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DM Myths Debunked!

Key Takeaways:

  • Direct mail has higher response and conversion rates compared with other channels
  • Direct mail is highly trusted among consumers who are also dealing with “digital fatigue”
  • A direct mail program can be implemented easily with the right service partners

Direct mail is a successful channel for many businesses, but some marketers dismiss it based on common misconceptions. We’re setting the record straight on direct mail.

Direct mail has seen a resurgence over the last several years—and for good reasons. Digital fatigue has set in among consumers who are dealing with crowded inboxes, SPAM, and online ads. While many marketers are taking note by implementing direct mail into their omnichannel strategies, there are some who still have misconceptions about the channel.

Below we are debunking some of the most common direct mail myths. 

Direct mail is too expensive:

FALSE! The generally higher response rates and stronger conversion rates of direct mail over other channels compensate for the out-of-pocket costs needed to ramp up a direct mail pilot, leading to a higher ROI overall. And, mail is the only direct channel that scales efficiently. The prospect CPM actually goes down as your program grows due to production efficiencies.

Let’s be clear. Not every product is appropriate for the mail channel. If you are selling a one-time widget for $25, direct mail likely won’t pencil out. But, if you are selling a more expensive product, or can calculate a customer lifetime value (LTV) in the hundreds of dollars thanks to repeat/add-on sales or ongoing subscription revenues, direct mail can have a very impressive ROI. Spoiler alert: not sure if your product can afford a direct mail program? We’ve got a break-even calculator to provide insight into the potential for your situation.

Nobody reads direct mail:

FALSE! In fact, according to a recent USPS survey, the response rate of direct mail was 0.5–4.0% for 2018 prospect lists, and 76% of consumers trust direct mail when they want to make a purchase decision, far greater than digital channels. A more recent USPS survey in 2020 reported that 80% of people look forward to seeing what’s in their mailbox every day, and they spend an average of 8 minutes a day reviewing mail they’ve received.

Digital fatigue affects all age groups, and—in many cases—prospects are paying less attention to online marketing efforts. That’s not the case with direct mail—60% of millennials and 54% of Gen Xers viewed mail as more important to them in 2020 than they did three years ago. Direct mail gets read and drives response!

Direct mail programs are too hard to implement:

FALSE! Like most marketing initiatives, you’ll need to take a number of steps to launch a successful direct mail campaign, but it doesn’t need to be difficult to get your feet wet. You can do it yourself by working with a printer and a list partner for smaller tests that are limited in scope. For more significant initiatives that require testing and analysis, you can hire a full-service agency like Gunderson Direct to do the heavy lifting.

A direct mail agency can guide you every step of the way, lowering your financial exposure and risk. In fact, working with an agency can often help you save time and money by leveraging supply chain networks and large volume pricing.

Interested in trying out direct mail and adding it to your marketing mix? Then drop us a line. We’re standing by to answer any questions you might have, and most importantly, to help you get your mail opened.

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Mike Gunderson

Mike Gunderson is the founder of Gunderson Direct, Inc., a direct marketing agency that helps businesses drive new leads and close more sales through traditional offline channels, especially direct mail.

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