3 Reasons Why Direct Mail Still Works - BNDWDTH

3 Reasons Why Direct Mail Still Works

September 20, 2018

It’s the 21st century and snail mail is a thing of the past. Right? The only thing worth investing marketing resources in are digital assets like websites, CPC ads and social media. Not so fast, my friend! (Apologies to Lee Corso) Direct mail is an integral part of any well balanced marketing plan for a communications service provider.

As the importance of digital marketing began to increase, traditional activities like sending mailers have taken a back seat. Some might even say that these old tactics are no longer effective in today’s fast-paced, online marketplace. But is that really true? Has direct mail been tossed in the trash bin of unwanted marketing practices?

While the efficiency and expediency of postal service can be debated, the fact is that mail is still being widely used to communicate. In 2017, 121.2 billion pieces of mail were received in households throughout the United States. Direct mail response rates are generally higher than their digital counterparts:

direct mail response rates

Direct mail is alive and well. This post is going to explore the top three reasons why sending mailers still works in the digital age.

1. Direct mail is cost effective.

Sending a mailer may not be the cheapest option in advertising, but it is effective based on the return on investment. When considering cost per acquisition (CPA) also known as cost per action, direct mail campaigns are very competitive. CPA is a metric that measures the aggregate cost to acquire one paying customer on a campaign level. So, total campaign cost divided by the number of conversions equals CPA.

Arguably, CPA is the most important statistic to track for marketing activities. The CPA for direct mail is $19 whereas digital campaigns fall anywhere between $11 and $50 depending on the activity. The investment in direct mail is on the lower half of the spectrum when you factor in the revenue that is generated.

2. Direct mail gets read.

Getting mail still carries a level of excitement doesn’t it? Especially when you remember eagerly waiting to for a letter or care package to show up at college! The reality is that direct mail is getting read and acted upon every day and it’s not just for older generations.

Among 18 to 24-year-olds, 69% prefer print and paper communications to reading off a screen. Surprising, right! Mail is brought in and read the day it arrives — 98% of consumers do this and 77% sort through it immediately. In addition, the majority of Americans believe that mail is more personal than the internet.

Everyone gets voluminous amounts of email and it is often easy to click the delete button without really paying attention to the content. The statistics on email response bear that out. More on that next. Throwing away physical mail takes a little more effort and usually we all take a minute to look through what has been sent to us.

3. Direct mail gets responses.

Now, this is where the bread really gets buttered! The reason any marketing tool is used is because it is supposed to work. Direct mail shines when it comes to this essential area of response rates. Mailer response rates top all other mediums. The average response rate is 1.1-1.4% compared to .03% for email, .04% for internet ads and .22% for paid search. Targeted B2B direct mail has a rate of 4.4% and that is nearly 37 times better than the .12% return of email!

Here are some additional eye-opening direct mail response statistics:

  • 79% of consumers will act on direct mail immediately, compared to only 45% who say they deal with email immediately. (source)
  • 76% of Americans have been influenced to purchase by direct mail. (source)
  • 44% of people said they had visited a brand’s website after receiving direct mail; 34% searched online. (source)
  • Between 2004 and 2014, direct mail response rates increased 14%, while email response rates dropped 57%. (source)

In Conclusion

Sending direct mail was the staple of many businesses in years past. Some companies would have had difficulty surviving without it. How cable operators, internet providers and telephone companies communicate has changed, but not enough to disregard a tried and true marketing tactic. For the foreseeable future, direct mail definitely has a place in your plan to reach customers and grow subscribers.

Sold on direct mail but don’t have the “bandwidth” to get it done? BNDWDTH can help you develop a direct mail campaign from start to finish. We’ll brainstorm ideas, design the pieces, set up the mail list and send them out. A complete done for you service that will get real results for your CSP. Questions, contact us or call 757-416-6109. We’re here to help!


About the Author


BNDWDTH is a marketing agency built for communications service providers. We help cable TV, broadband and telecom providers increase market capacity.


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