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Direct Mail Marketing

The Death of Direct Mail Marketing is Greatly Exaggerated

PDF or Direct Mail? Weighing the Considerations

Does direct mail make sense in 2018? Don’t be too quick to dismiss it. In fact, there is a case to be made for helping your company stand out through the use of strategically designed direct mail marketing. We all know how easy it is to create a sell sheet or event invitation and simply attach it to an email with a clever email headline. So how do marketers and business owners decide which to use, and when?

Recent reports have shown that direct mail achieves a 4.4% response rate, compared to 0.12 for email. When you think about increasingly crowded email inboxes, it’s no wonder. Sometimes your cleverly designed PDF never sees the light of day, and other times it’s glanced at and later forgotten. Let’s look at five factors to consider when deciding the best avenue to take.

Buying Cycle

What is the decision-making cycle for the action you are requesting? Your end-user might not be ready to buy when they receive a PDF. While an emailed attachment is often deleted, your end-user may hold on to a printed piece for three months or longer while deciding.


What is the investment for the event or commitment you are requesting? If you are asking a client to spend $15,000 for a program, you should consider sending a tangible invitation or brochure that matches the level of investment. Given the digital printing technology of today, direct mail costs are not as expensive as they used to be. Your company can stand out with a three-dimensional mailer or another customized, intriguing piece that makes people want to keep it around for a long time.

Cutting Through In-Box Clutter

As I mentioned earlier, email is widely used for everything from everyday communications, invites, marketing solicitations, updates and everything in between. When you add in smartphone messaging through texts, Instagram, Facebook, and so on, well…you get the picture. Our attention span is definitely under siege.

Now think about it, when you receive an invitation or brochure in the mail on a topic of interest to you, are you likely to hang on to it longer? Recent studies show that 77 percent of consumers sort through their physical mail as soon as they get it. Sure, some of it will get tossed. But there’s just something about handling a tangible object that creates a lasting personal impression on the recipient.


Both email and direct mail offer opportunities for personalization. Marketing automation now affords you the ability to speak directly to the customer/prospect’s needs. However, think about which will stand out more—a direct mail piece with a personalized letter or an email? There is great variety in the shapes of envelopes, mailer dimensions and other customization that can make the direct marketing piece intriguing.

Consider the Occasion

You wouldn’t wear jeans to a black-tie affair and you wouldn’t wear a tux to a barbecue. So think about what is appropriate for your program, event, service or product. If you are inviting clients/prospects to a one-time lunch program, it doesn’t make sense to send out a printed piece. The cost doesn’t make sense for the nature of the program. Email is the way to go, with either a link to a landing page or to a brief invite or sell sheet on the topic being presented. Conversely, if you are asking for someone to attend a conference event or a series of events, or if you are launching a program, direct mail can help you stand out.

There’s no question that email has changed the direct marketing industry for good. That doesn’t exclude it from being considered as making a sharp impact on your audience. In fact, used in tandem with email marketing, direct marketing can help you drive better leads by sending recipients to your webpage to learn more.

According to one study, customers spend 25 percent more when a business uses a mix of direct mail and email marketing. There is an appropriate time for each method, so when you’re considering your marketing goals, be sure to think strategically about the right mix of messaging vehicles.

Do you have questions on direct mail or other marketing topics? Please contact Alyson Kallmeyer at 440-449-6800 or email Alyson.

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