Does Direct Mail still work in a digital age?

Mass mailings to potential clients or customers and personally addressed letters are no longer the go-to for most marketing teams. DM (Direct Mail) campaigns are often seen as both expensive to fund and time consuming to produce.

Compared to modern email and digital advertising techniques, it’s practically antiquated.

However when done right, it can yield impressive results and offer something that digital marketing methods simply cannot replicate.

Does Direct Mail work in a digital age?

The short answer is without a doubt yes.

There's no spam filters or ad blockers on a letterbox

It might sound obvious but think about it, there’s no spam filter on a letterbox. Physical mail simply doesn’t have the ability to be prescreened and put to one side without ever being interacted with. It guarantees you direct face time with potential customers, it simply can’t be trashed without at least being looked at.

Take a hypothetical campaign for a travel agency. They are looking to sell holidays to the Canary Islands.

The hypothetical customer receives an email in their inbox ”Subject: Discount holidays to Gran Canaria- 50% reductions.” They simply click delete without ever opening the mail and engaging with the content within.

The hypothetical customer also receives a postcard in the mail with the same message, this time though, they have to see the warm and sunny imagery on the front and back- even if it’s on the 10 second walk to putting it in the recycling. Unlike the email, you’ve got the hypothetical content under their nose.

Direct Mail also has now the distinction of now being the under-utilised channel,  most consumers are used to marketing emails filling up their inbox on a daily basis. However it’s not uncommon to go days without receiving physical mail. You are therefore offered the opportunity to have a much greater impact.

You can do so much more with your messaging

Direct Mail is a physical thing and as such opens itself to huge creative possibilities. There are so many ways to get your message across (provided you have the print budget). Some great examples include a travel company creating mini-passports promoting their destinations, postcards in the shape of the product they are promoting and letters in handwriting that are heavily personalised.

The more dynamic the format, the more likely the person is to engage with it. The opportunities to stand out are endless.

The data is simply easier to acquire

Remember: physical mail doesn’t come with the same GDPR and other data restrictions as online marketing. The data is simply much more accessible and easier to acquire. With the use of demographic or business profiling tools you can gain a good idea for potential customers. There are a number of companies including Experian who can work with you to acquire cost-effective and heavily targeted data that allows you to run an effective Direct Mail campaign.

There are many ways to reduce costs

Finally, there are a number of ways to reduce overall costs. Postage pricing can be bought down significantly through using mail houses, by producing in bulk and through micro-targeting. Whilst huge mass mailing can be expensive, smaller heavily targeted campaigns can have give you a great return on investment.

Direct Mail is not as easy to produce as digital campaigns. Fact. It requires more thought and effort from the outset. However, it can be heavily targeted, cost-effective when done right, highly creative and is guaranteed to be at least looked at.

We may be living in a digital age but you should still seriously consider a DM campaign as part of your marketing activity.

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