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The Return of Physical Mail
July 29, 2013

The Return of Physical Mail

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Harry Zhang

You may not realize it right now, but there is a revolution happening. More and more startups are going back to using physical mail as their primary marketing channel. To rise above the noise, startups are using physical mail to delight their customers and offer unprecedented customer service. From sending custom thank you cards to sending customers birthday gift cards, there is a clear shift on how startups perceive mail. In this post we will explore recent trends and why the shift is happening now

1. Mail has higher open rates than email

Direct mail marketing is 10-30 times more effective than email. Studies done by Epsilon, a multi-channel marketing agency, show that "for every 1,000 existing customers receiving a direct-mail piece, 34 will respond on average. For email, the average response is 0.12%." Email response rates are down 57% since 2004. By contrast, direct mail response rates are up 14% in that same period, partly due to increase in spam. In fact, 65 percent of those surveyed in a study by the Direct Marketing Association "strongly agree" that they get too much email, and 75 percent say they get a lot of emails they never open. When you are acquiring new customers, the response from direct mail will have higher user conversion and allow you to differentiate yourself.

2. Some users prefer direct mail over email

In almost every category people prefer to receive direct mail instead of email, including financial services (36 percent to 8 percent), insurance (36 percent to 9 percent) and travel (21 percent to 13 percent). People spend more time reading a postcard or letter than they do with email and a beautiful envelope or postcard can be a powerful tool. Imagine a custom postcard addressed to you from your favorite startup saying how delighted they are that you are a customer. How does that make you feel? Pretty good right?

3. Only 27% of marketers personalize their direct mail

One thing people forget when it comes to direct mail is making your mailpiece unique and personalized for your customer! Only 27% of marketers are using variable data and personalization in their print marketing today. Using variable data can immediately increase the impact of your messaging. When you are creating a mailing campaign, be sure to think of creative ways to customize the content so its relevant for your user.

4. The ROI is there

U.S. advertisers spend $167 per person on direct mail and earn $2095 worth of goods sold...a 1300% ROI. In fact, it's not just goods that direct mail works for. It is the #1 channel for donations to non-profits and brings in 78% of donations. Imagine how hard soliciting people for donations is...if they can do it through mail, imagine what you can do.

While we don't deny email marketing has its place and can be cheaper....direct mail is still one of the top marketing channels today. If you've stopped sending or haven't tried direct mail before, maybe it is time to reconsider. We're happy to help you craft your perfect postcard or your direct mail marketing campaign. Imagine creating a feature so that whenever a user signs up, they get a beautiful postcard sent to them.

*Data compiled from various sources: Printisbig.com, Epsilon, Adage, Direct Marketing Association.

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