For decades, direct mail was traditionally a leading way for brands to acquire new customers. In the late 1990s, with the emergence of new, more exciting digital channels, much of the marketing world shifted away from this seemingly outdated medium. If your marketing team still thinks snail mail is dead, it’s time to recognize that direct mail quietly remains a top-performing and growing ROI driver for audiences both young and old.
Direct mail still accounts for a significant portion of U.S. marketing budgets, ranking fifth in marketing channel spending.¹ Direct mail also has higher response and ROI than digital channels. Direct mail has a 13% higher response rate than email alone,¹ and according to the USPS, direct mail boasts a lower cost per acquisition than email, paid search, or paid display, ranking highest in ROI at 112%, surpassing SMS (102%) and email (93%).²
While there are several factors why direct mail is actually growing today, here are the top 4 reasons why we advocate adding direct mail into your acquisition marketing mix:
1. Mail cuts through the digital clutter
Thanks to email, paperless billing, and the ubiquity of digital channels, physical mailboxes have never been emptier. Unlike a typical spam-flooded email inbox, direct mail offers significant opportunities to personally engage and connect with consumers. Again, according to the USPS, 67% feel mail is more personal than the Internet.²
Consumers have trained their brains to avoid or reject most digital marketing messages. In an era when everything is going digital, “fake news” is running amok, display ads are increasingly blocked, and emails are ignored, print media feels more trustworthy and credible. The USPS also found that 90% of millennials trust print messaging more than digital.²
2. Direct mail engages better than other channels
Direct mail stands out, feels important, and keeps attention longer. For offerings with lower awareness levels, consumers need more than two seconds to engage with your value proposition to be willing to take the most desired actions. Unlike email and digital ads, direct mail meets your audience in a far less distracted context. The physical form is easy to keep in a place where readers can engage when ready. According to a recent InfoTrends report, 66% of direct mail is opened, and 82% of those messages are read for at least one minute.³ Throw in the fact that 88% of purchase decisions are made at home, and this level of engagement can’t be ignored. The right mail format paired with smart design can demand attention and interest in a place that meets your customer.
3. Direct mail feels more personal
Advances in digital printing technology allow countless cost-effective opportunities to speak to your target audiences in a much more personalized manner. Try integrating your first-party data to create compelling experiences that send highly relevant messages to the right home. Choosing the proper format and personalized creative approach can drive higher response and ROI.
4. Mail can boost ROI across your other channels, too!
A well-timed direct mail touch point has proven to improve email and paid media response across the board. According to Winterberry, combining digital and direct mail series can lift response rates by up to 27%.¹ At LIFT, we help our clients deliver higher results with well-orchestrated direct mail and digitally integrated campaigns.
Put direct mail to the test in 2024
With the proper format and approach, direct mail can achieve a much higher ROI than emails, web banners, and social media ads. For any marketer with an LTV over $100, direct mail should be at the top of your acquisition marketing mix. The next time you want to boost customer growth with lower CPAs, consider how LIFT can leverage direct mail for your marketing goals.
Tim Carr is the Chief LIFTer at LIFT Agency. He is dedicated to generating positive results for direct and digital marketing objectives and has generated dozens of direct mail controls for today’s top brands.
¹ Winterberry Group, The Perfect Pairing: Direct Mail + Digital.