Is Direct Mail Dead? Not So Fast

By: Andrew Glover
May 31, 2019
Categories: ,

In a world full of digital options, many people think direct mail is a dead marketing strategy. However, a growing body of data appears to suggest otherwise. Direct mail is a very viable marketing technique that even provides better response rates than email and mobile marketing campaigns.

A current societal obsession with all things digital makes it easy to assume nobody engages with direct mail. However, direct mail can be highly customized and individualized in ways that email or social media marketing cannot. Direct mail is a viable way to reach your members, grab their attention, and connect with them on a personal level. The member experience is far greater when organizations choose a direct mail approach instead of a digital method.

What Makes Direct Mail Viable?

There are many factors that make direct mail a viable marketing option. Marketing studies for 2018 show a 9 percent response rate for house lists, and over 5 percent for prospect lists with direct mail. That’ s a notable growth over 2017, where response rates were¬† 5.1 percent to house and 2.9 percent to prospect lists. By comparison, the response rates for email and social media were just 1 percent. Online display ads were the worst, with less than a third of percent response rates.

Here are some other factors that make direct mail a better marketing solution.

Highly Economical

Direct mail marketing continues to be one of the most cost-effective marketing techniques. The return on investment is far greater with direct mail thanks to better response rates. Understanding your budget and recognizing your goals will allow you to create the best mail campaign for your organization.

Highly Targeted

Think of your marketing piece as a one-on-one communication instead of thinking with a mass mailing mentality. Focusing more on individuals and groups of people will allow your mail pieces to be better received by members. With direct mail, it’s best to be authentic, focus solely on the “why” of your campaign, and provide brief but informative bursts of information. Using normal, everyday language will also help get your message across to a targeted audience.

Highly Measurable

It’s easy to measure the success of your direct mail campaigns. There are several options you can utilize, like adding a bar code to your mailers. For example, you can include a QR code or customized URL for donors to use. You can also add barcodes to ensure successful delivery of each mail piece, allowing you to more easily identify both receipt and engagement.

Options for Individualization

Individualization is a crucial component available with direct mail options. The U.S. Postal Service states 55 percent of people are eager to read their mail. When a piece is addressed to their name, it feels like the organization is speaking directly to them. This form of individualization is not common in the online world, which is what makes direct mail a great alternative to improve your member experience.

There are even ways of sending letters in handwritten fonts. People enjoy handwritten interaction in direct mail far more than computer generated text. The message comes across as more personal, which appeals to many people.


There’s a lot of creative freedom available with direct mail. Organizations have a lot of options to choose from when they are creating their mailer. There are postcard options, newsletters, fliers, brochures, catalogs, letters, packages, and many more. The flexibility of choosing what works best for your organization and members is numerous. You don’t have to send the same style each time. You can remain flexible with each marketing approach.

Create Impactful Direct Mail with Valtim

Valtim can help your organization make direct mail a very viable option. We offer many services like printing and mailing in large quantities and personalizing each piece with the member’s name. We also have a software called MyFont, which allows letters to be sent with a handwritten message instead of using a computer generated font.

Whether you need to send a large package full of materials or a simple, straightforward postcard, Valtim can help get your message across while creating an exceptional member experience. Let Valtim help you with your next direct mail marketing project.

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