13 causes unsolicited mail isn't lifeless

In an increasingly digital world, direct mail looks old and boring.

You wouldn't ride to work in a horse-drawn carriage or use a pager to contact your friends, would you?

Of course not.

Direct mail feels out of date.

However, direct mail is still a great way to reach out to your audience, get their attention, and connect with them on a personal level.

In 2016, the Data & Marketing Association reported that the response rate from direct mail customers increased by 43%. What's even better is that the response rate from potential customers has increased by 190% compared to 2015.

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Many marketers are in shock.

However, the data is undeniable.

Direct mail is still effective, and its use is a cornerstone of any serious marketer.

Here are 13 reasons direct mail is still not dead.

1. Direct mail has a high ROI

Would you be surprised if I said that direct mail makes you more money than paid search and online display ads?

Well it does.

Direct mail has a median ROI of 29%, which puts the ROI in third place behind email and social media marketing in terms of ROI. Social media is only 1 percentage point ahead.

ROI chart for direct mail

That might not seem like a lot, but when you consider that paid search has a 23% ROI and online viewing has 16%, that number looks a lot more attractive.

Curious how much your ROI could be from direct mail? You can go here to calculate it.

Calculate the ROI for direct mail

This astounding ROI says nothing about the direct mail response rate, which is 5.3% for emails sent to homes and 2.9% for prospect lists.

Response rate for direct mail

Now compare that number to email, which has an average click-through rate of around 2% or 3%. And that's the click rate, not the response rate which is 0.6%.

Despite what the haters say, direct mail still holds its own against other marketing channels.

2. Direct mail works great with a digital marketing strategy

Every great marketing strategy uses multiple channels.

Smart marketers wouldn't just run Facebook ads and call it for a day.

You would consider running Instagram ads, running paid search campaigns, and even using search engine optimization to drive traffic.

As well as investing in direct mail, you should consider it part of your marketing bag of tricks.

On the 97th floor in Utah, direct mail and digital marketing have been combined to increase customer loyalty.

First, they sent all customers a direct mail with a vacation poem and a $ 20 bill with a scannable code next to it.

Example of direct mail

Adorable, right? But the nice thing is when you turn the card over and look to the left. Below is a scannable code and a hashtag.

Example of direct mail with tracking code

What's up with the $ 20 bill?

When someone scanned the code with their phone, they would send them to a video encouraging them to spend $ 20 on someone less fortunate during the holiday season.

The agency then asked everyone to share their activities on Twitter using the hashtag # 20helps.

Hashtag for direct mail campaigns on Twitter

The combination of direct mail with sophisticated digital marketing techniques increases the personality of the message you send.

When you give people something to do with your direct mail, e.g. For example, watching a video, taking a selfie, or spending $ 20, few resist the urge to participate.

3. Direct mail is easier to achieve than you might think

It's easy to reach your target audience on social media. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offer tons of targeting tools based on interests, demographics, and even behavior.

But how about sending the right message to your customers via direct mail?

Can you target your ideal customer well enough to make them worth your time and money?

Yes you can.

At USPS.com, you can use the Every Door Direct Mail tool to send emails to different customers in different areas.

USPS com Any door direct mail

First, enter your city, state, or zip code.

Target direct mail USPS

Hit enter. Select up to five postcodes in your area.

Target direct mail USPS

Then click Next. You will see a card that looks something like this.

every door direct mail

As you hover over a route, the tool displays the number of residents, number of businesses, age range, average household size, and average household income for that zone.

It even calculates the approximate postage cost to send a mailer to this route.

Everydoor direct mail cost calculator

As long as you already know who your target audience is, direct mail can be very specific.

4.Direct mail is trackable (yes, really)

Technically, there is no automatic way to track response rates, ROI, and overall direct mail engagement. In contrast to a Facebook ad, you cannot track whether the user has switched from your ad to your product page.

A customer might visit your website after seeing your direct mail. While this person counts as a lead from your website, they should be a lead from your direct mail campaign.

But wait, I just said direct mail is trackable.

It's a little more complex, but tracking direct mail is totally doable.

Here are some tricks you can use to find out how well your direct mail campaign is doing.

If you want to get someone to call you, start by dialing a unique phone number for this direct mail campaign.

10 tips for sending real estate direct mail with examples

Similar to this goal, you can create a unique landing page to track your results when you want visitors to visit your website.

When people visit or click on the landing page, you know they came from that direct mail campaign.

10 tips for sending real estate direct mail with examples 1

Regardless of which CTA you choose for your direct mail campaign, you'll be using a unique tracking device, whether it's a phone number or a website URL.

You can then count it as a lead in your direct mail campaign.

