Posted 25 July 2013

How Direct Mail still competes in a digital world

How Direct Mail still competes in a digital world

In a digital world, there are occasionally statistics about traditional marketing that make those that would be lost without their laptop saying ‘Really?’  The majority of these are usually in conjunction with direct mail; often considered extinct by digital marketers. You might be surprised to know that in 2012 the average response rate for direct mail was 4.4% for both B2B and B2C mailings, well past electronic mail’s response rate of just 0.12%. On top of this, according to the Direct Mail Association Factbook for 2013, 65% of consumers of all ages have made a purchase as a result of direct mail, and furthermore the average cost per lead is lower than digital channels including PPC. It appears that direct mail is in no way dead; you just need to think creatively for a way in which you can incorporate it into your overall marketing plan.

cost per lead comparison

The most successful DM campaigns are those which provide the recipient with a number of response options. You will have spent time and money on your website so the obvious place to start is to include your website address prominently in the design.  44% of consumers said that they respond to direct mail by going directly to the brand’s website to find out more, rather than the 34% that would use a search engine to search for the company. Therefore, to increase the chance of someone following up a piece of direct mail with a website visit, include your website address to trigger that visit.


QR codes are another way of prompting a website visit  and the use of them is on the rise as QR code scans grew by 400% between June 2011 and June 2012.  This is in part because of the dramatic increase in the number of people with smartphones.  Using a QR code gives you the ability to direct a customer to the webpage within your website which has content relevant to the DM piece.  QR codes no longer have to be plain monochrome and can make up part of the design of the leaflet or flyer, creating a modern design and showing you are at the forefront of technology.QRcode2

Direct traffic and QR code scans can both be tracked using web analytics.  With your website address you will not only be able to track and estimate any increases in direct traffic after a direct mail marketing campaign, but a QR code can have a unique URL which means that you can track the exact amount of traffic a particular direct mail campaign creates and whether they progress to an online sale.  To monitor responses by phone you can get a truly holistic picture of the success of a campaign by adding call tracking analytics. By using call tracking integrated with web analytics you can measure the number of phone sales that were made as a result of a website visit triggered by a QR scan.

Don’t forget one of the main advantages of direct mail though.  There are still 7.1 million adults in the UK that have never used the internet, and whilst that might sound low at only 14% of the population, that’s still a lot of people you will never reach without including a faithful old marketing tool; a phone number. You can use call tracking technology in a different way here; by allocating a unique tracked phone number to the direct mail marketing campaign and measuring the number of inbound phone leads and sales it generates.

There’s nothing to say you can’t get the best of both worlds by using some creativity with your direct mail.  By incorporating a way for everyone to contact you in one direct mail design you can give everyone – whether they are online or not – the opportunity to find out more about your products, services and business.

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