In today's digitised world, brands can interact with consumers in more ways than ever.
It might surprise you then, to learn, that direct mail (mail in the post) has been found to be more effective than some online methods. So, what is it about snail mail that still appeals so much to customers?
We are bombarded with online adverts, be it social networks, pop-ups or emails. Such an abundance of unsolicited information means most of it goes unopened or dismissed the minute it arrives on our screens.
Despite this, a study by affilinet found that UK small to medium-sized companies spend around 16% of their annual budgets on marketing, with social media and content marketing their default modes of communication.
To be viewed and acted upon, quality online content is key, be it written, graphic or the latest craze for video. It must be engaging enough to stand out from the mass of other content being pumped out by the second.
So, if you are to make your online marketing stand out in a crowd, it must be relevant to your demographic, providing solutions and offers that consumers need, and elicit the kind of deep connections that lead to action.
Good content requires strategic planning and even then, yours can still go unseen simply because a combination of paid advertising, Google's ever-changing algorithms and the sheer volume of competition mean it often doesn't reach your target audience.
The past decade's overwhelming preoccupation with online advertising has made postal advertising seem "unfashionable". But the irony is that a resurgence in direct mail is inevitable, partly for its ability to attract more attention than online channels are doing at the moment.
In fact, studies have shown that today direct mail drives more action than digital media. Its physical form has been proved to stimulate memory, an underlying psychological process that guides our behaviour.
Direct mail motivates action
Canada Post and leading neuro-marketing research firm True Impact Marketing partnered in a major study to quantify the relative effectiveness of direct mail versus online mail and display advertising, with an emphasis on exactly how they impact consumers' brains.
It was found that direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than online media, suggesting that it is both easier to understand and more memorable.
This was validated when participants were asked to cite the brand of an advert they had just seen, and their recall was 70% higher from a direct mail advert than from a digital ad.
Furthermore, according to a recent case study by Royal Mail MarketReach, 87% of people who buy online do so as a direct result of direct mail. So, even if you run a completely digital business, connecting with your audience using direct mail is likely to boost your sales.
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising TouchPoints 2016 report shows that 90% of customers open at least some of their mail immediately. Tangible mail we can touch is far more persuasive than digital media because it is visually processed faster while creating lasting impressions and a more authentic experience.
Direct mail was found to motivate a 20% greater response, which suggests that it gets the message across to potential customers more effectively than digital media.
Even millennials love the post
Despite being raised with smartphones and tablets in their hands, millennials dispel the myth that they'd never be interested in anything as old-world as direct mail.
Gallup has reported that 36% of people under the age of 30 look forward to checking their post boxes each day. What's more, 95% of 18 to 29-year-olds enjoy receiving personal cards and letters. Notably this generation will wield $1.4 trillion in spending power by 2020, according to a report by management consultancy experts at Accenture.
The most effective way for businesses to engage this demographic and access their phenomenal spending abilities is via direct mail.
Why use Integrated Mailing Solutions (IMS)?
IMS, which is a division of the Isle of Man Post Office, can supply a full suite of services to support your business with direct mail:
• Data processing - We can format your data to create highly personalised mail, according to your brand guidelines. Throughout this process, you can be assured that your data is secured, thanks to our ISO operating standards.
• Printing – We provide high quality output with fast turnaround times – our high-speed digital printers can print over 15,000 personalised pages per hour.
• Fulfilment – Each of our machines fulfils up to 10,000 envelopes every hour, meaning whatever the scale, we can deliver with utmost efficiency.
• Dispatch – All mail is posted first class and because of our direct access to the global mail stream, we can target specific dates or drip-feed items at a time that suits the customer, ensuring your communication has maximum impact.
• Response handling – We can help you manage your inbound customer communication – electronically or physically - by extracting data from the responses and provide them to you in your preferred format - in our highly secured environment.
• Secure storage – We have the capabilities to archive both physical and digital documents at IMS and should disaster strike at your business, we offer data backup within hours.
You can learn more about the Isle of Man Post Office's Direct Mail services here.