as direct mail, email blasts can reach a lot of people for a very small price.
But according to a 2012 report issued by the Direct Marketing Association, direct mail typically secures a 4.4% response rate, compared to email blasts that have only a 0.12% response rate. The reason for the difference in response rate is many. First of all, according to a study by the USPS, 98% of people pick up their mail every day and 78% of those people sort it immediately. With emails, recipients often delete marketing emails without ever reading them. In fact, many such emails get lost in spam filters and will never be seen by the recipient. With a direct marketing piece, once it catches the eye of the recipient, they can hold on to it for later perusal and action. With email, even if the recipient is interested, if they don’t take action immediately, chances are the email will be lost in the sea of hundreds of emails they get every day.
Even though direct mail has more associated costs than email blasts, it can be a far more effective, and directed, marketing tool. Combine it with a well-thought out marketing plan and it can offer much better results than many other advertising options.