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The Benefits of Direct Mail Campaigns

In a world of digital marketing, many believe that direct mail campaigns have become prosaic. The truth is that the constant influx of emails and social media and the ease with which these can be sent (and deleted) has left our mailboxes rather empty. The same consumer that cringed when their mailbox overflowed with ads and coupons now searches for something tangible, which means those companies using direct mail are one step ahead of their competitors.

Here are just a few statistics to stress the point: According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) the response rate for direct mail is 3.5 percent—more than 28 times the .12 percent for email. 2.5 billion coupons were redeemed in 2015. Direct mail outperforms all digital channels combined by nearly 600 percent, according to the 2015 DMA Response Rate Report. Are you convinced yet? The bottom line: An integrated marketing campaign makes use of both digital marketing and direct mail. Here are the tools and tips to make your direct mail campaign a success.


This is the key to a successful direct mail campaign. Know your target audience—their demographics, geographics and firmographics if B2B. This specific information will guide you to not only the targeted location but also the message that will receive a response. Response rates can be increased with a targeted call to action (CTA). Send different mailers to different segments. Assess your strategy by sending out test offers and information before sending out your mass mailing.

Context is just as important as content. This involves sending the right content to the right customer at the right time. Data and analytics that help you determine where they are in the purchasing process will then help you define both content and timing, and help you to develop the correct CTA.


Direct mail, as with most marketing platforms, requires more than one touch. This ability is built-in to the platform. You can send postcards, letters, brochures, coupons or catalogs, to name a few—keeping your prospective client’s interest peaked instead of waning with the receipt of the fourth postcard. Special limited-time offers can create a sense of urgency. Offers directed at previous customers and designed with their last purchase in mind can make them loyal, repeat clients. Personalization is key.

In whatever format, make the content interesting and relevant so that your target audience not only goes on to read it, but also shares it with a friend. If it contains content that goes beyond the sale but supplies useful information, that same potential customer will place it on their desk to peruse through at another time—and many of those will go online and place an order. To that end, make your catalogs less a sales pitch and more an experience.

Cost Effective

DMA also reports that the cost-per-acquisition is competitive with an average cost of $19. It returns the same ROI as social media with an average of 16 percent. ROI is fairly easy to track with cost of creating, printing, mailing, and the response and conversion rate. Many buyers will place a call or go online in response to a direct mail campaign, so be sure to use a dedicated phone line or a landing page in order to know where that specific customer came from. Another option is to use a tracking code or coupon.

Unless your selling door-to-door, there’s no other way to make your physical presence known. That mailer, sitting on their kitchen table, is being seen not just by the recipient, but often by all the members of the household. Using multiple channels to engage with potential and lifetime customers in a personalized format is the key to marketing success. Direct mail is certainly not dead, but an important part of a successful marketing campaign.