Direct Mail by the Numbers

Direct mail continues to see marketing success. Many businesses that could benefit from the exposure and ROI of direct mail, but they’re scared away by rumors of direct mail’s demise. There are a thousand and one marketers saying the future is digital (and they’re partially correct), but it is not the time to abandon the tried-and-tested methods of the past. In fact, the rush to go digital has left more room for businesses willing to go a more traditional marketing route.

This marketing channel continues to provide results in surprising ways. Today’s we’ll look at a few stats about direct mail that might surprise you (and how they compare to their digital cousins).

Discard Rates

Traditional marketing mail has a reputation of going directly from mailbox to trash bin. But is that reputation warranted? According to a study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), only about 6% of households will immediately discard a direct mail piece. That number isn’t insignificant, but it certainly is much lower than most business owners would guess. And that number can go even lower with a professionally designed piece!

The discard rate of 6% looks even better when you compare it to email marketing. In 2016, 13% of marketing emails were deleted before reading – that’s over double the rate of direct mail!

Read Rates

Now that we’ve debunked the discard-rate myths that surround direct mail, let’s take a quick look at how customers read, interact, and respond to direct mail advertising and marketing. As with discard-rates, the data will come as a surprise to many who have bought into the death of direct mail. But we know better!

According to the same Direct Marketing Association study, 45% of recipients will immediately read direct mail pieces. And even more amazingly, when you focus on the 18-22 age group that number jumps up to a whopping 62 percent! That means that direct mail is popular – especially among so-called digital natives. Something we’d never believe if the data wasn’t so clear.

And again, the news gets even better when you compare direct mail to email statistics. In the world of email marketing, open/read rates hover around the 25% mark. Again, twice as many people are engaging with direct mail when compared to email.

Response Rates

The final statistic we’ll look at is response rates. The latest figures from the DMA show that house lists generate a response rate of 5.1%, while prospect lists come in at 2.9%. Those numbers aren’t shockingly high, but any seasoned marketer will tell you that they are nothing to shake a stick at.

And remember, we’re not talking about just reading your mail, these figures represent the number of people who follow through on your call to action. In this category, the difference between physical mail and email isn’t quite so stark – but remember that email lists are always opt-in and offer an unsubscribe option. The latest figures show that email still comes in slightly lower at between 3.5 and 4.2 percent. More broadly, digital channels average a response rate of 2% when you combine across channels.

Growth Rates

I don’t want to oversell the direct mail – just like any marketing or advertising channel, it brings its own set of problems. The initial cost can run a bit higher than the average, which also pushes up the overall cost-per-acquisition. But for businesses that are willing to invest the time and capital in a well-designed and properly executed direct mail campaign, the results are often surprising!

With the potential for a massive ROI, direct mail continues to be a go-to-tool for savvy businesses and marketing departments – even if it feels old-school. At Fusion Group USA, we don’t care about the latest, flash-in-the-pan tricks. We care about getting real, measurable results for our clients.  And that is why we continue to offer direct mail services in a digital world.

If your goal is to increase your reach, gain exposure, and grow your business; then consider direct mail for your next marketing or advertising campaign. The number don’t lie – direct mail continues to be an effective way to reach your target audience with your message. Contact us today and we can help you make an impression with direct mail!

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