3 Times You Definitely Want to Use Direct Mail

With so many communication channels at a marketer’s disposal, direct mail isn’t necessarily the default choice. Digital channels tend to be less costly and easier to deploy—but that doesn’t make them the most effective or best performing choice.

There are three times, in fact, when you should make postal mail your primary means of reaching customers with offers.

1. When the Offer Promotes a Complex Product or Service
There’s a reason you receive credit card applications and offers for insurance and other financial services products in your physical mailbox. Aside from the fact offers associated with many of these products are required to include some legal disclaimers, the products and services they’re promoting are, by nature, relatively complicated and require more explanation or a signed application. (A quick “Save 20% now” won’t cut it.) What’s more, customers need a greater amount of information before deciding to take action.

All of this information “fits” a direct mail package, yes. But its paper format—delivered to a home address, no less—invites the customer to consume the information comfortably, at their own pace. And from the marketer’s point of view, the message can be more easily controlled when you have the flexibility of an introductory letter, an enclosed brochure, and perhaps a separate offer buckslip, reply device or anything else needed to tell the complete story and motivate response.

This day and age, your direct mail package will probably be part of a multi-channel campaign. That is, the offer may also be sent out via email or even social media, for example, This approach makes sense when your goal is to cast a wide net and reach customers in a variety of ways—hoping you’ll “catch” their interest at least once, preferably more times so your message can be reinforced. (Don’t miss Direct Mail and Email: Direct Response Marketing’s Power Couple.) But at the end of the day, it’s the information contained in direct mail you’re expecting your customers to sink their teeth into and take action on…even if they ultimately go online take that action.

2. When You Need to Get Through a C-Suite Gatekeeper
It’s reported that the average number of emails an office worker receives is 121 per day. What about the in-demand, decision-making, check-writing executive? They receive more. That doesn’t mean emails don’t work—in just means that you might want to take the opportunity to think “outside of the email inbox” when trying to appeal to inhabitants of the C-Suite.

Direct mail, because it’s on paper and requires manual engagement, sends a message of importance—especially in our highly digital environment, where we’re seemingly inundated with bite-sized messages non-stop. A piece of direct mail carries more weight, literally and figuratively, than the average email. It speaks in tones made especially for the executive decision-maker.

Nevertheless, and here’s the nuance: the idea here is to “think big.” And probably bigger than the average piece of postal mail, too, because postal mail can easily get lost in an office’s paperwork shuffle. Think bulky envelopes, tubes, boxes, and other odd shapes and sizes won’t get easily lost in the stack of mail—and they’re fun to open.

Even so, it’s what’s inside that counts. If your package gets into the hands of its intended recipient, make a strong case for taking action. Here’s your chance to make a compelling offer supported by relevant, easy-to-scan information that’s easy to take action on. Get more insights in 7 Ways Your B2B Marketing Offers Can Break Through to the C-Suite.

3. When Your Audience Prefers Direct Mail
Let’s not forget one of the most important criteria for selecting marketing channels: your target market’s preferences. Your product, service, or offer might not fit nicely into the “complex message” or “executive audience” boxes, anyway. You might simply be working with a market segment that wants to receive offers via direct mail for the types of offers your company promotes.

It’s really easy to make assumptions, like, “Of course we have to use direct mail to reach our 65+ customers,” or, “Young adults are always on their phones so they would never open a piece of direct mail!” The fact is, Baby Boomers have smartphones and use the internet, too. And Forbes reports that 77% of millennials pay attention to direct mail advertising and members of their generation are more likely to scan their mail, take time to read it, and show it to others.

So by all means, get to know your audience and pay attention to their behaviors. Track your campaigns, experiment with testing, and see what works, for whom, and when. This is direct marketing advice for the ages—and it makes a difference to your offer performance.

Whether or not your direct mail is supported by other communications,
these are three instances when direct mail is the best choice—yet maybe not the only choice—to delivering your offer and garnering response. Contact us to learn more. We’ve been successfully generating direct response for 26 years.