E-mail is becoming less and less effective as a marketing tool

According to the latest Radicati e-mail statistics report, current daily e-mail volumes are running at over 280 billion. This is forecast to grow at over 4% per year. By 2022, we can expect over 330 billion e-mails to be sent every day.

At these sorts of levels, it’s becoming much harder to rely solely on e-mail marketing effectively to reach the average consumer. People are also becoming better at managing e-mail, and it is much harder to obtain their primary address. DMA research shows that around a third of consumers manage three or four e-mail accounts.

That’s why next generation direct mail is becoming a very effective way of getting in touch with consumers

Next generation direct mail is one of the best ways to create a powerful relationship with important segments of your audience. It helps you control their journey. You are much more likely to achieve the right marketing results by using it.

Companies that stick to e-mail will struggle to achieve similar results. They are less likely to be noticed by their audience. So they will suffer from dwindling returns on marketing ROI. In addition, people feel less valued when the approach is by e-mail. The relationships that are created are weaker.

What is next generation direct mail?

Traditional direct mail relied on sending out as many items as possible, pretty much like e-mail marketing does today. It was a game of big numbers. The idea was to send out as much as possible, as cheaply as possible.

Next generation direct mail works on a completely different model. The aim is to focus on a small part of your target audience. They are likely to convert and be a high value customer. Direct mail is sent out in small volumes. The aim is to create high quality direct mail that engages.

This type of direct mail may be lumpy mail: in other words it contains a small gift. The consumer is eager to open the item, as it is clearly not just a letter. Or the direct mail may be a multi-part piece campaign. With the right message or incentive, the recipient is left eagerly awaiting the next piece. Alternatively, the mail may rely on unusual print effects that make the communication stand out.

Clearly, next generation direct mail has a higher cost per unit. However, this cost is offset by the much higher conversion rates. According to the DMA Response Rate Report 2017, response rates can be as high as 61% if the right strategies are used. This compares to an average response rate of 5.1% for household direct mail.

How do you make next generation direct mail successful?

There are two important rules for successful direct mail. The two work best in conjunction with each other.

The first way to create a good response rate is to have a powerful call to action. Direct mail works best when:

  • you know what you want your recipient to do
  • you tell them to do it and
  • you incentivise them to do it

For example, you may offer recipients a free sample in return for them giving you more details about themselves.

In order to maximise response rates, it is important to think about the response mechanism. People like to receive direct mail, but that does not mean they wish to reply by mail. Consider creating a personalised url for them. The fact that it is personalised creates curiosity so there is a higher return rate. In addition, you find out their preferred means of communication so that you can contact the recipient in multiple ways next time.

Isn’t there an issue with GDPR?

The advent of GDPR means that it will become more challenging to send out e-mail without the right opt-ins. Buying lists will be much more complicated. E-mail marketing will become more difficult and more expensive.

In contrast, in the UK at least, the same rules will not apply to direct mail. The Information Commissioner’s Office has stated that “You won’t need consent for postal marketing but you will need consent or a basis of legitimate interest for some calls and for texts and emails.” It’s one more reason why companies should seriously consider using direct mail as part of their marketing strategy if they aren’t already doing so.

It’s time to take action

There is a fantastic opportunity for printing companies that can offer next generation direct mail. The statistics in this article will help you create a powerful case for your customers.

The first step is to promote the channel that you produce. Why not create your own campaign that shows how powerful next generation direct mail can be. You should achieve some high response rates from it!


Further information

If you are considering offering next generation direct mail, download the Direct Mail Growth Opportunity eBook to help you take the right steps in adding this service to your portfolio of services.