Why Direct Mail Remains Effective in a Digital-Focused World

Marketers today have more options than ever before to reach consumers. No longer restricted to what we now call traditional marketing (i.e., broadcast, outdoor, print, etc.), digital channels allow companies to implement an array of strategies in order to get themselves seen online. 

From emails, websites, and videos to social media, search, and content marketing, brands can pick, choose, and blend the channels that work best for their business model.

But, with a constantly expanding world of digital marketing to play with, why is direct mail still on the rise?

In the second quarter of 2022, marketers sent over 8.7 billion pieces. Combined with Q1, this brings the year’s total volume to more than 18.3 billion, up 4.66% from the equivalent period in 2021. With more than two pieces of direct mail for every person on the planet in the first six months of the year alone, direct mail must be doing something right.

Why is direct mail still effective?

Direct mail’s long history of use is backed up by its long history of getting results. Research shows that sending a physical item to market your business has benefits over other mediums, in particular online interactions. 70% of consumers state that direct mail offers a more personal interaction than online marketing.

Physical print marketing, which includes direct mail, is also found to be the most trustworthy form of marketing by 56% of customers. With the proliferation of cybercrime and online scams, people feel more comfortable with a physical object they can touch delivered by a real person.

If you compare direct mail to the closest online analog, email, people are much less likely to ignore a physical flyer in their mailbox than digital mail in their inbox. Unfortunately, marketing emails often remain unopened or end up in spam folders, and consumers quickly scroll down to find the unsubscribe link.

Unlike emails, tangible print marketing requires a response from the recipient. Checking the mail is a part of most people’s daily ritual, and 41% of Americans look forward to it each and every day. 

People never know what they will find, and 59% of respondents say they like getting mail from brands highlighting their new products. That’s a welcoming audience for a simple, low-cost outbound marketing strategy.

As we mentioned, direct mail is on the rise. According to the US Postal Service (USPS), it now makes up more than half (58%) of all the mail American households receive. That’s a lot of companies sending a lot of direct mail. 

While some people don’t like direct mail, they are likely to get a glimpse of it as they go through their mailbox. 42% say they read or scan the direct mail they receive. That period when they look over your flyer is your opportunity to win them over. Perhaps with a discount code, coupons, or an upcoming sale. Who knows, a person who is never usually susceptible to direct mail might happen to be on the lookout for precisely your products or services.

The more personal touch that comes with the tangible nature of direct mail means it provides a higher customer response rate than other marketing channels. Research shows the average response rate is around 2.7% to 4.4% for direct mail, a significant increase compared to the typical email marketing rate of 0.6%. This high response rate leads to a strong return on investment, with around $3.22 for every $1 spent.

Direct mail response rates are higher than similar digital channels, but trends show they are also increasing. The DMA reports that customer response rates to direct mail show a 43% increase compared to last year.

The benefits of direct mail

Lead generation

With excellent response rates, direct mail is a superb marketing tool to generate new leads and boost sales. Whether you want to inform customers of a new business, a rebranding, a new product, or a special deal, a single-page flyer with clear and concise messaging sent directly to them is often the best way.

Whatever messaging you choose needs to have a clear and concise Call To Action (CTA), giving customers an easy next step, even if it is a quick scan of your copy. This could be to direct consumers to your website or physical store, or it could be to offer them a unique discount code or coupon. 

Often these deals work best with exclusivity; they can only redeem it with the direct mail coupon, or under time pressure, they can only get the offer for a short time.

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Targeting the right people

Direct mail allows you to target specific people and adjust your messaging depending on multiple factors, such as location, where in the customer lifecycle they are, or their demographic. It means customers only receive relevant direct mail that suits their needs and purchasing habits.

Dedicated direct mail providers allow you to target the right people for your company. Through clever mailing lists, they can target addresses on a particular carrier route to cover a specific region. 

Next, they can refine these lists and exclude specific types of addresses, and businesses, for example. Carrier route details can then be combined with external information such as age demographic, house values, number of children, the ratio of owners to renters, etc., to target residents more likely to fit your target audience.

Repeat customers

Direct mail is not a one-and-done strategy. It is a great way to follow up with purchasers and help turn them into repeat customers. Rather than blanket sending direct mail to cold leads, you can target previous customers with specific material for them.


In general, direct mail prices are lower than equivalent outbound marketing campaigns. Therefore, you can design your flyers and build a direct mail campaign with much less overhead. This can allow you to start mass mail campaigns and reach as many people as possible or take advantage of the targeting discussed above.

With targeted direct mail, you can get your response rates even higher than the average (2.7% to 4.4%), increase ROI, and make the most from limited marketing budgets.

Traceable CTA

You may think direct marketing limits your options when it comes to gathering data and analytics. But with CTAs that include a traceable component, you can track the performance of your flyers based on who responds. This might be an online discount code, a phone number, or something else. Incorporating traceable components allows you to better understand the direct mail strategies that work for your business and improve campaigns in the future.

Building purchase intent through direct mail

When it comes down to it, the main advantage of direct mail is creating purchase intent. Statistics show that reaching people directly in their homes with physical print marketing is a great way to convince them to become customers of your business. Research shows:

88% of all purchase decisions are made ordiscussed at home, precisely where they receive direct mail.

83% of shoppers are influenced by relevant direct mail

31% used direct mail in their most recent purchase

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Click to book a demo version

Direct mail allows you to create more meaningful connections with consumers in their homes where families are together and can discuss future purchasing decisions.

Discover the power of Direct Mail with Oppizi

Oppizi delivers everything you want from direct mail in a single platform to ensure ease of use and tangible results. With Oppizi, you can choose what, where, and when your flyers are sent using our precise targeting features. Then we take care of the rest.

Sit back and track the progress in real-time using our simple dashboard. Oppizi’s technology guides your journey from printing and distribution to monitoring and future refinements. All without frustrating planning and operations or vague tracking.

Enquire today for a quote or to learn how our platform can seamlessly integrate offline marketing into your brand’s wider messaging.

Shelly Parker

Shelly Parker