Is Direct Mail making a marketing comeback?

I’ve read that direct mail marketing is making a comeback. Has anyone tried it? If so, were you pleased with the results?

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Direct mail may have lost its interest among other forms of marketing like social media marketing and digital advertising, but it has not lost its effectiveness. You can’t beat putting something tangible in front of consumers in a digital world.

  1. Direct mail has a high ROI.
  2. Direct mail is becoming less common so you can stand out!
  3. Romanticism - Make your customers feel special :slight_smile:
  4. Direct mail is tangible - It sticks around
  5. Undivided attention - People don’t throw their mail away without taking a little peek at it first.
  6. Works for all ages
  7. You can get creative and build your brand awareness.

Despite the belief that direct mail is dead, it couldn’t be more alive.

Direct mail really never went away, so it’s hard to characterize as it making a comeback. That said, two recent developments have assisted with fostering a feeling of direct mail making a comeback:

(1) Many small local businesses have exhausted their inbound potential and are having to turn to outbound to drive growth. In other words, being found on Google by folks looking for you is great as long as there are enough people looking. When inbound falls short, they have to look at alternative options.

(2) Continuing the trend to eschew newsprint and broadcast as un-targeted and wasteful, they are discovering that the data-driven target marketing they were introduced to online (likely Facebook ads) can be even richer with direct mail than other online options. Especially now as Facebook and Google have eliminated many of the targeting datasets that were of great value to small local businesses.

Here’s an example from my “backyard” in Tahoe. Many small local businesses depend on connecting with the owners of vacation homes. In Tahoe, most of the homes are vacation homes, or absentee owners (red) as opposed to owner-occupied (blue). Most of these vacation homeowners live down in the San Francisco Bay area.

There’s no way for me to target these vacation homeowners online through Google or Facebook. So if I’m a landscaper, drive-way sealer, pest control, roofer, HVAC, window, home retail store, or any of the dozens of small local businesses that need to connect with these homeowners, my ability to reach them directly via online channels is poor to non-existent.

But through direct mail, I have access to these vacation homeowners primary residence in San Francisco and can send them direct mail there. So if I’m a local upscale butcher and I want to let a new vacation homeowner with a family know that they can order a turkey from me two weeks prior to Thanksgiving from me and pick it up when they roll into Tahoe, with direct mail I can do that. Online - impossible.

Factor in that there are 100s of additional targeting criteria, such as equity, net worth, age, age of home, education, children present, equity…and on and on, today you can get highly targeted. That means the cost of a direct mail campaign is a lot less and the ROI much higher. Yes, total mail volume has decreased, but direct response mail (marketing) has maintained and is now a greater percentage of total mail.

Same location, but looking at the value of the home. Makes it real easy to target where the luxury market is.

Newsprint and broadcast have taken the brunt of the rush to online, especially as inbound local marketing options (Yelp, Google Local, etc,) have improved and proliferated.

At the same time, the costs of some content marketing strategies are delivering poor ROI. Yes, the distribution may be cheaper, but production costs (including time - which few small businesses have much of) is killing many of the content-driven growth.

So the result is that you have many small local businesses realizing that the only way they can find and connect with their best potential customers is through direct mail.

With campaigns highly targeted using data that was not available to them previously, direct mail makes more sense than ever before as a compliment to online and inbound.

David & Hailey, thanks so much for the replies!

David, the real-life scenarios are helpful in showing how direct mail can be beneficial in reaching the most people in your market with a high ROI. I’m excited to use some of this criteria in PropertyRadar to begin my direct mail journey.