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imageMarketing research shows time and again that both consumers and business buyers are aligned: They like to get mail . . . when it’s done right. But what does that mean?

Successful direct marketers have cracked the code and are motivated to deliver mail campaigns that are relevant to and welcomed by highly targeted prospects, customers and supporters.

In today’s unexpected environment that has kept many people closer to home and disconnected from their usual routines, direct mail marketing has seen a resurgence in popularity for a wide range of industries across local, regional and national markets. Many people have lightheartedly joked on social media channels that going to the mailbox has become an outing – and they’re dressing up to do it!

All fun aside, studies have compared how our brains respond differently to physical and virtual stimuli. The research revealed that engagement with a printed piece shows more brain activity than with digital views, suggesting that physical material is more “real” to us and involves more emotionally vivid memories.

Still, any single marketing channel can’t do it all. Mail teaming with digital strategies and each playing to its strengths results in a multi-channel campaign that delivers the strongest performance.

Digital tools and technologies, like personalized landing pages for response, elevate a simple print project to a can’t-miss, easy-to-respond-to piece that is well within reach of small business marketers and nonprofits. Think in terms of print and rather than print or other marketing channels.

Here are five characteristics of direct mail that make it a powerhouse, and as part of a multi-channel campaign, can help to drive more sales or donations, enhance customer relationships and deliver long-term return on your investment.


The ability to target mail by geography, interests, specific demographics and lifestyle characteristics gives personalized and relevant messaging laser-sharp focus for improved response.

If you’ve paused acquisition mailings, consider reengaging with further refinement to your mailing list. You will likely experience more attrition in your customer base during a downturn, and prospect mailings can help you regain lost business. Alternatively, no-list mailings to a defined geographic area are an affordable, fast and effective strategy for local businesses whose customer base is close by.


There are some products and services that are a natural fit for direct mail. Nonprofits, service industries and restaurants are a few. And when someone needs a longer period to research and compare their options, mail can give you an intimate space to do it.

It doesn’t mean we are going to stop shopping online. Marketers should have email in their arsenal for nurturing relationships and special promotions, recognizing that there can be suspicion about data security among customers and prospects who prefer physical mail.


Physicality may positively influence the effectiveness of the call to action. A recent study shows 42% of direct mail recipients read or scan the pieces they receive.1 Advertising mail is kept in a household for 17 days on average, meaning it offers multiple opportunities for recipients to take the desired action.2


Mail is highly adaptable to your audience and campaign objectives. With formats including postcards, letters, self-mailers and dimensional packages, mail is telling your story in print. Digital messages can sometimes look sterile. A mail piece supports long and short content, and different paper textures, inks or finishes all work to make the emotional connection that is so powerful.


A tangible printed mailer that can be set aside and picked up later or passed on is appealing in households and businesses. Yes, you can forward an email. But days or weeks later, that’s history. There are dozens of more emails right behind the one you just got.

Let us know when you’re ready to put the power of direct mail to work for you. Contact our pros can help.

Joe is passionate about helping SMBs. He’s spent the last 30+ years building the American Speedy Printing Marketing • Print • Mail – and sharing best practices and marketing trends with his customers. Through research, in-person visits and this blog, he hopes to engage with and empower local business owners and marketing professionals.

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