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Business owners and leaders always want to ensure their marketing is working and driving business. Here are questions we hear often: 

Does Direct Mail Still Work?

According to a Direct Marketing Association study, the household return on direct mail investment averages 29%. Direct mail is the second largest channel for U.S. ad spend and is valued at $44.2 billion annually. One report revealed that for every $1,676 spend on U.S. direct mail, products or services sold for about $2,095 – a 1,300% ROI. Of course, much of that ROI depends on size, type, and quantity of direct mail sent, but it demonstrates that direct mail works.

A U.S. Postal Service study reports 60% of consumers said they like getting print advertising from brands and 75% said they preferred direct mail over any other marketing channel.

Who uses direct mail?

Direct mail is appropriate and valuable for just about any industry, but the financial services industry is the heaviest user of direct mail. According to an MSP report, this includes the insurance industry ($5.8 billion), credit cards ($5 billion), mortgage and loans ($4.8 billion), banking ($1.3 billion), and investment sectors ($208 million). It works for them, and it works for you.


Can I use my own customer lists?

Yes. House lists are usually most effective - if they are clean (meaning accurate and updated). House lists yield about a 9% direct-mail response rate while prospect lists yield an average 5%. House lists typically represent customers who know about you or have done business with you in the past, so are more likely to respond if you have a good offer for them. Prospects may not know you, your brand, or your service. That unfamiliarity tempers the response rate, but proper list development narrows to most likely customer types to maximize response rates.

For comparison, email marketing has about a 0.1% response rate.

Why should I buy a customer list?

If you have no customers and no sales pipeline, you need to generate leads to begin your sales process. Customer lists that are created from your ideal customer profile can make direct mail more affordable and more effective. It speeds up lead generation so you can begin selling.

Lists can be designed to meet certain lifestyle or life-stage situations, so you don’t shotgun your message to people who don’t care, aren’t eligible, or don’t need you or want what you’re selling.


How do direct mail and email open rates compare?

The DMA Response Rate Report says 5.1% of U.S. households respond to direct mail. Information from Epsilon and business-to-business platform Biozo found that 4.4% of B2B recipients respond.

The most popular online channels are much less. Email reports a 0.1% response rate, paid search has a 0.6% rate, and social media is at 0.4%. Online display advertising is at 0.2%. Digital marketing has greater reach and numbers for less cost, but the response is significantly smaller.

An added finding is that more people are finding email ads annoying and cluttering. Sending blind email blasts can turn customers off. However, digital links to content that provides meaningful and helpful information enhances direct mail impact.


How important are graphics and design in direct mail?

As everything in life, design is very important. Eye­-catching graphics, color, type, and content all contribute to high viewing and open rates. Graphic design also speaks to your brand and how you want to be perceived by customers. You want to look good.

Olde School Marketing helps you create attention-grabbing designs from proven mailers or by using key principles that especially work for direct mail.


Should I just mail once?

The average customer must see your combined promotional messages at least seven times before they act. This has an impact on the size and focus of a direct mail campaign. For local businesses and agencies, that means focusing on a particular market area to saturate over time. This may mean fewer overall pieces delivered but more responses that come in over time, meaning more sales conversions.

A key factor is the quality of your lists. Who you mail to should be likely candidates able to buy from you. Olde School Marketing’s data services program helps you select recipient types identified by multiple factors to improve response rates. Factors include not just demographic information but key determinants such as income, homeownership, education, household size, and more.

An Olde School Marketing expert can guide you selecting your targeted audience for best results.


Why should I combine digital marketing and direct marketing?

Your customers shop very differently today, often visiting or viewing multiple media before making a buying decision. Connecting in multiple media formats increases impressions and exposure to reinforce your brand and message to build familiarity and trust.

Some campaigns are for brand awareness, which is a broad reach to attract new customers who may or may not know about you and your products and services. This is called top of funnel marketing because it’s designed to be broad and find new customers.

However, customers who may be considering your product or service or have been shopping and researching, have different needs. These “mid-funnel” people may be considering options and products so need more information. Your website should provide content to help them make that decision and build trust in you to buy from you, plus provide a way to buy right there.

Your website can also be a critical tool for that last­-mile, bottom-of-funnel customer who is ready to decide and is looking at who and where to buy.

Your campaigns should consider all these avenues so you can meet your customers where they are in their buying process. That could mean social and digital marketing that coordinates with direct mail marketing to create an easy bridge to sales. Sales and customer service teams should be trained and ready to respond however customers respond.

Are envelopes written by machine or humans?

They are written by actual humans. We employ stay-at-home moms, students, disabled veterans, and others that handwrite each individual envelope.

Can I design my own flyers?

Yes, you can. We also have a design team dedicated to ensuring your flyer uniquely portrays your brand and generates attention.

Is there a monthly minimum?

No. However, we recommend sending out at least 3,000 pieces.

Tell me more about Olde School Marketing

Olde School Marketing combines proven old-school marketing techniques with new school tactics. Learn more about us.

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