Tips to Increase Direct Mail Marketing Campaign Engagement

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    January 11, 2018

Tips to Increase Direct Mail Marketing Campaign Engagement


Direct mail marketing isn’t dead. Despite rumors to the contrary, direct mail is still an effective way to reach consumers. 

In 2008, 93.1 billion pieces of direct mail were sent. But direct mail campaigns can be expensive. And in the years that followed, direct mail felt the effects of the economic downturn, leading to a sharp decline in volume.

However, direct mail began to stabilize between 2010 and 2014 and has shown modest growth.[1] While it still hasn’t matched previous highs, that’s a good thing for marketers trying to stand out. 

Direct mail has a few other advantages: since your targets can hold mailers in their hands, they are easy to keep and can be revisited later. And unlike some other forms of traditional marketing, direct mail results can also be fairly easy to track.

7 tips to make your direct mail marketing campaign more engaging

1. Create eye-catching visuals. The human brain can process visuals 60,000 times more quickly than copy.[2] Attention spans aren’t getting any longer, but crisp visuals and powerful creative are more likely to get busy readers to pause.

Sunbrella direct mail marketing
Sunbrella direct mail marketing with copy
Sunbrella direct mail marketing features showstopping visuals.

2. Don’t overcomplicate it. Simplicity is king. The average attention span is just eight seconds, and people don’t want to read a lot of copy. Give them the simple, short decision path they want.

3. Be creative. Eye-catching photography isn’t the only way to engage your target audience. Now, there are direct mail options that integrate the other four senses. Some even include videos instead of photos. And when you appeal to multiple senses, you will increase the possibility that recipients will remember your message.

VELUX video direct mail
This VELUX direct mail piece incorporates video.

4. Home in on your target. Aside from strong visuals, successful direct mail campaigns are also heavily dependent on careful targeting. Direct mail can be a great tactic to lead customers to your website or get them to make a purchase online. But to get these results, you need to reach them with precision. This means using traditional and digital marketing as complementary tactics. Effective direct mail marketing now calls for an understanding of and targeting based on digital data that shows browsing behavior and preferences.

5. Make it personal and relevant. Personalization and relevance are extremely important to recipients, especially millennials, and they’re necessary if you want to stand out.

6. Take a multipronged approach to your direct mail marketing strategy. Direct mail can boost your marketing results when used as part of a multifaceted campaign, because it gives your audience numerous opportunities to engage with your brand and its message. In fact, the Direct Marketing Association says that effective direct mail tactics anchor larger marketing campaigns driving other tactics to make omnichannel efforts more effective. For example, you can time carefully positioned email marketing to hit inboxes after your direct mail postcard arrives in mailboxes.

7. Test and refine. Above all else, always leverage the trackable nature of direct mail, and make adjustments as needed. You can try new visuals and copy or create a new offer. However you decide to adjust, don’t be afraid to switch things up and see what resonates.

Does your email inbox have zero unread emails right now? If your inbox is empty, teach me your ways. Now, think about the promotional emails sitting in your inbox. Email marketing is a great marketing tactic, but sometimes consumers can, and do, get overwhelmed. Direct mail’s response rate may have decreased over the past decade, but this figure can still be 10 to 30 times higher than the response rate for email marketing.[3]

Direct mail can be effective for both young and old. For example, millennials may not have experienced rotary phones and a life without technology, but they can appreciate direct mail as a simpler form of marketing. They’re not alone: 41 percent of adults between 50 and 64 look forward to checking the mail every day.[4]

Direct mail marketing is expected to show continued modest growth through 2020. With a clever campaign design and careful targeting, you can tap into the strong ROI potential of this long-lost art.

[1] Trends and Future of Direct Mail through 2020 via CMO Council

[2] Direct Mail Statistics via Data & Marketing Association

[3] DMA: Direct mail response rates beat digital via DMN

[4] Four in 10 Americans Look Forward to Checking Mail via Gallup

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