Direct mail marketing is the act of sending physical mail with marketing messaging directly to those you want to advertise to. In today’s digital world, physical mail might not seem like the best way to reach your customers. But it works very well, and can even be more productive than digital marketing for some audience groups. In this article, we’ll be discussing the benefits of direct mail marketing.

How Does Direct Mail Compare to Digital Marketing Tactics?

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When compared to digital marketing tactics in 2017, direct mail only had a slightly lower return on investment (ROI) than social media marketing. The ROI for direct mail was 29% while social media marketing was 30%. Additionally, paid search and online display ads had ROIs of 23% and 16% respectively, making mail more effective compared to its price.

Benefits of Using Direct Mail Marketing

There are four key benefits of direct mail marketing over digital marketing: Its ability to be interactive, creative, competitive, and memorable.


One of the best things about direct mail is that recipients can physically hold it. And once your target audience has their hands on your mail, you can incentivize them to interact with both it and your place of business. For example, your mail could work as a coupon that offers some sort of discount or free item if brought into your store. This will give the recipient a reason to keep it around (until they use it) which generates more impressions over time. And, when they do decide to use it, it may be this coupon that gave them the nudge they needed to choose your business over your competitor’s.


Direct mail can also be more creative than digital marketing campaigns. It can have multiple sides or faces, unique construction, and even be used in unique ways. This creativity is linked to the interactive nature of mail as well. Your ad can go beyond the standard copy and imagery your audience expects. For example, an art camp for kids may produce a mail ad that includes instructions on how to fold the ad into an origami creation. Or a company with eco-friendly messaging could produce a mail ad that pops up into a recyclable paper product.


The competitive nature of direct mail actually comes from its lack of competition. What this means is that because there are fewer businesses taking advantage of this advertising medium, it actually works better than others that are more saturated. For example, everyone uses online ads; and while online ads are great, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. With mail, there isn’t as much direct competition, which means your ad message will be seen by your target audience. Physical mail is also generally checked one by one because people don’t want to miss something important. This leads to your copy receiving the undivided attention of your audience.


mail marketing

The interactive, creative, and competitive nature of direct mail leads to it being a more memorable mode of advertisement than most alternatives. Receiving mail also feels more personal than an email, and especially more than other forms of digital marketing like display ads. And, although mail won’t reach as many people as digital marketing, it will actually be seen by more of them. Ad-blockers are extremely common, so that’s going to cut down on the number of people who actually see your online ads. And for people who don’t use ad-blockers, a phenomenon called “banner blindness” can simply cause their brain to block out online ads. This isn’t something that happens with mail, which helps make it more memorable.

Adding Mail to a Digital Marketing Campaign

Although direct mail and digital marketing can be viewed as competing tactics, they actually work best when used together. It’s likely that you already have a digital marketing campaign up and running. Rather than replacing that campaign with direct mail, it’s more advantageous to add mail to it. There are a few ways you can incorporate mail into digital campaigns, but the simplest and most common is to add a website URL or QR code to your mail that leads recipients to the online campaign. Visitors to your site from the mail can also be tracked separately by sending them to specific landing pages.

Direct Mail Marketing Strategy Tips

direct mail

To make your direct mail marketing strategy a success, here are four actionable tips to follow:

  1. The copy (message) of your ad is more important than the design. The design is still definitely important because it will make your ad stand out, but a flashy design doesn’t mean anything if it’s not backed up by a meaningful call to action.
  2. Proofread and edit your copy. This step is always important, but it’s even more important when that copy is being printed and sent to prospective customers and clients. You can always edit the copy of an online ad if you notice a mistake after the fact, but the same isn’t true for mail.
  3. Do a small test run of your marketing strategy before sending off your mail to your entire audience list. You may find that your ad isn’t as effective as you thought it would be, and your test audience may even give you some feedback on how to improve it. This will save you money in the long run by ensuring your messaging aligns with your audience before you print and send too many copies of the ad.
  4. Follow up with your customers and clients after the mail campaign has ended. This could be in the form of a second wave of direct mail, or it could be through digital means. For example, if your mail sent recipients to a special landing page on your site, you could remarket to visitors to that page with display ads. With this approach, you’ll know you’re targeting people who have already expressed interest in your product or service.

Mail Marketing from Safeguard Premier

Direct mail is one of the most effective marketing tactics, nearly equal with social media marketing. And the reasons it’s so effective are that it can be creative, interactive, competitive, and memorable when done right. If you’re ready to learn more about how direct mail marketing can benefit your business, contact your local Safeguard Premier representative today. We’ll help you determine the best way to use this marketing strategy to your advantage.