The next time you check your mailbox, look and see how much of what you received is marketing mail—it’s a lot, right? So it probably won’t surprise you to learn that around 58% of the mail Americans receive has a clear marketing goal (Source: USPS).

That volume may have decreased since the “bad old days” before the cheaper alternative of email, but many brands still see a return on their direct mail investments.

We’ve talked before about how print media is still alive and well, and according to the data we’ve seen in the last few years, the same can be said for direct mail, too. Here are 3 key stats that our caught our eye:

#1. Direct mail had an average response rate of 9% for house lists and 4.9% for prospect lists in 2018. (Source: Data & Marketing Association)

These numbers were almost double what they were in 2017. One theory for this increase is that lists are getting more sophisticated thanks to better data aggregation, so the people receiving direct mail campaigns are increasingly people who actually want that information. And with the right type of messaging and good timing, you can increase that response further.

#2. Direct mail recipients purchased 28% more items and spent 28% more money than people who didn’t get that piece of direct mail. (Source: USPS)

A tangible piece of mail has a much deeper impact on our brains than something digital. 75% of people can recall a brand from seeing a direct mail piece (Source: Marketing Profs) compared with 44% who just saw a digital ad. Plus, 90% of direct mail gets opened (Source: Data & Marketing Association), compared with only 20%-30% of emails. Add all that together and you have a huge opportunity to move the needle.

#3. Consumers aged 45-54 are the demographic group most likely to respond to direct mail pieces (Source: Data & Marketing Association).

Before we get too excited by the opportunity and risk over-inflating the data, confirm where your target audience falls. Younger consumers are still more digitally responsive, but it is heartening to note as well that 30% of millennials believe they are more strongly affected by direct mail (Source: DMN) versus the 24% who said they were strongly affected by email.

Of course, it’s easy to pull out a couple of stats and draw whatever conclusion we want to, but overall, the opportunity seems to exist. The key to seeing these results in your own campaign will be:

  • The quality of your list
  • The timing of your mailer
  • The offer you’re making
  • The way you offer it

Direct mail is still a hefty investment. So while you could use it to garner awareness, your ROI will be a lot higher if you leverage it for conversions. There is no silver bullet in marketing, but if you’ve left direct mail off your list of considered tactics for the last decade, now might be the time to consider it again.

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