The future is always hard to pin down, because, if you think about it, we’re always living in someone’s future. Every moment forward in time brings a whole new future you might never have predicted. For example, when the Internet exploded twenty-five years ago or so, email seemed like this amazing new tool that was going to put the post office – and direct mail marketing out of business.
Of course, that was our future, back then; tech geeks and academics had been using email for almost twenty years by the time the rest of the world caught up. And a funny thing’s happened since then: Direct Mail has not only survived, it’s thriving, while email’s fortunes have varied. In fact, today you’re much better off using direct mail marketing than email marketing, for three basic reasons.
Email in Decline
We’ve all heard that the younger generations don’t like email. In this instant-gratification world where everything else is on-demand, email seems slow and stodgy – you send a note and then have to wait hours or days for a response? How 1990s! People prefer texting or messaging with its instant response. Email use is, in fact, shrinking every year – down nearly 60% since 2010. At the same time, direct mail use is up nearly 15% since 2004 as companies rediscover the simple truth: Physical mail that comes into people’s homes is effective.
Email is Expensive
Many people make the mistake of thinking that because email is a digital medium that more or less comes standard on every device these days, there’s no cost involved. The myth of ‘free’ email marketing is easy to disprove, though, and anyone who has actually created an email marketing campaign knows better – often gaining that knowledge very painfully.
The fact is, email is more expensive than direct mail on a per-customer basis. The Direct Marketing Association conducted studies that showed that email costs per customer acquired averages $55.24, while direct mail costs per customer acquired were $51.40. That’s a significant difference when you think about the number of customers you want to acquire from a campaign!
Direct Mail is Effective
The cliché about direct mail marketing is that people toss it all into the trash and it winds up in a landfill. But the numbers disprove that: Well-designed direct mail pieces are very effective once opened: Opened direct mail leads to an online purchase about three-fourths of the time, and inspires a visit to the website nearly half the time.
Direct Mail Boosts Email
Of course, email is still with us, and Direct Mail used in conjunction with email means your emails will get a boost of about 25% in terms of responses. That means using Direct Mail makes sense even if you’re not ready to abandon the old future.
Email may never disappear entirely, but Direct Mail continues to be the bedrock of an effective marketing campaign – don’t make the mistake of going backwards.