Why Direct Mail is Still Relevant in 2021

Direct mail is a tried-and-true successful marketing strategy. Not only is it still relevant in 2021, but it is actually a crucial approach that your business should embrace. In today’s world of digital technology and virtual transactions, email blasts and informal texts and chats are the most common forms of communication. It’s essential to note that not all business and marketing strategies of the past are obsolete.

Direct mail is promotional mail that is physically sent out via a courier service to the recipients’ mailboxes. Flyers, brochures, postcards, catalogs, and letters are all forms of direct mail that your business can send out to a targeted audience.

There are many advantages that direct mail marketing has over digital marketing, which make it highly beneficial to include in this year’s marketing plan.

Get Noticed

A recipient is very likely to open and look at a piece of mail delivered to their personal address. At the very least, the mail will be collected, handled, and seen. Research shows that 42% of people who receive direct mail will open and read it. Psychologically, people are curious to see what the mail contains and there is a small level of anticipation in opening up an unexpected parcel.

In contrast, the average person receives hundreds of emails they will never open or read, assuming the emails aren’t deleted or sent to junk mail. Only a dismal 21% of marketing emails get opened, and an even smaller percentage of that are read. Those who do open the marketing emails will often give a cursory glance before deleting it.

Recipients are bombarded with emails around the clock and every day. A mass-emailed advertising campaign, no matter how cleverly worded or how well designed, it will more likely be deleted, ignored, or overlooked.

Direct mail is proven effective, and when done correctly, it can be more successful than other online marketing methods.

Variety of Formats

Direct mail offers different types of promotional material that you can send out, and you can customize each one to your targeted audience. For instance, companies can send out brochures with discount codes to potential new customers, a thank you letter to recent customers, or promotional gifts for exclusive clients.

Companies can make an impression  with the type of packaging and external trappings it uses in its direct mailings. Whether it’s high-quality paper, a special ink, a unique envelope, foil or embossed fonts, or infusing the mailings with the product’s scent, these extra details aren’t possible in an email blast.

Including samples of the product in a letter is an ingenious way to grab the recipient’s attention and gain a fan. Perfume and toiletry samples, sample-size chocolates, or fan promotions are usually well-received. Even in 2021, it’s hard to resist a freebie.

Digital outreach, even with videos and advanced graphics, is more limited than the opportunities you have with physical direct mailing. Customers are jaded from being inundated with ads and promotional videos online, but can appreciate the physical connection of receiving mail in their mailbox.

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Technology Fatigue

The recent pandemic and quarantine forced many workers to telecommute, with a large percentage still working remotely. According to Forbes, the hours, days, weeks, and months of sitting in front of the computer, communicating via zoom and emails have taken their toll. People are eager for connections to take place away from their computer screens. For employees who spend tens of hours a week in front of the computer and hours a day responding to emails, direct mail is a welcome break from the digital ads and email inbox.

With so many employees working from home, many people are available to receive their mail and have the time to look through it. They can hold the tangible envelope in their hand, feel the texture of the glossy brochure pages or thick postcard cardstock. This marketing strategy is much more personal than a mass email blast.

Accompaniment to Digital Marketing Campaigns

If you’re running a digital marketing campaign over social media or participating in email marketing, direct mail is an ideal way to boost your success and follow up on the digital contacts. Customers are more receptive to the outreach when they’ve received a physical direct mailing from the company. Direct mailing and online marketing are not mutually exclusive, and when planned correctly, can work very well together.

Here are some ways that direct mailing can work with your digital marketing:

  • Incorporate QR codes into your mailings. QR codes are very popular these days. Send a postcard with a QR code that will bring the recipients to your website, social media page, or marketing campaign.
  • Triggered direct mailings, where a mailing is sent out to a recipient after an action was taken, have a high success rate. For example, send a postcard to a new potential customer who has visited your website or signed up for more information, or an advertisement to customers who filled a shopping cart but haven’t completed their order.
  • Interactive direct mail combines the tangible hardcopy print with technology, by persuading the recipients to follow up on the direct mailing through the company’s website or online presence.

Reach Other Audiences

Direct mail can reach a different audience than online and digital marketing outreach. This includes:

  • Targeted recipients without social media and emails. It’s hard to believe in 2021, but if you’re targeting an audience that may not have access to technology, such as an older demographic, direct mailing would be the best option.
  • Prospective customers who are not subscribers. Addresses are public information and are easy to find in order to send out a direct mailing brochure or postcard. However, if your targeted audience doesn’t follow your company on social media or subscribe to your emails, your online campaign may never reach them.

Build a Personal Connection

Consumers are growing weary of being just another faceless shopper in the digital world. The excitement of having all shopping available at their fingertips, especially during the recent pandemic and quarantine, is fading and they crave a personal connection.

Consumers appreciate receiving mail from brands they like and follow. Studies show that 61% of consumers enjoy receiving mail and information about new products from brands they use. The notices and advertisements addressed to them personally make them feel valued as a customer.

Personalizing direct mail brings a connection to the consumer and will be a growing trend in 2021. With the addition of QR codes and barcodes, companies can track the responses and success rate of their direct mailings. This allows companies to follow up with their consumers and further their connection.

Factors to Take into Account

To make sure your direct mailing campaign is a success, keep the following points in mind:

  1. Don’t overdo it. The recipients should look forward to the mail and be excited to see what it contains, but sending one out too often can become a burden. Time the catalogs, brochures, and postcards so that they are well-spaced, or offer recipients the option to choose which mailings they prefer to receive. Some may prefer to receive postcards of sale notifications but not to receive the catalogs.
  2. Build your mailing list. You can compile your mailing list from previous and current customers, social media followers, email subscribers, and website users.
  3. Budget. Shipping out physical mail is more expensive than shooting out a mass email, so make sure you budget properly for the cost of the design, paper, ink, printing, packaging, and mailing.

You can buy lists of targeted recipients from companies who have address lists in the demographic group of interested recipients, either subscribers to similar companies or who are in the age range of your company’s customer base.

There are services you can use to update your address lists for recipients who’ve moved or had incorrect or incomplete addresses listed. Keep your database current, remove recipients who opted out of receiving mailings, and eliminate duplicate recipients and addresses.

Final Thoughts

Our businesses may be enmeshed in technology and the digital world, but the tried-and-proven strategy of direct mail still holds true today. It’s a change from the digital ad bombardment, won’t get lost in the deluge of emails, and recipients are more likely to read a physical letter than an email or online advertisement.

It may seem like more work compared to the ease that technology offers in marketing nowadays, but it is completely worth it. Direct mailing brings a personal connection to the recipient which many consumers now crave, and gives businesses the opportunities to reach recipients who are not on the digital grid.

To increase your direct mail’s open rate, we recommend handwriting your envelopes and letters. Submit your order with Handwrytten today and they’ll take care of the rest!

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