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Direct Mail Outperforms All Digital Channels Combined in 2015

The results are in, and they confirm what we’ve known all along.  Direct mail is still a highly competitive option in outreach, with some of the lowest prices and highest response rates of any marketing method.

Direct Mail Performance 2015

The 2015 Response Rate Report from the Direct Marketing Association is out and, once again, it’s the comprehensive go-to reference for vital statistics about direct mail, as well as other marketing channels.  It’s got plenty of good news for those using postal mail outreach, and even more reasons to look to direct mail as an option if you aren’t.

Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights…

Five New Statistics You Need To Know About Direct Mail Marketing

1 – Superior response rates

Overall, direct mail had a 3.7% response rate for internal lists, and a 1% response rate for mere prospects.  This vastly outperformed any electronic method of outreach by several hundred percent.  Even all electronic channels combined couldn’t reach the 1% response rate point.

The only major form of marketing with higher response rates was telephone, at 9%, but of course the pool of consumers willing to deal with telemarketers is constantly shrinking.

2 – Competitive pricing

The overall cost-per-lead for direct mail was $19 which, while not the lowest cost, was still highly competitive – especially considering the superior response rates.  The “free” email and social media options still cost $11-$15 and $16-$18 respectively.  By comparison, online ad placements could run as much as $50 per lead.

3 – Strong returns

The overall ROI on direct mail was 15-17%, putting it roughly at parity with social media.  Of course, another thing to be said for direct mail here is that there is only one postal system.  As social media continues to grow with new outlets constantly appearing, it’s going to steadily get more difficult -and more expensive- for businesses to find their audience on social networks.

4 – Less competition

Fewer than 50% of respondents reported using direct mail at all, which is good news for those of us utilizing it.  “Junk mail” became infamous in the 90s-00s as everyone was using it, leading to respondent burnout and low return rates.  With fewer fliers filling up people’s mailboxes, that’s going to make it easier for the remaining mail to stand out and grab people’s attention.

5 – Bigger OR smaller is better

In terms of form-factor, the worst-performing direct mail was the standard letter-sized envelope, which is presumably being overlooked in the mail shuffle.  Those only received 3.5% response rates.  Both oversized envelopes (5%) and postcards (4.25%) are a better value for the money, and more eye-catching.

Remember: Direct vs Digital Doesn’t Mean Either/Or 

Despite the superior response rate and value of direct mail, don’t think that means you need to abandon your digital operations.  Many of the most successful campaigns -and all the most successful tracking- involved the combination of offline and online elements into a single campaign.  You can have online-friendly direct mail, and receive the best of both worlds.

Want to know more?  Just contact One Stop Mail with any questions about how to successfully work with direct mail in the digital age.

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