Buyer Guide to Direct Mail

The mail is a powerful way to reach current customers or attract new ones.  According to United States Postal Service, 98% of consumers check their mail the day it’s delivered, and 77% sort through their mail immediately.  If you’re looking to gain visibility, reach new markets, introduce products or special offers, or just reach out to current or past customers, a direct mail campaign could be one part of your solution. 

Direct mail is used to advertise and generate sales leads oftentimes in conjunction with an online marketing campaign.  The materials you mail depend on your goals and your company.  Many businesses mail promotional fliers, gift offers, or discount vouchers to current customers to drive sales traffic.  Some companies mail catalogs or materials to potential new customers in a specific geographic region to highlight new offers and products for sale.  

Studies consistently show that direct mail is one of the most effective ways to generate sales.  According to Pitney Bowes, the average ROI (return on investment) for direct mailing efforts is $10 per $1 invested.  By this measure, direct mail produces more sales volume than other traditional advertising methods, including internet ads, television commercials, or radio advertisements.

Direct mailings are also a great way to gain visibility and expose customers to your brand or products.  According to the Direct Marketing Association, nearly one-third of consumers who receive a direct mail offer- a discount, a personalized invitation, or a gift certificate- go online to respond.  When a personalized URL, offer code, or online marketing promotion is included, this rate increases between 20 to 30%.  Special offers aren’t the only mail offering to generate responses- catalogs, product brochures, and informational mailers, used with a company website, generate excellent response rates.  According to a 2007 study by comScore, 67% of direct mail catalog recipients visited company websites. 

Direct mail generates great results for surprisingly little cost or resources, especially when used as part of a larger interactive marketing campaign.  Mailing services, or companies that specialize in direct mailing campaigns, can provide address lists, printing services, and even copywriting services to ensure that your mailer catches the attention of recipients.  Before you begin a direct mail campaign, it helps to know the basics- how to generate or purchase a quality mailing list (usually based on market research), what to mail, how to save on postage- these elements of a direct mail can have a big impact on the success of the effort.  This guide provides a quick overview for anyone thinking about a direct mail effort- how to get started, what it will cost, and a few expert tips to ensure the campaign generates interest and sales. 

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