It’s more like getting a personal letter from a friend than a marketing message from a business.
7. Direct Mail is Tangible
Imagine this. You receive a coupon in the mail for $10 off your next meal at your favorite local pub.
If you’re like me, you set the coupon on your refrigerator for future use.
Then, you pretty much forget about it. For the next few weeks, the coupon sits in your kitchen with other unused direct-mail offers.
But one night, your buddy calls and wants to watch the big game at a restaurant. As you’re trying to decide where to go, you remember, “Oh! I have a coupon for our favorite pub.”
And at that moment, the coupon decides for you.
Even though the coupon is for just $10.
You could do the same thing with a haircut business.
Or an ecommerce store. No brick-and-mortar location needed.
Since direct mail is tangible, it sticks around. It clutters physical space.
Email is easy to forget about because it’s just a number on a screen.
As a general rule of thumb, about two percent of online advertisements garner our attention each day. In other words, only about 100 out of every 5,000 ad exposures have any meaningful impact on consumers.
If your direct mail piece has a special offer, most people will save it for future use, and then they won’t be able to forget about it.
8. Direct Mail Gets Undivided Attention
A certain fear accompanies direct mail.
What do I mean?
When you open the mailbox and pull out a small stack of letters, you won’t throw away any of the mail without glancing at it first.
You don’t immediately know which piece of mail requires your attention and which one you’re uninterested in. There is a fear that you might miss out on something important.
Because of that, you don’t want to throw mail away without taking a peek at it first.
When you receive an email, you probably have at least four (or forty) other tabs open on your computer. There are a bunch of notifications dinging on your phone and laptop.
The average American consumer is exposed to thousands of advertisements per day. In fact, it’s not unusual for the average consumer to see more than three hundred advertisements, of various sorts, within the first hour of waking up.
But when you receive a piece of direct mail, you’re at home, after work, with some extra time to view each letter.
Direct mail naturally gets more attention because there are fewer distractions when people see it.
9. Direct Mail Increases Brand Awareness
As I’ve shown you, direct mail is tangible, meaning it has the potential to stick around for a long time in someone’s house.
For this reason, consistent mailing increases awareness of your brand.
Only 46% of American adults over the age of 65 use Facebook. And while that number is on the rise, that still means over half of older adults can’t be targeted on the larges social media platform in the world.
Conversely, direct mail reaches everyone, the young, and the old alike. Everyone checks the mail, and because of that, your postcards and coupons can turn just about anyone into a customer.
11. Direct Mail is Creative
When it comes to direct mail and creativity, the sky’s the limit.
Because direct mail is a physical product, sending stuff that stands out is just a matter of having fun with it.
This example from ADT is a bit controversial in its execution. But it’s a great example of creative direct-mail marketing in action.
Here’s how it works.
A letter-sized card slides under the door to the house of the receiver. But the letter is carefully engineered to pop-up into a box once it’s under the door.
On the box, it reads, “Breaking into your apartment is easier than you think.”
When someone sees it, they might immediately think, “What the… Did someone break into my house?!”
ADT highlighted a problem in action. What’s a good solution? Get an ADT security system.
On the less controversial side of things, a gym in Brazil struggled with members quitting because they didn’t see immediate results from their workouts.
As a reminder that getting results takes consistent time in the gym, they sent out calendars to their members that illustrated the gradual progress they’d see if they stuck with the program.
Coming up with flashy ideas is not easy. If you’re not naturally creative, then talk with someone who is.
If a security-system brand and a gym can come up with interesting direct-mail pieces, the chances are that you can too.
It might just take a little extra thought.
12. Direct Mail is Multi-Sensory
With digital marketing, it’s impossible to hit all of the senses and difficult to hit more than two.
The five senses are touch, hearing, sight, taste, and smell.
At most, a digital campaign can only focus on sight and hearing. By making a digital ad interactive, some smart marketers can appeal to someone’s sense of touch. But even that experience is not the same.
By making a digital ad interactive, some smart marketers can appeal to someone’s sense of touch. But even that experience is not the same.
Everyone experiences the world through their senses. Direct mail can take advantage of all 5 of them.
George Patterson Y&R Melbourne sent out a cardboard box with two knobs on it and a baggy of electronic components. It included everything necessary to build an FM radio.
Everything, except for one thing: instructions.
The mail piece went out to college engineering students.
When they put together the radio, an ad played, offering the student a fast track to an exciting military career.
Talk about multi-sensory. This cardboard radio took advantage of three senses, and some might argue 4 with the smell of cardboard.