5. Direct mail is less common

At first glance, that doesn't seem like a good thing.

Fewer marketers may use direct mail because it doesn't work.

As I already showed you with the statistics above, this is not the case.

The answer is simple. Since everyone is familiar with digital marketing, it is easier to get results than with a direct mail campaign. So fewer people do it.

In 2016 there was a 2% decrease in direct mail compared to the previous year.

Direct mail increases the static

Why is this a good thing for your direct mail campaign?

With fewer marketers sending emails, your article has a higher chance of getting noticed.

Think how much harder it is to rank on Google today. When I type in "How to send amazing direct mail", Google only shows me 10 results out of 6,470,000 possible responses.

How To Submit Awesome Direct Mail Google Search

In other words, the internet is full of marketing messages.

However, mailboxes are not.

And that's why direct mail still works so well in the digital age. Because it takes a little more work than other digital marketing strategies, it's less common and more effective.

6. Direct mail gives a feeling of romance

Like hot baths and candlelit dinners, direct mail has become romanticized in our culture.

Think about it. What do you do when you receive a handwritten letter from someone?

You get excited. Someone cares enough to write you a letter. It doesn't happen often that you get something like this.

What are you doing next

I bet you will sit down and read every word of this letter. But you are not the only one who loves receiving letters.

73% of respondents said they prefer direct mail as an advertising method.

Customers prefer direct mail stat

And 59% of US consumers say they enjoy receiving mail from brands.

Since people get less direct mail, each post is more exciting.

Especially if your direct mail is handwritten. Even if you add your signature.

In a world where everything is written by a machine, the handwriting on a direct mail item is a touch that recipients cannot ignore.

Just look at this example from BiggerPockets.

Example of a direct envelope

It's more like receiving a personal letter from a friend than a marketing message from a company.

7. Direct mail is tangible

Imagine. You will receive a US $ 10 voucher in the mail for your next meal at your favorite restaurant.

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If you're like me, put the coupon on your fridge for future use.

Then you pretty much forget. For the next few weeks, the voucher will be in your kitchen with other unused direct mail offers.

But one evening your buddy calls and wants to see the big game in a restaurant. As you try to decide where to go, remember, "Oh! I have a voucher for our favorite bar."

And at this moment the voucher decides for you.

Although the voucher is only $ 10.

You could do the same with a haircut shop.

Example of direct mail

Or an e-commerce shop. No stationary location required.

Example of direct mail discount contacts

Since direct mail is tangible, it persists. It overflows physical space.

Email is easy to forget as it is just a number on a screen.

As a rule of thumb, around two percent of online advertising attracts our attention every day. In other words, only about 100 out of 5,000 ad exposures have a meaningful impact on consumers.

However, direct mail is inevitable.

About 66% of people bought a product as a result of direct mail.

When your direct mail has a special offer, most people save it for future use and then can't forget about it.

8. Direct mail receives undivided attention

Direct mail is accompanied by a certain fear.

What I mean?

If you open the mailbox and pull out a small pile of letters, don't throw away any mail without first looking at it.

You don't immediately know which piece of mail needs your attention and which one you are not interested in. There is a fear that you are missing out on something important.

Because of this, you don't want to throw away emails without first looking at them.


When you receive an email, there are likely to be at least four (or forty) other tabs open on your computer. A number of notifications will ring on your phone and laptop.

The average American consumer is exposed to thousands of ads every day. In fact, it's not uncommon for the average consumer to see over three hundred ads of various types within the first hour of waking up.

However, if you do receive a direct mail, you'll be home after work with a little extra time to view each letter.

Of course, direct mail gets more exposure because there are fewer distractions when people see it.

9. Direct mail increases brand awareness

As I've shown you, direct mail is tangible, which means it may stay with someone at home for a long time.

Because of this, consistent mailing increases your brand awareness.


Consider this direct mail from Le Tote.

Example of direct mail from le tote

The front has the value proposition and offer, while the back shows how easy it makes your life.

Example of direct mail le tote 2

Since this postcard contains a voucher, there is a good chance that recipients will save it for later.

But what if you don't use it later?

What if they see it, read it, and then throw it away?

Have you just lost money on a bad direct mail campaign?

Not necessarily.

Sure, your recipients may not be interested in your offer right now. But they saw your logo, brand name, and work.

If there is a day that they want your product, they might just visit your website and buy something from you.

Before direct mail, there was no chance of it as they didn't know who you were – that's the power of branding.

And that's a win for any marketer.

10. Direct mail is for all ages.

I think this is one of the most compelling reasons direct mail is still not dead.

If you're sending an email, using Facebook ads, or marketing online, your chances of reaching an older demographic aren't very high.

