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Direct mail marketing is constantly attacked as over the hill. When you come across such criticism, it can be easy to wonder if these assertions are true. When you have a choice between direct mail and email marketing, these rumours may persuade you to go with the email alternative. That would be a mistake, though. Not only is direct mail alive and well, it often achieves better results for businesses than email marketing.
Direct mail looks better and lives longer
While marketing emails can employ full-color graphics, they either live on tiny phone screens or need to be viewed on computers that aren’t always available. Even when printed, beautifully designed marketing emails can end up flat and unattractive on simple, printer paper. Direct mail, on the other hand, is always available to customers who receive it. Being printed on quality paper, it is also capable of a far more attractive effect than most marketing email.
People remember what they see on paper far better
Research has repeatedly shown (see: healthland.time.com/2012/03/14/do-e-books-impair-memory/) that people remember things better when they get their information off physical, printed material. The brain simply doesn’t take screens seriously. Direct mail, then, is far more likely to be remembered than marketing emails.
Direct mail can boost your online presence
Direct mail and marketing email don’t necessarily live in separate worlds. Direct mail often successfully pushes people to try online shopping at the company’s website. Many small businesses successfully use direct marketing as a way to build their email marketing databases. When they deliver direct mail to everyone in their ZIP code, they get to ask for email addresses too. They end up with tightly focused email lists.
Direct mail cannot be caught by spam filters
Gmail became the world’s largest email provider in 2012, with nearly half a billion active users. Gmail’s powerful email filtering technology is one of the biggest reasons people love the service. Not only is it extremely effective at identifying spam, it is able to separate marketing emails and file them under a separate inbox tab called Promotions. Other email services are increasingly competent at deploying filtering technology, too. Whether or not marketing emails are effective, then, is moot — a large number of marketing email recipients never get to see their mail.
More people see direct mail than marketing emails
When a household receives direct mail, the recipient doesn’t jealously protect it. It is left lying around for anyone to see. Over a period of days, the recipient, family members and friends who visit get to see the mailer over and over.
You get to wow your audience with size
Electronic communications are necessarily the size of the screen that readers view them on. Every email, then, is the exact same size. With direct mail, though, you get to stand out on size. You can send giant-sized mailers, mailers that have special shapes, ones that open like pop-up cards or anything else. You can’t fail to stand out and impress.
With certain age groups, direct mail is more effective
A study done by Bolt Insurance finds that only 25% of new customers arriving at businesses make their purchase decisions based on a marketing email. One in three, though, engage with a business based on direct mail. Compared to email-based marketing, direct mail is much more effective at getting customers to respond.