Direct mail: does it still work?

Direct mail: does it still work?

5 minutes

Does it still pay to send DM in a digital age?

Direct mail marketing

There’s no doubt that most businesses today prioritise their digital marketing strategy above all other marketing activities. And for good reason. According to OptinMonster, the global digital population is now at over 4 billion people (suggesting over half of the entire planet is now online). With such a large number of people to reach and more and more sophisticated data segmentation tools becoming available, it’s no wonder that Social Media Today reports that global online ad spend is continuing to rise and nearly half of marketers plan to increase marketing spend on influencer outreach this year.

It’s clear we’re living in a fast-paced digital world, where we’re all more connected than ever and leading busier lives. With a fast-moving, time-poor society comes shorter attention spans and a demand for increasingly mobile content and new technology. While these are of course something to consider when you’re planning your brand’s content marketing strategy, what about more traditional advertising streams like good old direct mail marketing (DM)? Should they be ignored completely? When you’re planning an advertising campaign, is DM still worth investing in? In my opinion, it most definitely is worth it. When considered as part of the bigger picture, DM can increase your company’s reach, increase brand awareness, complement your online activity, and sometimes it can even have more cut-through than digital marketing. And it’s clear it’s an advertising stream that’s far from dead; according to the Advertising Association (2017) it’s the third largest media channel in the UK after online and TV. 

Still considering whether it’s worth it? Here’s why you should include DM as part of your marketing strategy:

Digital is saturated

The statistics vary according to where you search for them, but some sources say that people see (on average) upwards of 5,000 adverts every day. Most of that is across digital platforms, so with a lot of competition to contend with it can be incredibly difficult for your brand to get noticed online. Direct mail gives you the opportunity to cut through the noise and do something different.

Surprise and delight

Many of us communicate through digital channels on a daily basis, but when you receive mail through the post it feels more special, doesn’t it? It’s more tangible and, because it’s quite a rare sight these days, it can also make quite an impact.

Increase brand awareness

There are lots of ways you can segment and target your audience through direct mail marketing and this is essential when sending out promotions as today’s digital-savvy audience wants relevant information that can add value to their everyday lives. That said, you’re not always going to be able to convert every person no matter how well you tailor your campaigns. But direct mail can be a great way to make your brand more memorable and encourage future engagement. Just imagine someone receives your DM but isn’t quite ready to make a purchase. They’ve seen your brand and what you stand for and so when they are ready to make a purchase you’ve already made an initial impression. And you never know, they may also tell their friends and family about your brand if they think it’s relevant. The key takeout? DM can be a great way of building brand awareness and word of mouth marketing.

Return on investment

As a marketer one of your key concerns will be ROI and tracking your marketing efforts. And DM is a great channel for this. Research by Royal Mail Market Reach suggests that 92% of people are driven online as a direct response to receiving mail, 87% are influenced to make online purchases and 86% connect with a business. You can easily make each campaign trackable by creating a dedicated email address, phone number or landing page to monitor traffic and conversions. 


We work with our clients to create omni-channel marketing campaigns and have launched a number of successful DM strategies. If you’d like to find out more and discover how we can help you, get in touch with the team. 


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Hayley Clark
Hayley Clark
Hayley has over a decade of experience, starting out as a journalist before moving into digital content and strategy. She has worked with clients across a variety of sectors (from property and finance to FMCG), specialising in content marketing and helping brands find their tone of voice.
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