Is Direct Mail Junk Mail?

A couple of years ago we helped a roofing company reach households affected by a hail storm in Phoenix. Not only did we send the offer to a specific area that was damaged by the storm, but also we avoided certain roof types that offered no opportunity for them.

That’s right, direct mail helps build local business and solves as well as many community problems.

If you are not sure that your mail will be well received and need to revise all the right reasons for a direct mail campaign, here are some points.

We’ve asked ourselves as well: “What do recipients think of unsolicited direct mailing?” “Do they enjoy receiving it, or do they just hate it and want to get rid of mailings once and for all?”

Here’s what we’ve found from our in-house research. Practical reasons why people send mail in the first place are:

  • This type of advertising is LOCAL, so local businesses benefit the most from sending direct mail.
  • It takes only a tiny percentage of customers to respond to a direct mail ad to cover the cost of mailing.
  • Direct Mail helps reach the right people with postcards, sales letters, catalogs, and other appropriate formats.
  • It has a higher response rate than everything on the Internet put together.
  • Most of the people enjoy receiving mail and taking advantages of.

The big no-no for a direct mail campaign is that it’s negatively perceived as junk mail. If the recipients don’t recognize your brand at first glance, chances are your mailer will end up in the trash. There is a fine line between the junk mail and direct mail that drives action, and you have to put in a lot of effort to make the difference.

Direct mail postcards

All direct mail is junk mail?

For sure NOT. Only 44% of all mail received by consumers via USPS in a given year is perceived as JUNK MAIL.

The main reason your mail won’t be trashed is that it offers a good deal. Consumers love paper coupons and use them at a higher rate. 48% of adults in the US agree that they prefer print over digital coupons. Direct mail often contains discounts or vouchers, and some free samples to try.

According to the Marketing-GAP report, the most common reasons for opening and reading mail are:

  • It is personally addressed;
  • It’s from a brand the recipients know or from a local service,
  • They are interested in the product or service,
  • It can be hanged or posted on the fridge,
  • It’s a holiday, and people expect to get gift cards in the mailbox during holidays.

Do they act upon ads they received in mailboxes?

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has revealed that a large proportion of consumers who receive direct mail act on it. In its latest survey, it found that 92% of recipients that open mail are driven to online or to digital activity, 87% are influenced to make an online purchase, and 54% engage with the brand on social media.

Neil Patel in his article “How (and When) You Actually Should Use Direct Mail” wrote about actions people take after they open their mail:

  • 64% of people have visited a website because of the direct mail they received;
  • 47% of people have attended a store because of a direct-mail campaign.

See other interesting findings from one of the top influencers on the web here.

However, according to a study conducted by the New York University School of Law, roughly 44% of all “junk mail” is thrown away immediately without even being opened. Just an aspect to be aware of.

elderly people the best targets for direct mail

Are elderly people the best targets for direct mail?

Different groups of people use different technologies. But when it comes to direct mail, the generation gap doesn’t seem so big.

It’s a well-known fact that elderly people respond better to direct mail. They are more likely to check regularly their mail and less nomadic than Millennials or Gen X-ers.

Nevertheless, as a survey showed, 36% of Millennials prefer direct mail vs. 26% that like email. An explanation for this is that the younger generation is constantly bombarded with spam emails.

The USPS found that 47% of Millennials regularly check their mailboxes and spend some time going through the mail they receive. 42% of people between the ages of 25 and 34 surveyed said they read letter immediately and often find it useful.

When targeting younger individuals, many marketers take into consideration integrated tactics, direct mail in combination with QR codes and scannable coupons.

Read more about Key market trends: direct mail or email?

Even with a perfectly crafted and targeted campaign, there will still be people who will never be interested in what you have to offer. As well as people that will show no interest in your products or services until after they read the fifth or the sixth message from you.

You have to be patient, direct mail success relies on consistency – don’t give up too soon.

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