Do you remember learning about the Renaissance Period in school? The Mona Lisa, David of Michelangelo—were there frescoes, too? The period marked Europe’s transition from the Middle Ages to modernity through the 15th and 16th centuries and earned the “renaissance” title because creatives were trying to surpass old ideas and achievements of classical antiquity to establish a new sense of revival.
I always enjoyed the artistry that embodied that period and the beauty of what was created—in part, my appreciation for art is what fuels my love for the paper and print industry. So, you can trust that when I say we’re in the midst of a direct mail renaissance, I mean it.
Is Direct Mail Still Effective?
Did you know that a recent market research study found that 30% of shoppers are spending more time reading direct mail promotions than they did pre-pandemic? Let’s take it a step further—did you know that direct mail influenced as much as 83% of purchases over the last three years?
You may think that you have your marketing strategy down, but shifts in generational marketing preferences, evolving targets and advancements in data collection and technology mean that your current strategy might need an update.
Source – Triad Advertising
While there have been debates over the effectiveness of direct mail marketing—especially when compared to the shininess of newer digital marketing tools—the post-pandemic surge in direct mail effectiveness shows that it is still one of the most powerful tools in the marketing arsenal. Still, I hear your skepticism. Yes, direct mail clearly still has value, but what puts us amid a renaissance? Well, the word “Renaissance,” has two definitions- one that refers to the stylistic choices of the original Renaissance Period and another that describes the revitalization of a person, place, or thing. In this case, we’re seeing that renewed interest in direct mail…and then some.
Despite a brief decline in 2020’s second quarter, direct mail bounced back and has continued to impress businesses with its return on investment. Part of this can likely be attributed to the physical nature of the medium. Even though pandemic restrictions are mostly gone, social isolation, depression and anxiety continue to have an impact.
There’s a strong desire for real connections amongst consumers, making authenticity more relevant than ever and businesses are finding that direct mail can fill that need. According to Stackla, a cloud-based content marketing platform, 90% of customers mentioned authenticity as an important factor in deciding which brands they like and support. 83% of those polled said authenticity is very important to their brands and 61% believe that “authenticity is the most important component of impactful content.”
Direct mail isn’t only authentic, it’s effective and it’s your tool to wield—if you know how.
How to Save on Your Direct Mail Campaigns and Maximize ROI
I don’t know about you, but the first thing I do when I’m shopping around is look for a discount and I apply the same logic to business needs. Although postage rates are rising, there are resources on how to save your budget when it comes to direct mail. According to The Harris Poll Essential 100, the USPS has been the most essential organization during the pandemic—ahead of titans like Google, Walmart, UPS and Amazon. It’s due in large part to their ability to conduct business while taking care of the consumer.
If you’re considering incorporating direct mail into your marketing mix, make sure you’re aware of the ways that you can save and increase your ROI. USPS is running several promotions—some have already passed—through the remainder of the year and if your piece fits the bill, be sure to take advantage:
Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion
- Used for adding color to your marketing message on bills and statements and turning transactional mail into a work of art.
- Effective July 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022
- Discount increased from 2% to 3% over last year’s promo
- Get the requirements here
Informed Delivery Promotion
- A consumer-facing promo that provides users the opportunity to digitally preview their household mail and manage packages arriving soon; business mailers can conduct an “interactive campaign” that integrates colorful and interactive campaign elements to enhance and extend the mail moment for consumers, thus reaching their target audiences on a digital channel. You can even provide a clickable link so that people can begin purchasing immediately.
- Effective August 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022
- Once again USPS is doing its best to work for you by increasing the discount from 2% in 2021 to 4% this year.
- Get the requirements here
Mobile Shopping Promotion
- Helps to reach your customers by integrating convenient mobile technologies into your mail pieces.
- By adding mobile technology to your mail, you blend digital and physical marketing techniques and give your audience the opportunity to make a purchase then and there.
- Effective September 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022
- Get the requirements here
Whether or not you take advantage of the USPS promotions (hint: you should!), there are still ways for you to keep your costs down and make your direct mail campaign more effective. If you’re going to use your tool properly, make sure it’s ready to begin by:
- Cleaning up your mailing list to make sure you have current addresses, a willing audience and that you’ve removed defunct targets.
- Designing with postal regulations in mind so that you avoid paying extra postage. Tip: Your mail service provider can check your design before you print.
- Segmenting your list to select the right targets for your message. Sending the right offer to the right person is key to increasing your response rates.
Vanécia Carr, Senior Director of Marketing and Product Management here at Domtar, a member of Charlotte’s Top 40 under 40 list and the author of last year’s direct mail renaissance blog, stated:
“Marketing activities can no longer be siloed between digital and traditional. As we all emerge from the pandemic, businesses must anticipate how consumer behaviors have changed and how business practices should evolve.”
Right now, that evolution is taking everyone to their mailbox. Are you going to meet them there?
Visit the Paper Matters Blog for more information on marketing trends and the power of paper.