Before the digital revolution one of the principal way’s marketers used to get their message out was through direct mail. Now with email, video and social media marketing being available, some believe direct mail marketing is dead, but they may be mistaken.
The fact is direct mail has a higher response rate than it did a decade ago. Direct mail response rates have risen in the past 10 years.
According to a response rate report by the Data Marketing Association the response rate for mail sent to people on house lists (subscribers who opted in to mail) was 5.1 percent for the year and the response rate for prospect lists (potential clients) was 2.9%. These numbers are up from 2003, when house lists drew a response of 4.4% and prospect lists a response of 2.1%. The report also found that even though online shopping is greater than purchases from direct mail there were still 100.7 million adults in the U.S. who made purchases from catalogs in 2016.
What all this means is that direct mail is not dead and can still be an important part of a successful marketing strategy. But while direct mail is still a good marketing tool, it can be expensive, so planning is of key importance.
An excellent direct mail campaign will get nowhere without a good mailing list. Marketers must look at the demographics of their best customers, put those customers onto house lists, then build prospect lists of customers that are similar to their best customers.
The last thing a marketer wants is to spend a significant amount of money on a direct mail campaign only to have the material tossed in the trash as junk mail. Great care should be taken on the appearance of mailed pieces so that they do not look like junk mail.
Direct mail as a form of marketing is far from dead and can be a very effective tool.