Wrong, Wrong, Wrong: The Biggest Myths about Direct Mail

With all the hype about social media and email marketing today, some real estate professionals have started to doubt the power of direct mail – probably because many of the companies pushing new digital marketing mediums are spreading nasty little rumors. Below, we use independent research to set the record straight about the biggest direct mail myths.

FALSE: “Direct marketing doesn’t work anymore.”

THE TRUTH: While it’s true that there has been a slight drop in the success rate of direct marketing over the past 10 years, the “response rate” generated by direct mail is still 10 to 30 times better than e-mail marketing. That means 10 to 30 times more people will take action (call, write, stop-in, tell a friend, etc.) after receiving a direct-mail marketing effort.

In fact, direct mail has the highest response rate of any direct-marketing medium, and it has also influenced more consumers to make a purchase than any other marketing medium. Think about that the next time someone tells you they have a “better” marketing idea.

FALSE: “People don’t want direct mail anymore.”

THE TRUTH: Actually, the opposite is true. Most people are so tired of staring at screens at the end of the day that they welcome direct mail. A recent study showed that “more than 64 percent of employed U.S. adults say they find printed materials easier and more comfortable to read than anything on a computer screen.”

FALSE: “People just toss direct mail in the trash today.”

THE TRUTH: It’s true, people will toss any mail that doesn’t appeal to them (just like they’ll delete or ignore any online marketing that doesn’t appeal). So … make your direct mail appealing to your target audience. When asked “What makes you open and read direct mail?” this is what consumers said:

  • It’s from a brand or company I know (55%)
  • It’s personally addressed to me (51%)
  • I’m interested in the product or service (50%)
  • I can clearly see it contains a free sample/voucher (39%)
  • It pertains to local services or events (27%)
  • It involves a competition (21%)
  • It’s delivered in interesting packaging (15%)
  • It looks fun and/or humorous (10%)
  • I like the design (6%)
  • It’s delivered in an attractive envelope (6%)
  • I like the color of the mailing (3%)
  • Other (12%)

FALSE: “Most of my customers find me online, so I don’t need direct mail.”

THE TRUTH: People may use email, Twitter and Facebook to interact with your real estate business, but the chances of them discovering you online are very, very low. A recent study of this very issue showed that the vast majority of Internet users (76 percent) “are directly influenced to buy an item or service because of a direct-mail marketing effort.”

FALSE: “I’m having success with Xpressdocs’ email marketing program, so I don’t need direct mail.”

THE TRUTH: The easiest way to improve the performance of your email marketing is to use direct mail in conjunction with it. A recent study showed that email marketing alone generated $15 in revenue per customer; but when direct mail and email were used together, sales jumped to $17 per customer.

FALSE: “Direct marketing is too expensive.”

THE TRUTH: Yes, traditional direct marketing (a letter and brochure in an envelope) can be much more expensive to produce and mail than most online marketing efforts – especially if you factor in social media marketing, which is completely free. But, to quote an overused adage: You get what you pay for. In other words, if you want the highest response rates (and who doesn’t?!), you need to use direct mail.

The response rates for non-direct mail marketing efforts are so incredibly low that you need to reach out to thousands more prospects to get the same level of response. Do you even know thousands of people who might be interested in your services?

The solution: Xpressdocs’ postcard marketing program offers a cheap alternative to expensive envelopes, brochures and letters. You get direct mail response rates, without the traditional direct mail cost. See what Xpressdocs charges.

THE BIGGEST TRUTH OF ALL: Tweeting, blogging, Facebooking and emailing all have their place in an integrated, cohesive marketing program. But you’ll have the most success if you put direct mail marketing at the center of that effort. While those other marketing mediums are super easy and super cheap, study after study has shown that they just don’t pack nearly the same punch as direct mail.

Learn more about our online and print tools to help start your personal marketing strategy, and be sure to join our Facebook Community and follow us on Twitter for real estate marketing tips.

Direct Marketing Association analysis of more than 29 billion emails, and its existing direct-mail statistics; USPS Deliver Magazine 11/20/12
U.S. Postal Service, Deliver Magazine, 8/10
Harris Interactive study; Deliver magazine, 3/10
CCB fastMAP 2008 marketing-GAP research, Delivery Magazine, 4/10
Merkle Thought Leadership Series “Driving Successful Email and Direct Mail Integration” 3/10

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