How effective is direct mail?

I did an audit of the B2B marketing messages I received last week to both my work email and work postal address. I received the grand total of 198 marketing messages via email and just five pieces of direct mail (DM). So, is B2B DM dead? We would say absolutely, categorically not and in fact, it could be the hero of your next integrated campaign. This is why;


  1. Email fatigue… Yawn!

The above example, while limited to a sample of one does illustrate quite an important point. When you think about the emails you receive, and delete, how many emails do you delete without opening, or certainly without more than a passing glance. According to the DMA, B2B email open rates sit at 15.1% (consumer open rates are slightly higher at 19.7%).

These is no reference to what kind of data that’s to, as our experience shows that the warmer the data, the more likely the recipient is to click.

However, that’s still 85% of people who don’t bother to open the email. Compare that to receiving something through the post, when was the last time you threw away a piece of post without opening it? In this digital age, receiving a letter, gift or mailer though the post is more of a novelty. A study by Canada Post demonstrated that for DM, motivation response is 20% higher, even more so when it appeals to senses beyond touch.


  1. Which brings us to longevity

DM done well, and as a single, stand alone piece of communication, you could argue has a longer lifespan than anything digital. Looking around the office, I can see at least five items that were sent through the post that are still sitting on desks. Still comparing DM to email, take a look at the chart below. Its quite crude in its simplicity but illustrates the point that we don’t hold onto email in the same way. Social is of course another matter entirely. Businesses that we follow and see day in day out on our feeds, we start to build a familiarity with. But that brings me to the point of personalization


  1. Flattery will get you…through the door

The beauty of email and social is that you’re speaking directly to your prospect. So, can DM be personalised? Most definitely! We find that the DM campaigns that perform best have some level of personalization, let’s face it, we all like to think that we’re important and personalisation plays right into that.


But, while we are advocates of DM, we’re advocates of clever DM, using analytics and insight to segment audiences and deliver relevant, engaging messaging. Even better if it can form part of a multi-channel, integrated campaign, that’s where true success lies.


  1. How can a landing page help conversions?


The most successful DM campaigns don’t just rely on one channel. The B2B buying cycle is often long and complex with multiple decision makers, all with different agendas. DM can perform a vital role in lead nurture – standing out, even more so when combined with complimentary channels.


One of our most successful (and award winning!) campaigns used a personalised DM piece which linked through to a personalised URL (PURL). The PURL contained a strong CTA along with personal details we knew about that person dotted through the copy such as their company, location and job role. A really personal approach such as this demonstrates a clear understanding of the target audience and of their pain points. Just be careful not to stray into stalker territory! That campaign secured a 25% appointment setting rate though.


  1. Integration is king!


So the final point is that DM’s novelty, longevity and ability to raise awareness or prompt further action means that it holds an important place in an integrated campaign, especially in a B2B campaign.


The Canada Post report found that DM requires 21% less cognitive effort to process and elicits a much higher brand recall than digital media, so what are you waiting for!? Make sure that DM is part of your next campaign.


For more information about DM or integrated marketing get in touch with the Team at Workshop, the B2B Success Agency.


By Helen Walker