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Direct Mail Statistics That Prove It Works

We’ve all seen the stats, consumers are glued to their screens. Whether it’s laptops (it’s increasingly not), cell phones, or tablets, people can’t get enough of their digital devices. Following that trend, businesses have been investing more and more money into digital and social media marketing as they fight for consumers attention, but are we coming to the point where direct mail isn’t necessary for growing your business? We are going to say no, but let’s take a look at some numbers to back that up.

Does Direct Mail Marketing Work? The Numbers Say Yes

When you take all of that in, it can lead you to assume that direct mail marketing is dead or at least dying a slow death. What may surprise you is that just isn’t the case. Direct mail marketing continues to be an effective form of advertising for your business in 2019. Let’s take a look at the facts.

How Much Mail is Being Sent Out?

As you may have heard, total mail volume is on the decline. In fact, according to the USPS, total mail volume has dropped by 29.85% since 2006. However, just because total mail volume has declined doesn’t mean direct mail is also in decline.

Several reasons stand out for the drop in total mail volume such as online bill pay or even more sophisticated targeting methods by marketers that result in less overall volume but more effectiveness. Also, it is important to point out that less clutter in the inbox can be a good thing for marketers as less clutter means a better chance of standing out to potential customers.

Furthermore, as of 2019, Direct mail marketing is the second most used medium, tied with Social Media. According to the ANA / DMA Response Rate Report 2018, 81% of respondents to their survey indicated that they planned to maintain or increase usage of direct mail in the next 12 months. So for all the rumors of its impending demise, all the signs continue to point to Direct Mail Marketing continuing to be a viable tool in companies advertising strategies.

The Mail is Being Sent, But is Anyone Reading It?


While total mail volume has dropped by 29.85% since 2006, Direct mail marketing has seen an increase in response rate of 173% since 2006. Currently, house lists have a response rate of 9%, which is quite a number when compared with email house lists, social media, paid search and display ads, all of which have an average response rate of 1%.

Consider the following stats:

When looking at the results of the survey, as well as the stats regarding the increase in direct mail marketing response rates, it’s very hard to come up with an argument for its demise. In fact, it’s just the opposite as the 9% response rate on house lists is the highest it’s ever been. That, in conjunction with the survey response regarding direct mail feeling more personal than the internet and more trustworthy, seems to point to direct mail marketing as a valuable marketing resource in your advertising toolbox.

How Well is Direct Mail Marketing Working in 2019?


As mentioned above, this form of consumer outreach has seen some pretty dramatic increases since 2006. In addition to house lists having a high response rate, prospect lists also have seen a staggering increase of 194% in their response rate. Both of these are the highest rates ever experienced by direct mail. These response rates are higher than any other form of advertising and show that even though this may be a digital world, direct mail may still be the best way to make a direct connection with your customers.

Going back to the ANA / DMA Response Rate Report, a letter-sized envelope sent to a house list with the intent of lead generation produced the best median response rate of 15.1%. Also according to the USPS Diary Study, Intended response rates for First Class mail is 13% and 11% for Standard mail. Both of these stats reinforce what we’ve already learned that direct mail is more trusted and more personal than it’s digital counterparts. Consider the following:

  • Direct mail tends to require 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media and elicits a much higher brand recall. To put it plainly, it’s easy to understand and more memorable.
  • Direct mail’s motivation response is 20% higher than it’s digital counterpart, meaning it’s more persuasive.
  • The tangible aspect of direct mail tends to leave “a deeper footprint in the brain” according to a study by Millward Brown and Bangor University.

Taking A More Innovative Approach to Direct Mail Marketing


With all of this talk about comparison, it’s easy to get caught up in an either/or mindset. However, the most successful companies are the ones who realize that direct mail marketing can work hand in hand with digital marketing to make a very effective advertising strategy.

Instead of choosing between the two, why not utilize both in conjunction to boost your marketing efforts? It has been shown that complementing a digital campaign with a direct mail follow-up and vice-versa can increase conversation rates by up to 28%. It’s as easy as seeing an ad on a website or on Facebook and then getting direct mail with the same branding as the ad. Seeing an ad in multiple forms gives prospective customers the impression that you are a legitimate business and your company is everywhere. This goes a long way toward building customer trust.

If you want to really innovate, try including QR codes on your direct mail that when scanned lead prospective clients to a landing page with an exclusive offer, thus bridging the gap between the real world and the digital one. Including exclusive coupon codes on postcards are also shown to be highly effective.

Direct Mail Is Still An Effective Weapon In Your Marketing Arsenal

As you can see, while overall mail volume is down, direct mail marketing response rates are up, making it an effective tool in your marketing strategy. Plus, when used in conjunction with digital marketing, you can greatly increase your conversion rates. In other words, not only is direct mail not dead, it should be an essential part of an omnichannel, integrated marketing strategy for your business.

Are you interested in starting a direct mail campaign to help grow your business? Have Action Mailing & Printing Solutions help you print your materials and send them out to the right people. Contact us today for more information!

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