What Is Direct Mail and How Can It Benefit Your Business?

If you've ever received a piece of advertising mail, such as a postcard or flyer in your mailbox, you've experienced direct mail marketing. Direct mail is any type of marketing material that is sent directly to the consumer through the United States Postal Service.

In today's digital environment, this type of marketing might seem a bit old school, but direct mail is still a powerful marketing tool if used correctly. However, that's not to say it's superior to other forms of marketing; they all have their strengths.

In fact, many businesses take a multichannel approach using a mix of online and offline marketing tactics. By combining direct mail and digital marketing channels such as email or social media, you can create a more holistic marketing strategy that reaches your target consumers in multiple ways.

In this article, we will be sticking to the offline side of things and discussing the benefits of direct mail marketing.

What Is Direct Mail Marketing?

Direct mail marketing is a marketing method that involves sending physical mail to potential or current customers or any other type of target audience. Direct mail marketing campaigns can be personalized to target specific individuals, entire postal routes, or other segments, often including coupons, discounts, or other promotional offers.

A direct mail marketing campaign typically includes designing, printing, and mailing components to achieve an end result. The mailer's design will often include branding elements, a call-to-action, and additional information about the promoted brand, product, or service.

If you're thinking about adding direct mail to your marketing mix, you should keep a few things in mind, such as working with a reputable direct mail company and using analytics to track your results.

Faster, Easier Digital Processes

Digital processes have been evolving for years and continue to get faster, easier, and more affordable. This has made direct mail more accessible than ever before, even for small businesses with limited budgets. It also makes for less friction and faster turnaround times when designing and sending direct mail campaigns.

How Does Direct Mail Marketing Work?

Typically, direct mail marketing aims to generate leads or sales from prospective customers. To do this, businesses must first identify their target audience. Once the target audience is identified, businesses can design a direct mail piece that will appeal to that demographic.

After the direct mail piece is designed, it must be printed and mailed. The printing process can be done in-house or outsourced to a professional. Once the direct mail piece is printed, it must be delivered to the intended recipient. The pieces are delivered via the USPS to recipients.

Once delivered, businesses must then track the results of their campaign. This can be done by using analytics to gauge the effectiveness of their direct mail marketing campaign.

Additionally, direct mail provides the opportunity for customers to opt-in to your email list or other marketing communications, which can further increase leads and sales.

Direct mail marketing has come a long way since the early days where manual processes and requirements posed a challenge to advertisers. New innovative techniques and a better understanding of customer behavior have resulted in a more targeted and effective approach. It is now possible to launch an entire direct mail campaign in minutes, online.

Types of Direct Mailers

There are several different types of direct mailers that businesses can use for a direct mail campaign. The type of direct mailer you choose will depend on your budget, goals, and audience.

Some examples include:

  • Postcards - are one of the most common types of direct mailers. They are an effective method to reach a large number of people with a relatively small budget. Postcards are ideal for coupons, promos, or announcements.
  • Brochures - are another common type of direct mail. Brochures are more expensive to produce than postcards, but they offer more room for content. Detailed information about your service or products can be included in brochures.
  • Menus - for restaurants or other businesses that offer products or services that can be ordered, menus are a great way to reach new customers. They can be customized to include special offers or discounts.
  • Letters - another way of creating that personal touch is by sending traditional format letters. This is more expensive and time-consuming than other types, but it can effectively build relationships with your customers.

Benefits of Direct Mail Marketing

Though some marketers may swear by digital-only marketing strategies, direct mail has many benefits that make it worth considering.

Here are a few advantages of direct mail marketing:

High Response Rate

Direct mail's response rate is high compared to digital methods such as email marketing, making it one of the most effective marketing channels. If you are anything like us, your email inbox is overflowing with marketing messages, and it's easy to overlook or delete them without giving them a second thought.

Direct mail delivers your message to your customer's hands, making it much harder for them to ignore.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, the response rate for direct mail is 4.4%, while the response rate for email is just 0.12%.

This means that for every 1,000 people you send your direct mail campaign to, you can expect 44 of them to respond. Compare that to email, where you would only get 1.2 responses on average from 1,000 people, and it's clear that direct mail has a higher chance of getting noticed.

In another study, the United States Postal Service found that over 50% of recipients read their direct mail, and a further 21% scan it.

Can Be Integrated With Digital Marketing

We touched on this at the start of the article, but it's worth mentioning again. Using a mix of traditional and digital marketing tactics results in a well-rounded marketing strategy. This powerful one-two punch can put you ahead of the competition, which may rely on digital marketing alone.

Digital marketing is great for reaching a wide audience with minimal effort, but it can lack the personal touch that direct mail provides. Conversely, direct mail can be more costly and time-consuming, so using it as your only marketing method is not always practical.

Using both digital and direct mail marketing, you can reach your audience through multiple channels and increase your chances of making a sale or getting your message across. Social media marketing, email marketing, and even paid search can all be used to supplement your physical marketing efforts and increase your reach.

