It has been argued that the average American is exposed to roughly 5,000 ads every day, and only about 12 make an impression in a consumer’s mind. The accuracy of this statement, is subjective to consumer lifestyle. Regardless, the amount of advertising competing for attention is substantial. With this in mind, brands must strategize to deliver messages that will be deemed attention worthy by consumers.
We wanted to compare the two marketing platforms most commonly used for promotional outreach, that being direct mail and its digital alternative, email. We’re doing this in hopes of helping marketers make an informative decision on which platform is best for communicating specific brand messages.
Every organization has different goals, budgets and timelines, so when it comes to determining what is best for your company, a synopsis of both platforms can help clear it up.
In a study conducted by USPS, 98% of consumers stated they bring in their mail the day it is delivered. Every single day consumers look forward to receiving mail and open their mail boxes with anticipation. Direct mail, like no other medium gives you the opportunity to put your message in the hands of a consumer who is highly engaged.
Typically, mail is kept where it is visible so it can be used at the consumer’s convenience, extending the lifespan of your brand message. The USPS study also revealed direct mail is most often sorted by the head of household who is customarily the financial decision maker and most often the person you want your brand message to reach. Depending on your target audience, direct mail may also be better suited for older generations that are not as active on digital based mediums.
There are many advantages to executing a direct mail campaign; consumers who receive direct mail from brands have expressed they feel more valued by the brand because it is more personal than an email. Consumers also stated they find direct mail to be a more trustworthy, reliable and a more official form of outreach from brands.
In the graphic above, direct mail has proven to deliver the highest response rate according to a study conducted by the experts at List Giant, a digital marketing company. In a similar study conducted by Mobile Cause, it was concluded that direct mail campaigns have an even higher response rate when integrated with digital channels such as email and web.
Additionally, direct mail has proven to deliver the highest customer conversion rates over any other marketing medium. Response rates for digital mediums do not exceed 1% while direct mail response rates are approximately 6%. Many factors can attribute to high customer conversion rates of direct mail.
While direct mail offers countless advantages it also has disadvantages which are hard to ignore. Direct mail is one of the most expensive forms of outreach and there is no avoiding the consumers who throw away their mail without second thought.
For companies who have no pre-existing data to reference it can be hard to correctly target the right addresses to send your brand messages to, so initially direct mail’s ROI is relatively low. To combat these disadvantages, we’ve included some strategies below.
It is easier to get the attention of your consumers when sending direct mail as opposed to email. Here are a few tactics you may want to consider when crafting your direct mail campaign.
Email marketing is a great way to keep existing customers engaged with new merchandise, services and offerings. It also allows brands to send personalized and targeted messages to its consumers. Email marketing is one of the fastest forms of communication, making it an appealing avenue for promoting flash sales. At a fraction of the cost of executing a direct mail campaign, email marketing gives real time performance analytics for arguably the best ROI for the lowest cost.
Time for a scenario to help paint the picture…
If a retail store is interested in notifying consumers about a flash sale, the best option would be to shoot out a time-sensitive email reminder of the sale that is currently in-store only.
On the contrary, if the same retail store is preparing for a new seasonal sale it would be best to send a direct mailer with an incentive to visit the store within the promotional timeframe. As the sale nears an end, it would then be appropriate to send an email blast to inform consumers it’s the last chance to take advantage of the end of season deals.
While email marketing has several advantages, it is important not to overlook possible disadvantages. The reality of the day and age we live in is consumers are constantly bombarded with “time-sensitive” flash-sale promotions and overflowing email inboxes. Now more than ever it is a challenge to cut through the crowd and win the attention of your consumer, especially with the estimated average lifespan of an email being 2 seconds.
Here are some strategies to help you out…
Every email marketer is given the same format in a consumer’s inbox, sender name, subject line and the first sentence or two of the messages… nothing more, nothing less. With so little to grab the attention of your target consumer, there are a couple strategies you may consider to stand out.
The Golden Rule – It is highly important not to overuse and abuse this platform, doing so will result in many unsubscribes from your email list. It may sound counter-intuitive not to send multiple emails a day since the lifespan of an average email is so short, but it is best to focus on the quality of your message over the quantity of your outreach.
Overall direct mail still offers brands the highest customer conversion and response rates; while email offers the lowest cost per entry and highest ROI. Often seen as two separate forms of outreach, direct mail and email work best in support of each other to reinforce your brand message. Ultimately, the two mediums should never be seen as competitors but rather allies in attempt to boost brand perception and customer conversion.
When combined with digital campaigns direct mail has been proven to be most effective. The tangible elements of direct mail allow you to forge more meaningful relationships with consumers, while the convenience of email allows marketers to execute a full campaign in a fraction of the time and cost it would take to complete a direct mail campaign.
When determining what is best for your marketing goals ask yourself what outcome are you looking to achieve while keeping in mind brand recall from a direct mail ad as opposed to a digital ad is 75:45.
If you have any questions or have any points to add please leave us a comment below or give us a call at 727-572-9999 to discuss how we can help with your next direct mail campaign!