For marketing purposes, sending CDs and DVDs via direct mail still works. We have several clients still having success with it, and it continues to be a strategy we recommend.
Before going any further, I have a pretty good idea what you might be thinking about direct mail. So, here are some quick answers:
- Yes, people still pay attention to it if it is about a topic they consider interesting.
- Yes, postage rates are quite a bit higher than they used to be when this strategy was used more often.
- Yes, companies still gain new customers with it they might not have found otherwise.
- Yes, it still produces positive ROI despite production and distribution costs.
Statistical information from the USPS about direct mail
According to statistics provided from the United States Postal Service, 42% of recipients read or skim direct mail pieces. What that means is nearly half of people who look through their mail actually stop for a few seconds to read the messages on the direct mail pieces they receive.
If designed well with a strong offer and strategic call-to-action, companies who use direct mail can achieve anywhere from a 1% to 14% response rate to their messages depending on the level of interest in recipients. In comparison, digital ads are lucky to get a 14% clickthrough rate followed by a 2.35% conversion rate on those clicks.
Here is an easy way to look at this data by using simple math: If you mail 10,000 direct mail pieces and achieve a 1% response rate, you would gain 100 customers. Digitally, to gain the same 100 customers, you’d have to run a banner ad that reaches 3,035,700 prospects.
The advantages of direct mail
One of the biggest advantages of direct mail is that companies can rent or buy mailing lists relatively inexpensively. Mailing lists provide a great way for companies to only send their messages to targeted prospects who meet specific criteria.
Also, if the goal is to reach recipients who live in a specific zip code or even a specific neighborhood, a mailing list isn’t even necessary. The USPS offers a service called “Every Door Direct Mail”, also referred to as EDDM. By using it, companies can save thousands of dollars on postage and reach targeted prospects for as little as 16 cents per household.
With regards to digital advertising, it can be rewarding for B2B marketers to have a digital presence on websites their known prospects visit regularly. However, it seems like many websites greet viewers with invasive pop-up ads or flashing banner ads at a high rate, which can be annoying, and this can cause online users to find other alternatives. With direct mail, there are no pop-ups or banner ads.
How to make direct mail work
Recipients often give direct mail more attention because they tend to view it in a more distraction-free zone. They have to at least touch it, and if a company has crafted a clear and meaningful message to someone who thinks it is appealing, it will get opened. Unfortunately, this is the point where many users fail because they don’t truly understand how to craft a direct mail piece in a way that will make it appealing.
Grabbing someone’s attention isn’t as simple as mailing a postcard, pamphlet or flyer to them. Those tactics do work sometimes, but the more interesting a marketing piece is, the more attention it will get.
What we’ve found makes marketing pieces more interesting is including videos in them. Marketing that includes videos seems to be much more effective, especially for companies selling expensive products or services, and people respond well to videos.
Whether the goal is to have a direct mail piece make sales itself or to have it generate enough interest for a prospect to call so appointment setters can set appointments for salespeople, adding video content makes marketing pieces more effective.