Less Competition

With more and more people spending time online these days, marketing companies are often fixated on the digital world. But to be heard amongst all the noise, you need to stand out, and direct mail can help you do just that.

By using direct mail, you can reach people who may not be online 24/7 or who prefer physical materials. And because direct mail is less common these days, your message is more likely to be noticed and remembered.

It's also worth noting that not everyone responds well to digital marketing. Some people find it intrusive or overwhelming, so they tune it out. You can target those individuals with a physical piece they can hold onto and read at their leisure.

The Format Is Tangible

Sometimes, there's something to be said for good old-fashioned print. You can touch and feel the paper with direct mail, hold it in your hands, and even pass it along to a friend or family member. This might not sound a big deal, but for some people, the tangibility of direct mail is one of its best features.

Also, it's not so easy to ignore (especially if you are creative with your marketing) or delete a physical piece of mail, and that gives your message a better chance of being seen and remembered. It's not often you save an email marketing message to read later!

Direct mail campaigns can be highly targeted to reach your ideal customer. You can target specific demographics, interests, and even income levels. By targeting your marketing, you can ensure that your message reaches the right people rather than the air coverage approach of mass marketing campaigns.

This also means that your campaigns are cost-effective because you're only connecting with people who are likely to be interested in what you have to say.

Easy to Track the Results

With direct mail, it's easy to track the results of your campaign. You can use special offer codes or discounts that allow you to see how many people responded to your offer.

You can also add a QR code to your mailer that takes people to a landing page where you can capture their contact information. This way, you can follow up with interested individuals and continue the conversation even after they've received your mailer.

Call tracking phone numbers are also very popular with direct mail campaigns. Call tracking allows you to see who called from a specific campaign and even record calls if needed. Best of all, call tracking numbers are highly-affordable and take just minutes to set up.

It's Perceived as Trustworthy

With all sorts of scams and frauds being committed online, it's no wonder that people are becoming more distrustful of technology. People are also more likely to believe what they see in print, as opposed to an online ad that could be easily faked. This trust can increase the effectiveness of your message and lead to more conversions.

It Can Be Personalized

Direct mail allows you to send a personalized message to your customers. By targeting a specific audience and customizing your message, you can improve the chances that your mail will be read. Being creative and designing a unique mail piece will help your message stand out from the rest of the mail people receive.

For instance, you could include a special offer only available to those who receive your direct mail.

How Much Does Direct Mail Marketing Cost?

To answer the question, campaigns must be considered on a case-by-case basis. The cost of direct mail campaigns depends on several factors, including the mailing list size, the type of materials used, design and creative needs, and the level of personalization incorporated.

It can range in cost from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the size and scope of the campaign. Still, direct mail ROI can be very high compared to some other marketing channels, making it a worthwhile investment.

You can take a look at our pricing at Taradel to get a good idea of the cost.

Quick Tips for a Successful Direct Mail Campaign

Now that we've answered the question, "What is direct mail?" and discussed all the benefits, here are a few pointers to ensure a successful campaign.

Keep these things in mind when planning your next direct mail campaign:

Define Your Audience

Identifying your audience is the first stage in every successful marketing strategy. This step is crucial for direct mail because it can be costly to produce and send out your mailers.

You need to make sure that you are targeting the right people with your message, or you could end up wasting a lot of time and money.

To define your audience, you need to answer the following questions:

  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What are their needs and wants?
  • What are their buying habits?
  • Where do they live?

By answering these questions, you'll be able to create a target market for your business. From there, you can create a campaign that resonates with your audience.

Provide a Strong Call to Action (CTA)

Your call to action is what you want your recipients to do after they receive your mailer. It could be anything from visiting your website to making a purchase. Whatever you decide, make sure your CTA is clear and easy to understand. You don't want to leave your recipients guessing what you want them to do.

Proofread your Marketing Materials

Your brand will lose credibility if your direct mail pieces go out to your customers with typos and other errors. This is why it's essential to proofread your materials before you send them out.

It's also a good idea to have someone else proofread your materials as well. Sometimes it's easy to overlook our own mistakes, but someone else will be able to catch them.

Use a Direct Mail Service

By using a platform like Taradel, you can simplify your direct mail campaign and save money and time.  In just three steps, we can help you target your audience, design your ads and launch your campaign all from one platform.

As an integrated direct mail and digital marketing platform, we can also seamlessly provide an omnichannel marketing campaign to help you reach your target market through multiple channels. 

The Bottom Line

If you believed that direct mail was a relic from the past, along with VHS machines and pagers, it's time to rethink your position. Direct mail is still a viable marketing tool that can help you reach your target market in a more personal way.

When done correctly, direct mail can effectively build relationships with your customers with benefits that include increased brand awareness and improved customer loyalty.

And your direct mail campaign doesn't have to fly solo. Combined with digital marketing methods, you can boost your reach and engagement even further. Taking a holistic marketing approach will ensure that your campaigns are working together to provide the best possible results.

Still have questions about direct mail marketing? Our team of US-based experts would be happy to answer them for you. Contact us today.


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