Direct marketing is a form of advertising where communication from a business is used to motivate action from a consumer. At the most basic level, this desired action could be to make a purchase, but it doesn’t need to be. Visiting a website or ordering an information packet are other examples of the desired action. In today’s electronic age, it may make sense to use email as the way to deliver your business’s message. It is, after all, much faster and more widely-used than traditional “snail mail”. However, direct mail marketing still retains several important advantages over email that must be considered.
A Mailbox is Not an Inbox
Consider how many emails the average person receives each day. Then consider how many emails they are able, or willing, to read. If you use email in your direct marketing strategy, your message risks languishing at the bottom of a long list of unread messages before being looked at—if it isn’t deleted outright.
Compare this to how people treat their physical mailboxes. According to the U.S. Postal Service, 98% of people check their mail daily. Furthermore, 77% of people will sort through their mail as soon as they get it. This suggests that your message has an immediate opportunity to be received—an opportunity that may not be granted through the use of email. Even better, your audience must look at your direct mail message as they sort through their mail. There is no “delete all” function in a mailbox.
A Personal Interaction
Short of taking up door-to-door sales techniques, direct mail marketing is the best way to have a personal interaction between your message and your customer. Consider what people do while at their computers. Chances are—they are in the middle of multitasking when they check their email. This means that any message you have is competing with videos, games, social media, or other emails for attention. You could be making the best sales pitch in history—but it may fall flat if your target has their attention split between email and Netflix.
Conversely, direct mail marketing materials are received and read with fewer distractions. This enables a more personal touch that places your message directly in front of the consumer. With direct mail, you are not a voice shouting out from a crowd. You are sharing the table with your target customer and distributing your message in a calm, confident manner.
Even if your email manages to avoid a spam filter, you may have a problem establishing enough trust with your customer to make them open it. Electronic security is a significant concern and scams and phishing schemes are commonplace. Any unsolicited email is going to be viewed suspiciously and your only tools to convince the consumer to read are a headline and subject.
Direct mail marketing does not have these hurdles. A consumer can look at your message without security worries. They can consider your offers without fear of being hacked or hit by malware. The trustworthiness and credibility of direct mail is simply higher than that of email, and this will have a large impact in how many people are willing to read what you have to say.
Direct mail can be given more variety than a bland email. You can style flyers and letters with fonts, envelopes and shapes to create eye-catching messages that pique consumer curiosity. Furthermore, you can include free gifts in direct mail that are just not possible in email. Pens, stickers, buttons, coasters, and key chains are all examples of branded trinkets that can spur consumer interest. With an email all you can really offer is a coupon code, which usually requires the customer to click on a link in an unsolicited email. As mentioned above, this triggers certain trust concerns that are hard to get around.
APS Fulfillment, Inc. offers a wide variety of services in direct marketing and mailing to our clients. We can provide accurate and cost-effective solutions that suit your entire product fulfillment and direct marketing needs.