Does Direct Mail Actually Work?

I put on my sneakers, open the door and step out into the drizzle. It usually takes me 34 steps to get to my inbox. I lean against a huge oak tree and a pile of cold acorns land directly on my head. Ouch!

I pull a small metal key from my pocket and reach into the mailbox. No news there – I walk back in with a whole lot of junk mail and know exactly what goes in the trash.

As I head back inside, I remember the Direct Mail Association (DMA) Factbook releasing the results of its latest research, which states that this year 65% of consumers of all ages have purchased a product that was sent via direct mail was advertised. Furthermore, according to Direct Mail News, in 2012 the average response rate for direct mail reached 4.4% for both B2B and B2C mailings, far surpassing the email response rate of just 0.12%.


My junk mail pile is now on the kitchen table. In the interim. I can almost feel each envelope trying to impress me.

But I am not. In fact, I’m on autopilot.

There are two heaps, one is very small, the other is mountainous.

Let’s see Macy’s new catalog – zip, gone. New distance learning courses? Hmm, not this time. Another credit card offer? You must be kidding, Cardinal Bank. And so most of it goes into the mountain pile on my desk.

Aha, finally, here’s a personal post I want to keep. This is real mail.

But wait a minute, two envelopes catch my attention. In the first, I see a small child suffering from hunger. Your eyes are desperate. She needs help. And the message is clear. $19 will give this girl in African village a rabbit. Five little ducks are provided for $35. $75 will bring you a nice goat. Everything is clear. I’m interested.

Another one piqued my curiosity. It is a very unique brown envelope with a picture of a moose and a forest in the background. I tear it open and see a long letter on top of a fancy letter. The letter suggests that I should look into hunting. If I become a member, I get some free razor-sharp knives and discounts on guns. Serious?

Do these people even know that I’m not remotely interested in hunting? They probably bought the list from Western Horseman Magazine, which I got for free with my miles, or something like that.

All those beautifully printed letters and offers of cheap guns go to waste like rockets. So does direct mail actually work?

Yes, if you follow these guidelines:

1. You must know your customers. Don’t waste your money trying to buy generic lists. Your letters end up in the trash almost immediately. Talk to experienced consultants who specialize in direct mail response. Find out which database is best for your industry. If you can, start with your own list.

2. Your letter should grab attention so your customer opens it. The next step, of course, is to make sure you have a clear message and unique supporting graphics.

3. You need to test different options. Test, test, test. Mark your email with QR codes or simple numbers to ensure you can reuse your winning copy for other campaigns.

Joe Gareht, a veteran fundraising professional and owner of The Fundraising Authority website, suggests designing letters that target the three types of recipients: “the 10 second club, the skimmers, and the readers.”

Joe notes that the first group trashes your emails in 10 seconds, the second group keeps them for about half a minute, while the readers keep them for ages – 1-2 minutes! The key is to attract your reader by using the best focus areas like the first line and the PS. To capitalize on this, make sure to use bold, italic, and captions.

The last part is easy, charge a specific amount for a measurable service. Yes, the ducks work great!

What’s your trick for direct mail?

Thanks to Andrey Gidaspov | #Direct #Mail #Work

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