5 Key Direct Mail Statistics And What We Can Learn From Them

Posted by Ryan Neufeld on October 18, 2018 at 9:49 AM

You’re probably familiar with that famous saying, “numbers never lie.” But you’re also probably aware of how you can make numbers tell any story that you want them to tell.

I could share with you some of the most convincing statistics about direct mail. Like how 121.2 billions pieces of mail were received in U.S. households in 2017. And that U.S. marketers invested $44.2 billion in marketing spend for direct mail during the year, which was the second highest media category. That would be great and all but you wouldn’t gain anything from it. And most likely, you wouldn’t leave this article knowing anything more than when you arrived.

So instead, here are five key direct mail statistics and what we can learn from them. Let’s try to gain an ounce of wisdom and improve what we’re doing to become better direct mail marketers.


5 direct mail statistics


56% Of Consumers Think Print Marketing Is Most Trustworthy Of All Marketing Channels. (source)

When we take a step back and consider the buyer’s journey, what is crucial for a buyer to gain before choosing and purchasing from you? Trust. It’s what guides us as consumers to pick one company over another. One service over a different service. We want to know that we can trust whoever is working on our car, our house, or our body. If you don’t trust the dentist is knowledgeable and provides high quality care, are you going to let him bring that scary drill near your mouth? No! You have developed enough trust with him that you think he is the best solution for your dental needs.

So how can you develop the trust of your recipients with your mail piece? One way would be to include social proof like testimonies or a couple of your Google reviews. Show them that others have had a quality experience with you. Sometimes, defining the product or service your selling is a good idea. If you’re selling them a “package,” explain in detail what exactly they will be receiving in that package.

73% Of Consumers Say That They Prefer Direct Mail Because They Can Read At Their Convenience. (source)

Out of the 5,000 ads that you are seeing daily, how many of them have you voluntarily chosen to view? Chances are that number is less than 1%. We're forced to view ads everywhere we go, especially on the internet. With no way of being able to avoid them, these kinds of ads irritate us and appear obnoxious. Even if it can be helpful, the right message sent in the wrong way isn't effective.

Even if it can be helpful, the right message sent in the wrong way isn't effective.

But what happens when you do have a choice of when you want to see an ad? When you take that postcard out of your mailbox and set it on the counter, you aren’t forcing yourself to look at it when you don't want to. You might leave it there until after dinner when you’re in a more relaxed mood. Then, the right message is being seen at the right time. How much more effective will your message be when it’s providing a solution to your customer’s problem, when they choose to read it?

48% Of People Retain A Direct Mail Piece For Future Reference. (source)

Most of your sales occur when your product or service provides a solution at the exact time that your customer is looking to solve their problem. But how does that work when your customer’s problem doesn’t exist at the moment. If you send an email, you can forget about it. That email is in the trash before you can blink twice. What about a postcard with an offer that doesn’t expire for a few weeks though? This might interest your customer, but this week isn’t a good time. Well, here’s the beauty of direct mail. They can put it on their fridge until it becomes applicable to what they need to accomplish.

Here’s an example of that in real life. A little over a week ago I went and had my haircut at Great Clips. Five days after, I happened to receive an EDDM postcard from them with a coupon for a discounted haircut. Now, am I going to need that at the moment? No. I usually get my haircut every five to six weeks. But, the coupon doesn’t expire for another four weeks. So I put it on my fridge and will plan on using it when it’s time to go back again. Even though I’m not ready to make a buying decision at the moment, the piece stays relevant because I can still use it when I’m ready. So in your business, how can you engage your customers when they may be between buying decisions?

36% Of People Under 30 Look Forward To Checking Their Mailboxes. (source)

I bet you’ve heard this before, “millennials don’t respond to direct mail, you have to make things as technological as possible.” You have my permission to call them a liar (in a nice way) and tell them that’s a false statement. It’s not true. 95% of people aged 18-29 say they have a positive response to receiving personal cards and letters. We can gather from these two stats that millennials in fact are a terrific demographic to target with your direct mail. But you need to strategically plan out how you’re going market toward them with it.

Understand that millennials want to know why they should buy from you and how this will benefit them. They don’t care about the latest and greatest advancements of your product. They want to know the real life application and why they use it. If you keep that in mind, you can send a piece that not only gets them excited, but also moves them toward a sale.

57% Of Respondents Said That Postcard Marketing Makes Them Feel More Valued And Creates A More Authentic Relationship. (source)

Leading a buyer on their journey from prospect to customer requires developing a relationship. Because as consumers we buy because of the company, not because of the product itself. Sure, the product has to be sufficient for our needs, but we have become invested in who the company is and how they treat us.

The more invested and valued a company makes us feel, the higher the chance we are going to buy from them again. And getting a couple Facebook ads from someone isn’t going to get it done. You have to convince your customers that you care about them (and hopefully you actually do). An easy way to convey this investment in them is by sending them a personalized mail piece.

Send them an exclusive offer with some sort of personalization. Let them know they’re not just a dollar sign to you. You’ll be amazed at how much business you get from your existing customers because they feel valued. I could get into all sorts of numbers on that but I think you’ve heard enough numbers from me today.

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Topics: Direct Mail Marketing