3 direct mail statistics you can’t afford to ignore

3 Direct Mail Statistics You Cant Afford To Ignore

During the whirlwind of change that has affected businesses, educational institutions, non-profits and consumers during the last two years, e-commerce has boomed. As many activities have moved online during the pandemic, you may have expected direct mail to languish. 

But the opposite has happened: It’s booming like never before!

Here are three statistics you can’t afford to ignore about the power, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of direct mail in today’s post-COVID era.

1. The response rate for direct mail is up to nine times higher than that of email

According to the DMA Response Rate Report, direct mail averages a response rate of 5-9%. Compare that to 1% for email. This disparity isn’t surprising: a visually striking direct mail piece can provoke an emotional response from recipients that even the best-designed email can’t equal.

 As the majority of communication has moved online during the last two years, it has created an opportunity for direct mail to shine. Simply put, there’s less clutter and competition in today’s mailboxes. Well-designed postcards and mailers increasingly command attention and compel action.

Direct mail also has an unmistakable physical presence. As a result, it can sit on recipients’ tables or desks for days or weeks. They may even file it for future reference. In contrast, email messages are easy to ignore or delete. If they manage to survive the first purge of your audience’s daily email deluge, they tend to get pushed down by new arrivals and are quickly forgotten.

According to Compu-Mail, the average life span of an email is 17 seconds. The average life span of direct mail is 17 days – a massive difference when you’re trying to influence your best customers and prospects.

A related data point is even more compelling: Since 2006, total mail volume has declined by almost half, according to the U.S. Postal Service. In 2021, it shipped only 128.9 billion units. Despite this steady decline, direct mail response rates have skyrocketed. During the last 15 years, house list response rates grew by 173% while prospect list response rates saw an astounding bump of 194%.

If you must get the attention of your target audience, direct mail is your best bet to get the job done!

2. Only 44% of people can recall a brand immediately after seeing a digital ad compared to 75% of people who receive direct mail.

One of the hardest things to do in today’s media-saturated world is to generate a strong, memorable impression for your brand. This is true whether you represent a company, an educational institution or a non-profit. There is an unprecedented amount of “noise” competing for the attention of your target audience. Most of it is irrelevant. Because of this, your customers and prospects have learned to ignore most commercial messages.

Direct mail is a powerful brand-building tool that can help your messages cut through the clutter, build trust and influence your customers, prospects, constituents and donors to take action.

Because of its physical format, direct mail makes a lasting impression. According to research conducted by MarketingProfs, three-quarters of consumers can recall a brand after receiving a piece of direct mail. By comparison, less than half (44%) can do so after viewing a digital ad.

3. Up to 90% of direct mail gets opened, compared to only 20-30% of emails.

With their colorful, attention-getting designs, direct mail pieces stand out in the mailbox. They enable you to personalize the look and feel of your messaging in ways that email and digital advertising can’t equal – increasing the odds that your audience will pay attention to it.

As a result, direct mail is opened nine out of ten times. In contrast, emails are opened only 20-30% of the time, according to the Data & Marketing Association. 

Email messages face other hurdles, too: If your list isn’t engaged, their response rate can easily fall into the single digits. In addition, they must overcome spam filters, quickly aging email addresses (job-jumping and retiring recipients are invalidating email addresses at a faster rate than ever) and other barriers to even reach your audience’s inbox. 

Direct mail can be targeted in ways that email can’t. For example, you can send postcards to all addresses within a specific geographic area or purchase lists of contacts who match your ideal prospects. In contrast, following best practices, email should only be sent to opted-in email addresses.

By the way, direct mail and email aren’t an either-or proposition. Used strategically, they can complement each other exceptionally well. Targeting consumers with integrated campaigns can increase direct mail response rates by as much as 35%, according to the Data & Marketing Association (DMA).

For direct mail, the time is now

There has never been a better time to utilize direct mail to build your brand, enhance trust with your target audience and compel them to take action on your offers. 

Contact us today to discuss your direct mail needs!

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