3 Often Untapped Direct Mail Format Advantages
Your mailing format also contributes to your success or failure. If your experience is primarily digital — creating emails or digital content — it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the subtle and not-so-subtle advantages of direct mail.
But before we look at three of the most intriguing advantages, here are four direct mail facts — from a 2016 consumer study conducted on behalf of the United States Postal Service — that may surprise you:
- 86 percent of consumers report they pick up their mail at the first opportunity. How often do people say this about their email?
- 63 percent look forward to receiving mail. How can you tap into this positive anticipation?
- 79 percent of consumers sort their mail at the first opportunity — on the same day. Keep in mind, sorting mail involves more than glancing at a FROM and SUBJECT line. The USPS study also found sorters have a strong attachment to the mail.
- The average consumer spends 8.4 minutes a day sorting and reading mail. That’s an average of about an hour a week.
Another study found that while digital ads gain attention faster, physical advertising (e.g., direct mail) holds the reader’s attention longer and elicits greater emotional involvement. This engagement ties directly to making a buying decision.
And don’t assume Millennials are uninterested and unresponsive to direct mail. Research shows that, while Millennials receive less mail overall, they spend more time sorting it and are more active consumers of what they receive.
So what can you do to encourage immediate consumer engagement with your direct mail?
Keep in mind these subtle and not-so-subtle direct mail advantages as you write and design.
Two great examples of hefty mail are the 6” x11” postcard from the International ECHO Awards, printed and gold-embossed on super-heavy card stock (think non-flexible cardboard), as well as the 4 1/4” x 6” Grand Canyon postcard printed on wood (Yup! I checked; it mails as First Class.).
This piece from Connect Hearing features a slightly heavier card stock for the inserted components
This mail piece from Discover has two different textures: a velvety coating as well as a roughly varnished coating.
These pieces from financial institutions are fairly hefty, which make them stand out in the mailbox.
All Direct Mail is 3D
I know it’s obvious, but consider the significance of your marketing message being 3D. Even the simplest postcard has length, width and thickness — not just pixels presented on a screen. Don’t take these dimensions for granted. They affect how your direct mail package is sorted, screened and perceived by the consumer. They also affect postal rates.