In an annual survey conducted by Exact Target on effective media channels, the results came back rather surprising to most, but not to all. This survey is probably one of the most un-biased reports completed in recent years, especially considering that it was written by an email marketing provider. Here’s a direct quote from this report:

“Still wondering about the best channels through which to deliver your messages when you’re trying to boost your bottom line? Consumers are more likely to purchase based on messages they receive through traditional media. In this year’s study, we included direct mail, television commercials and infomercials as channels through which consumers may have been directly influenced to make a purchase.

The research shows: Direct mail has directly influenced more consumers to purchase than any other channel. 76% of consumers have been directly influenced to purchase products through direct mail. Some of the findings from this report were the statement that email is obviously very popular, but only 15% of people like to receive marketing messages via this channel! This confirms our view that email is more of a communication medium and not ideal for “Ëœpush marketing?purposes.

So you ask yourself this question? I have been sending out direct mail (postcards, catalogs, flyers, brochures) pieces for years only to see a decline in response rates. Yes, you are right. Response rates have hit all time lows in direct mail, but “why?we ask? The all holy answer is: We are too set in our “old school?ways declares Thomas Glenn, VP of Business Development for East Coast Graphics ( of New York. The idea that the more we send out, the more we will reap in rewards is not true anymore!

The truth, as stated earlier in this article, is that “direct mail?is still the MOST effective marketing channel today! But direct mail and print is changing, just like everything else we have grown accustomed to in this world. "It is more important today than ever that direct mail campaigns be integrated with multichannel online campaigns," declares Thomas Glenn.

Two Tips to Increase Direct Mail Response Rates

1: Targeting a specific audience: Targeting is the forgotten secret to really high response rates. Look to send out different messages to different audience sectors. It’s just TOO hard to create one compelling copy that suits everybody. You are better off sending out four different pieces than one “one size fits all?printed mailing piece.

2: Be creative and different: Send out pieces that catch your audience’s attention. Way too often I come home to open my mailbox only to find a sea of white #10 envelopes says Glenn. Be different think “out of the box.? Think of a good commercial you saw on TV during the Super Bowl or a great radio commercial you heard on the way to work. You would probably agree with me, that 9 times out of 10 those advertisements were imbedded in your head because they were different but clever in their own little way. This is how you and your company should be approaching your direct mail. Don’tbe afraid to be creative or different in your direct mail.

Use oversized postcards, catalogs with catchy images on the cover or an envelope with a lot of bright color to help grab people’s eyes. Make your logo and website address easily visible. Remember you want your direct mail piece to stand out from that “sea of white #10 envelopes!? Even if the intended audience does not act on that offer at that time, make your brand be remembered just like that Super Bowl commercial!

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