Mail going to your physical inbox is certainly a dated form of communication, which is why some startups snub the idea of sending out physical letters for their marketing campaigns. At least in the case of developed nations with stable post offices, shared direct mail can be a cost-effective form of marketing.
Direct Mail for Direct Response
Now that the internet, and especially email, is saturated with advertisers, studies have shown that physical letters have higher response rates than emails. A study by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) showed that direct mail had a response rate of 4.4%, while email was quite low at 0.12%. And in general, you will find a response rate of over 30 times higher than digital formats.
And considering how digital inboxed are quite saturated, a brilliantly manufactured advertisement will have more perceived value in physical form. While people are glued to their phones, our brains are still wired to handle tangible objects that even virtual reality cannot replicate.
Direct Mail & Younger Generations
Gen Z and Millenials are indeed dependent on the Internet and digital devices, which any advertiser will perceive letters having a poor impression on these generations.
On the contrary, a recent Gallop poll shows that up to 30% of Millenials still regularly check their physical inboxes, and look forward to receiving letters.
Also considering that the Millenial generation will soon take up the majority of the market share, sending out letters to this demographic is still entirely worth it.
How to Send Direct Mail
You will find direct mail marketing options in two facets: shared mail and standalone mail. Each of them can be effective, but it depends on your needs, budget, and if you need large marketing coverage.
Shared mail is the cost-effective mail option and you will share space with other advertisers. As you might have already deduced, the mailing cost is split between different advertisers and your ad will be displayed along with others. And in general, it has quite a broad reach and considering it costs pennies compared to other distribution methods, it’s great for a startup needing broad coverage.
Standalone mail is where you get to hog all of the advertising space, assuring you leave a more noticeable impression on mail recipients. You may need to have access to a mailing list to send out such cards, and including the logistics of creating and sending ads, this will be the most expensive option.
There are several different formats for mail advertisements, with postcards, letters, and brochures being among the most popular. At least within the United States, USPS offers the Every Door Direct Mail mapping tool to help advertisers plan out their campaigns.
If you have a new startup, shared direct mail marketing is quite cheap and can have broad coverage that even newspaper ads cannot beat. I believe the latest startups are showing that there is a weak barrier between online-focused businesses and real-life to the point that internet-based companies shouldn’t shy away from old-fashioned marketing methods.