Direct Mail vs Digital Marketing: What Data Shows Works Best

By Grace Dille on September 19, 2019

If you’re wondering which channels are more effective when it comes to direct mail vs digital marketing, you’re not alone. 

Direct mail used to be difficult: hard to find quality items, package them on your own, bring to the post office to ship, and measure the ROI on physical items. Email seemed to solve the headache of reaching out through direct mail. 

That’s now changed thanks to the rise of sending platforms. Now sending direct mail can be as easy as sending an email; you simply click to ship. Sending platforms take the burden of storing, sourcing, packaging, and tracking items off of your shoulders. Even better, you can now measure the ROI on your physical items.

Our digital lives—and the lives of our buyers—have become very crowded. People are overwhelmed by digital noise, meaning digital marketing tactics aren’t as effective as they used to be. Direct mail is a channel that allows you to rise above the digital noise. It’s a way for your brand to get out of their inbox and onto their desk. 

Sure, sending emails may seem easier and less expensive than direct mail, but it generates a much lower response rate. Not to mention that emails are likely to get caught in a spam folder or deleted before ever being opened. Direct mail allows you to get your brand noticed and delight people enough that they actually want to respond. Think about how it feels when a package arrives on your doorstep; direct mail has the ability to elicit that same effect with your audience.  

If you’re still not convinced, here are some direct mail vs. digital marketing statistics to consider…   

Direct Mail vs Digital Marketing Statistics

Direct Mail

  • Campaigns including direct mail are 27% more likely to deliver top-ranking sales performance, and 40% more likely to deliver top-ranking acquisition levels, versus campaigns without mail. 
  • 57% of people claim that receiving mail makes them feel more valued. Sending mail creates a more genuine two-way relationship between the brand and consumer. 
  • 68% of marketers say combining digital and direct mail increases website visits.
  • 94% of people say they have a positive reaction when receiving personal letters and cards.
  • Direct mail is easier to understand and more memorable than digital media. It requires 21% less cognitive effort to process and elicits a much higher brand recall.

Digital Marketing

  • On average, consumers delete 48% of the emails they receive every day in just five minutes. 
  • 78% of consumers have unsubscribed from emails because a brand was sending too many emails.
  • Reduced productivity and engagement at home and at the office are a direct result of this digital information overload we’re experiencing.
  • One third (37%) of Americans say they feel overwhelmed by email every day, 17% feel overwhelmed multiple times per day and 21% feel overwhelmed at least once per day.
  • Email users check emails 27% less than they did in 2016. 

Direct mail isn’t old school. It’s a touchpoint you need to incorporate into your marketing and sales strategies in order to see the best results. 

In the end, a great marketing strategy isn’t about choosing direct mail vs. digital marketing. It’s about incorporating both online and offline programs to create a truly omnichannel experience for our buyers and customers.

Want to learn more about how you can use direct mail for better response rates? Check out our popular eBook for 63 unique ways to use direct mail in the digital age.

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