This is a guest post by Summer Gould of Eye/Comm Inc.

For several years now, some marketers have claimed that direct mail is dead and digital is the best place to invest their marketing dollars. It seems that direct mail, since it has been around for a very long time, has fallen out of favor due to new and exciting digital options.

However, what we as well as many others have found is that adding direct mail to your marketing mix can actually increase your digital engagement. The DMA 2015 Response Rate Report found that:

  • The average direct mail response rate is 3.7%.
  • The average cost per response for direct mail is $19 which when compared to other channels is very competitive.
  • Finally, the best performing format by category is an oversized envelope at 5%, followed by postcards at 4.25%.


Why Direct Mail Works

The biggest draw for direct mail is that it is tangible, and therefore can stimulate more than just your visual senses. You can really enhance that by adding textured paper or coating to your pieces. Keep in mind that there is less competition in the mail box so your message is noticed.

Many times direct mail is set aside or put on the refrigerator for easy access at a later date, where many times the electronic information is forgotten or lost.

Recipients trust direct mail more than any other marketing channel; use that to your advantage. When direct mail is integrated with digital, it can produce fabulous results.


How Direct Mail Drives Digital Engagement

There is a very real symbiotic relationship between direct mail and digital marketing.

There are some easy ways to link your digital content to direct mail pieces, a few of them are QR Codes, PURLS, augmented reality, virtual reality and near field communication. Your calls to action will send recipients to whatever content you want them to view, as well as offering them online links to additional content they may be interested in.  

This prolongs their exposure to your product or service and increases the chances that they will buy from you. When you use this technology on a direct mail piece, make sure your landing pages are formatted with responsive design so that they are functional for both mobile and PC viewing depending on what device they use to connect with you.


9 Tips To Make Direct Mail Work For Your Business

Before you jump into direct mail, you need to put a plan together. Do you want more website hits? Do you want more whitepaper downloads? Do you want people to make purchases? Or some of all the above? Based on that decision, you can create your campaign.

1. Make sure to have a single clear call to action.

2. Highlight the benefits of responding and give them an incentive to do so

3. Finally create a sense of urgency by giving the offer an expiration date

4. Make sure to target to the right audience so that your message is not considered junk mail.

5. Unlike all other channels, you can target your audience very specifically with direct mail.

6. Your messaging, your list and your creative are all affected by who you are trying to reach, so make sure you have the right people.

7. Your design matters, the post office has many regulations that can cost you a lot of money if you are not aware of them before you print.

8. In order to get the maximum effectiveness from your direct mail make sure to test offers, messaging and images to see what works best for you.

9. Tracking your results will help you to continue to improve your direct mail results. We recommend creating a control piece based on what you think will work then create 1 or 2 test pieces with changes away from the control piece. You might be surprised by which ones work the best.


How To Get Started

Getting started can be intimidating. Don’t be afraid of direct mail. Yes in comparison to digital marketing it is an expensive channel to get started in, but when done correctly it can have a great ROI. Here are some ideas on how to get started.

1. List: Make a list of all the specific things you are looking for in your prospects and in many cases you can match them with a direct mail list. This will allow you to send not only to your customers but also to prospects who most likely need your product or service. Need list help? Click here to learn more about direct mail lists.

2. Design: Creating an eye catching as well as functional design can be a real challenge. Have you looked at the pieces that have come in your mail box that have caught your attention? What about using one of those designs? If not, talk to a designer you know or call us, we can help you. Click here for tips on mail piece design within the post office regulations.

3. Offer: You want a single clear call to action on each piece. This does not mean that you cannot send different offers to different types of people. We really recommend doing that. What we are saying is to only offer each person one thing on the direct mail piece. Once they link to your digital content, feel free to offer them similar things they will most likely be interested in.

Summer Gould is President of Eye/Comm Inc. Summer is a direct mail marketing expert who has spent her 23 year career helping clients achieve better marketing results. Want help executing direct mail campaigns? You can reach Summer at (619) 448-6111 or email her at