Around 62% of people over 70 use a smartphone. This percentage drops to 17% with age.

Only 46% of American adults over 65 use Facebook. And while that number is rising, it still means that more than half of older adults can't target the world's largest social media platform.

In fact, 33% of older adults don't even access the internet.

Direct Mail: Senior Internet Usage Chart

Conversely, direct mail reaches everyone, young and old. Everyone checks the mail and because of this, your postcards and vouchers can turn almost anyone into a customer.

11. Direct mail is creative

When it comes to direct mail and creativity, the sky is the limit.

Since direct mail is a physical product, getting great items posted is just a matter of fun.

This example from ADT is somewhat controversial in its implementation. But it's a great example of creative direct mail marketing in action.

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This is how it works.

A letter-size card is slipped under the door of the recipient's house. However, the letter has been carefully engineered to appear in a box under the door.

The box says: "Breaking into your home is easier than you think."

When someone sees it, they might immediately think, "What the … Did someone break into my house ?!"

ADT highlighted a problem in action. What is a good solution? Get an ADT security system.

On the less controversial side, a gym in Brazil had issues with members leaving because they weren't seeing immediate results from their workouts.

As a reminder that achieving results in the gym takes a constant amount of time, they have sent their members calendars that illustrate the incremental progress they would see if they stuck to the program.

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It is not easy to come up with flashy ideas. If you're not naturally creative, talk to someone who is.

If a security systems brand and gym can offer interesting direct mail, chances are you can, too.

It might just take a little more thought.

12. Direct mail is multi-sensory

With digital marketing, it is impossible to hit all the senses, and it is difficult to hit more than two.

The five senses are touch, hearing, sight, taste and smell.

A digital campaign can only focus on seeing and hearing. By making a digital ad interactive, some smart marketers can appeal to a person's sense of touch. But this experience is not the same either.

By making a digital ad interactive, some smart marketers can appeal to a person's sense of touch. But this experience is not the same either.

Everyone experiences the world with their senses. Direct mail can use all 5.

George Patterson Y&R Melbourne sent a box with two buttons and a bag of electronic components. It contained everything you need to build an FM radio.

Anything but one thing: instructions.

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The mail piece went to engineering students.

When they were putting the radio together, an ad played offering the student a quick path to an exciting military career.

Talk about multisensory. This cardboard radio used three senses, and some might argue 4 with the smell of cardboard.

Take a look at this KitKat mailer.

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This direct mail acts like you ordered a KitKat for your mailbox, meaning it was too "clunky" to get to your home.

While technically there are only two senses, sight and touch, this piece does a good job of incorporating taste by emphasizing the "clunkiness" of a KitKat.

Not to mention, it's completely interactive when you go to business.

Since people experience the world with five senses, the more likely it is that recipients will engage with your message the more of it activates your direct mail.

13. Direct mail is unforgettable

Now ads are flashing at breakneck speed before our eyes. Every time we search, stream, watch, read, scroll, click or swipe, we are bombarded by advertisements.

But direct mail stands out.

Imagine putting together a radio that will be delivered to your mailbox.

You may be given a box near your door that says "Breaking into your home is easy."

Or you might receive a funny mailer from KitKat stating that your candy bar was too "chunky" to come to your home.

Or you can get a tiny record player in the mail.

Example of direct mail

If you're like most people, tell your friends about these memorable marketing geniuses.

Because direct mail is tangible and infinitely creative, it stays with your audience.

As long as you take the time to put together an amazing direct mail, your audience won't soon forget the message you sent.


The expansion of digital marketing has only improved the return on investment for direct mail campaigns.

If you're wondering why direct mail should be part of your marketing tool belt, then the 13 reasons above are enough.

Direct mail campaigns offer a high ROI and even a higher ROI than paid ads. You can effectively work alone in a campaign or alongside a digital marketing campaign.

You can use direct mail to target the right customers at the right time. And it's easy to track the results of every campaign you've run.

As direct mail is becoming rarer, there is less noise. With its romantic look, you can attract the undivided attention of your customers.

Since direct mail is more likely to be read, it will increase your brand awareness even if the first letter is unsuccessful.

In contrast to digital campaigns, direct mail is more attractive to any age group.

Since direct mail is a physical product, there is room for creativity. It can appeal to more of the senses and leave a lasting and unforgettable impression on your customer.

Ultimately, direct mail is powerful because it is different from the digital approach.

I get hundreds of emails every week. But I get a fraction of that number in the form of letters in my mailbox.

To stand out in a world where everything has gone electronic, consider adding a direct mail campaign to your digital marketing strategy.

It's a lack of personal touch in a hectic world.

And as any great marketer knows, it pays to be personal.

What's the main reason you think direct mail is still going strong?