Life moves pretty fast these days. The digital age is coming at us like a fiber optic race car, and theworld is doing its best to keep up. In this era, where information has its own superhighway, many small businesses wonder, does direct mail still work?

The answer is yes, and then some. In fact, it may work better than ever. Think of direct marketing like a red rose in a field of dandelions. Now, more than ever, print marketing stands out.

With the propagation of Google and Facebook, people are confronted with ads and emails everywhere they turn. Some even set up ad-blocking software just to escape the inundation. It can be like walking through a constant digital jungle of billboards. And that’s why print marketing is very much alive. What was initially written off as a relic, is again relevant.

Consumers see anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 ads every day. They spend 50 minutes a day on Facebook, and over 3 hours a day on mobile apps. And who knows how much of that time is spent ignoring or avoiding ads? People are overwhelmed. Digital marketing is important, yes. You must have a space in the marketplace, and we can all agree a big part of that is digital. But, to truly reach all of your potential customers, you’re wise to include direct mail in your marketing plan. It’s no longer either/or. Here’s the supporting research:

  1. It feels good to be heard.
    According to research from 2007, 43% reported feeling more valued by companies who used direct mail. The same research in 2013 revealed 57% felt this way. In 2017? That consumer sentiment rose to 70%. That’s a 62.7% increase in 10 years! Direct mail sends a message that you care. Consider getting an eCard vs. a card someone took the time to send through the mail. One feels easy (even cheap), while the other implies someone cared enough to spend time and money, on ink, paper, postage. The recipient (i.e. your customer) notices. And it makes them feel special.
  2. It’s tactile.
    Continuing the card analogy above, your customers are more likely to hang on to a piece of direct mail. How often have you heard of someone keeping a sentimental shoebox full of emails? Add a special offer that catches their attention, and appeals to their fiscal, practical side, and that marketing piece is likely going on the “save” pile. Print marketing can feature visuals like coupons, with dotted lines to cut, and stimulate the human urge for a great deal. That same offer, flashing on a screen while your potential customer is simply looking up a recipe for chicken salad, might instead stimulate the human urge to delete.
  3. Direct mail has a better response rate.
    …A 783% better response rate, to be exact. That figure continues to climb significantly. 2015 to 2016 saw a 43% increase in response rate for print vs. digital. And the difference is noteworthy. Email was found to generate a .6% response rate for customer lists and .3% for new prospects, according to the 2016 Data & Marketing Association Report. You read that right. Point six and point three percent. Direct mail, however, showed a 3% response rate for customer lists and 9% response rate for new prospects. The number of people who actually like getting emails from companies they don’t know? Probably somewhere around zero. You don’t want to annoy your potential customers, you want to market to them! We recommend using email to follow up, instead. Consistency after a customer expresses interest is viewed as thoughtful, whereas unsolicited repetition may be viewed as obnoxious.
  4. Email has experienced a 65% decrease in click-through rates.
    Consumers have started to get wise. How many people sent their routing number to that foreign gazillionaire email scam before it became a punchline? Eventually, people tire of constantly being sold to. An email’s click-through rate is determined by how many people open an email and click on content therein. That act denotes some interest (however vague or enthusiastic.) Now that email marketing blasts are commonplace (they now account for 88% of all emails received) there’s been a 65% decrease in how many people actually click through. Can you blame them? Just hope they aren’t missing out on a fortune from a Zimbabwean prince.
  5. You have the opportunity to stand out with direct mail.
    Continue to market digitally. We live in an exciting diversified marketing environment, and your potential customers are everywhere. But, don’t lose the opportunity to separate yourself from the digital herd by implementing a targeted and consistent direct mail campaign. Sending direct mail that’s relevant to their potential needs will automatically make you stand out. You can even take it a step further by personalizing each postcard with your prospect’s name, and designing colorful, evocative, and amusing campaigns that leave them looking forward to what you’re going to do next.

The hype and hubbub of digital-age dominance has inaccurately made many small businesses shy away from print marketing, but that’s to your advantage. Direct mail has once again become a land of opportunity. So stand out like the rose you are, and build the trust that direct mail does so well. Your potential customers will feel like unique flowers, too.