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Print to Click Part 1 – How Direct Mail Drives Prospects Online

If you want to drive website traffic and online sales, you need to think about which marketing channels are going to be the most effective. As a marketing program manager who has tried various channels over the years, I’m going to place direct mail as the leading contender. In this two-part series, we’ll first explore stats on how direct mail helps drive online purchasing behavior. Next month, we’ll follow up with direct marketing ideas to help improve your online response rates.

For now, let’s take a closer look at the facts when it comes to Direct Mail versus email marketing efforts.

While email delivers your message to the masses at great speed and a fairly low cost, the average response rate is 0.12%, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). So, if you send 10,000 emails, you can expect to get approximately 12 responses (meaning, out of all the people who may have opened your email, 12 took action). According to the DMA, direct mail response rates average 3.7%, which is about 30% higher than the email average. Mail to 10,000 customers and you could expect to get closer to 370 responses. When it comes to driving web traffic and sales, which number of potential responses is more attractive to you: 12 or 370?

What may come as even more of a surprise to direct mail skeptics is that the cost-per-acquisition for direct mail is fairly competitive to social media and email marketing. Per the DMA, direct mail is reported to be $19 per acquisition, comparable to mobile and social media at $16-$18, and email at $11-$15. It also comes in at a lower cost-per-acquisition than other online marketing tactics, such as paid search at $21-$30 and internet display at a whopping $41-$50.

The advantage direct mail has over online marketing channels is that direct mail has always been, and remains to be, the only channel where you can deliver your message right into the hands of your select target audience. With online channels, you are competing within a sea of like businesses, all fighting to get their message in front of users. Not to mention, the target-ability limitations that come with the territory! Use direct mail with postcards and you can rest assured your business and your message is delivered and seen by nearly 100% of your intended recipients.

Need more convincing? Take a look at these too-good-to-ignore facts about the impact direct mail can have on your online sales and traffic:

According to the DMA:

    1. Print advertising drives consumers to online shopping. 78% of consumers react to direct mail immediately when they receive mail from a brand that they’re interested in, 44% visit the brand’s website and 34% search online for more information about the product.
    2. Direct mail response rates outperform all digital channels by nearly 700%.
    3. 79% of consumers will act on direct mail immediately compared to only 45% who say they deal with email straightaway.
    4. Direct mail’s ROI of 15-17% is one of the highest reported and outranks those of most digital channels.

According to other industry sources:

    1. A USPS study shows that mailed catalogs have a huge influence on generating online sales. Catalog recipients purchased 28% more items and spent 28% more money than their non-catalog counterparts. The study also noted a revenue lift of 163% for websites supported by catalogs as opposed to those that were not.
    2. According to the Exact Target Channel Preference Survey, 65% of online Americans have made a product or service purchase because of direct mail they received.
    3. An Epsilon study found that over 50% of consumers prefer direct mail over email. 67% feel direct mail is more personal than the Internet, and 70% preferred mail for receiving unsolicited information from unfamiliar companies.
    4. iProspect study revealed that 40% of online purchases are influenced by an offline channel.
    5. Direct mail is proven to have an “amplifier effect” on other advertising channels, according to a Comscore Catalog Study.


Stay tuned for Print to Click Part 2 — Direct Mail Ideas to Boost Online Sales. We’ll dive into some real direct marketing tips you can start implementing today to help drive online business.

By Wendy Batara, Sr. Marketing Program Manager, Modern Postcard

Call a Direct Marketing Specialist at 800.959.8365.

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