Direct Mail Marketing – Under used, but not forgotten

Is mail dead?

Last week I was having a coffee with a marketing colleague and she said to me, “Oh mail is dead.” I am always stunned when I hear these words. My reply was, “Can you name the last 3 promotional letters you received in the mail?” Her face quickly changed. immediately she could tell me the last 3 were a MyerOne shopping event invite, a Dominos voucher and a letter from the RSPCA. And this proves my point. Can you remember the last 3 promotional emails you received?

In the world of digital marketing, direct mail has become the landline telephone. You don’t use it often, but when it rings, you answer it.

I think that the reason this form of ‘traditional’ marketing is overlooked in campaign planning is because of misconceptions. The first being expense. 

Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room. The cost of producing a direct mailer can never compete with the 0.01 cent cost of sending an email. However, new technology like Quickmail Link reduces the cost of mailing to databases by keeping the design and set up in-house, whilst outsourcing the production.

Or look at direct mail from a different angle and consider the lifetime value. I receive on average 50 emails a day. So my time commitment for considering if I want those new shoes or a Viagra prescription is fairly limited. The MyerOne shopping invite however, sat on my friend’s kitchen counter for 3 weeks. You do the math.

That leads to the second misconception – effectiveness. Another pet peeve is the idea that mailing is ineffective and inflexible. In a recent study* consumers ranked personalised direct mail and unaddressed mail above email marketing, social media and display advertising when considering which channel is more effective. This could be because of mails tangibility. Physical mail is more trust worthy, can be referred back to easily and has a higher relevance to consumers.

With the power of variable data printing (or VDP), literally anything can be personalised. A study by Pitney Bowes shows that a consumer who received a personalised letter is more likely to engage with the marketing message. This could be something as simple as the customer’s name on a letter, or as complex as using data to variable print the consumer preferred colours, products and promotions.

But what about the envelope?

Are envelopes a barrier between the marketing message and the consumer, or are they another opportunity. Do you ever remember receiving an envelope informing you that your $20 million dollar cheque is enclosed inside? The fact that you do shows how effective marketing messages on envelopes can be. Now pair this with a trust worthy personalised message in full colour, and you’ve just significantly boosted your open rate.

By now you should be thinking about turning that next sales drive into a creative double parallel folded personalised self mailing masterpiece. But how do you measure the results?

Evaluating and measuring your mailing campaigns is easier than you might think. My personal favourite is to use a tagged URL. Using the free URL builder tool and your Google Analytics account you can tag and track users who enter your site via your mail piece. This is also great for marketers who don’t have access to creating neat and shortened urls like

Another simple but effective way of mail campaigns is by using an offer or discount. Create a unique code for the mailer and then any sales with that code be allocated to the mail campaign.

So when you go home tonight and unwillingly check the mail box for your next Telstra bill. Have a think about what other exciting thing could fit in there.

If you’re already mailing or just starting out, check out our hybrid mailing system, Quickmail Link. It will save your marketing budget and reduce your office supply costs.

Do you have ideas about VDP or colour envelope printing? Give us a call and we can advise of the most cost effective strategy – 08 9493 0477

*Australia Post report – Creating connections that matter: How Australians want to hear from brands. October 2013