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Does Direct Mail Still Work In 2020?

Direct mail may seem like a thing of the past, but that’s far from the truth.

Even in a digital age where most communication is done through the internet, direct mail has a purpose and a charm of its own.

Direct mail marketing campaigns are an effective way to stand out from the competition, connect with your audience, and build lasting customer relationships.

Maybe you had a different plan for your business when the year 2020 began. But our world, including the business world, has been turned upside down with stay-at-home policies and more businesses managing teams remotely

So in these times of crisis, is direct mail still worth investing in? Will it have the impact you expect it to have in this year of uncertainty?

In this article, we are going to explore the world of direct mail marketing and see whether it is still relevant in 2020.

Ready to dive in? Let’s go!

What is Direct Mail Marketing?

Direct mail marketing is when you send your customers or prospects any sort of physical correspondence with the purpose of them interacting with your business.

Customers may receive a postcard, a letter, a brochure, or a flyer in their post box from your company. The mail will have your company’s name, address or contact number, and a call-to-action. 

5 Reasons Why Direct Mail Still Works in 2020

Tangible forms of communication bring a sort of trust along with them. Unlike digital marketing that can be sent to a ton of people across the globe at the click of a button, direct mail requires a personal touch.

Direct mail accounts for the largest US-based channel advertising spend at $38.5 billion. The numbers prove that this form of marketing still works in times of email and other forms of online advertising.

US Local Advertising Spend: Does Direct Mail Still Work in 2020

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It is quite surprising that a large percentage of millennials trust direct marketing more than digital forms of marketing. They do it because of the tangible nature of direct marketing that is personal and targeted.

You can use direct mail to steer your customers’ online experiences and also to bring offline customers into your digital marketing streams. You can then use digital analytics to figure out whom you should target in your direct mail campaigns.

Even companies like Google still use direct mail. The digital marketing giant accounts for 87.96 percent of the global search engine market. That says a lot about how viable direct marketing is.

Here are some reasons why direct marketing works well in 2020 despite the change in the economy and other uncertainties…

Reason #1: It Is Interactive and Tangible

Direct mail is an interactive form of communication that customers can touch, feel, and experience. That is something digital marketing cannot match up to.

Whether you are sending your prospects a letter or a brochure, the fact that it is tangible makes all the difference. Customers can hold it in their hands and look at it. They can also decide to keep it with them in case they are interested in your business or offer.

For example, Jeff Eyler, an expert in film transfer, wanted to target residents who are older than 60 years old. He offered the conversion of 8mm films into DVDs that can be watched with better clarity and for many years to come.

He mailed 10,000 postcards to these residents and got 60 new leads that brought him over $4,000 in revenue.

Direct mail postcard raised over 4,000 dollars

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Reason #2: It Is Memorable

The advantage of sending direct mailers to your customers is that you can make it as personalized and memorable as you wish.

Something as simple as adding a handwritten note or a signature can instill a personal element in your mail. You could also send direct mail postcards in case you are planning an offline event for your prospects. This will ensure that your mail has undivided attention without the distraction of online ads that the internet provides.

Northern Illinois Cat Clinic, for instance, received 30-40 new clients per 5,000 postcards sent via direct mail. Postcards have a visual appeal to recipients. Your marketing message is printed boldly on the front and back, grabbing the reader’s attention.

Cat care postcard generated 30 clients per week

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Reason #3: It Is Easily Shareable And Has A Long Lifespan

Surprisingly, not everyone is online. There are thousands of potential customers you miss every day just because you assume that all your customers are online.

Since direct mail is always possibly lying around in someone’s house, you can be sure that their family or friends have seen it too. This makes it easily shareable and leads to better brand awareness.

Direct mail vs email

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Direct mail also has a longer lifespan since it doesn’t get lost in the thousands of promotional emails your prospects have left untouched in their inbox.

A 5 Star Pizza franchisee sent out folded postcard magnets that could be stuck on the fridge, thus extending its lifespan. The magnets highlighted the franchisee’s best deals and included valuable coupons. Together with other forms of direct mail, the campaign helped increase weekly sales by 12%.

postcard magnets

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Reason #4: It Is A Creative Means Of Marketing

There are tons of ways you can get creative with direct mail. There’s no point in sending out a plain and boring letter when you can do something unique and unexpected.

For example, a gym in Brazil sent out a creative calendar that showed them how consistently working out can bring them gradual results:

send customers a calendar

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Direct mail is an innovative way to reach out to your customers. Other methods like digital advertising and influencer marketing are gradually trending down due to the competition and rising prices. They could learn a thing or two from direct mail.

If you feel like you are not as innovative as you would like to be, you could choose to hire a designer to do it for you on any good freelance site. 

One of my personal favorite methods of creating direct mail is to repurpose my clients’ online materials. 

This allows you to focus less on developing new creative, and more time on executing. 

Here are a few examples of ways to repurpose that I’ve used with great success for direct mail. 

Medical Alert 

Medical Alert ranks some of the best medical alert systems out there. They’ve been trusted by companies like ABC, Yahoo, MSN, and more. 

For direct mail, all they need to do is repurpose blog content into a pamphlet and buyers guide, just like they have online:

repurposed blog content for direct mail

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Simply repurpose this existing, in-depth review content into a booklet for direct mail, and sales will skyrocket. 


Woven takes a similar route, comparing their product against competitors: 

Compare woven products vs competitors in direct mail

To capture more users, they can take this existing content and flush out key details, like:

  • Pain points of other services
  • Benefits
  • Cost and time savings by using them

Using these data points, creating a simple piece of direct mail can drive tons of traffic to a sign-up landing page.


Lastly, a great example is from Zoma Sleep. In the ecommerce space, it’s incredibly simple to repurpose your product catalog into an offline catalog. 

Zoma sleep repurposed product catalog

My strategy here is to instead focus on driving this offline catalog via direct mail into online sales.


By building a website and including a simplified landing page link directly on the direct mail with a coupon discount. 

This ensures more traffic, more sales, and high conversion rates. 

Reason #5: Works Hand-in-hand With Digital Marketing

Direct mail also pairs nicely with digital marketing. 

For starters, automated direct mail helps direct mail marketers effectively plan, manage, and launch their campaigns. It also allows for triggered direct mail options to more accurately deliver follow-up content to prospects using marketing automation software.

You can integrate triggered direct mail in your automated drip email campaigns:

Send follow up automatically

Adam Sand, a roofing company marketing expert, generated 3300% ROI by integrating direct mail with digital marketing. He combined Facebook ads, video marketing, and his email marketing software with direct mail in his campaigns.

Crest Exteriors, a roofing company in Plano, TX, partnered with a roofing marketing expert to launch a fully integrated campaign. This included direct mail postcards and Google follow-up roofing online ads.

They received 30 new roofing jobs after sending out just 20,000 of the 40,000 roofing cards they had planned.

roofing damage postcards

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Some companies are also successfully combining SEO and direct mail. For example, if you own a local business you could send customers a discount coupon or promo code in exchange for an online review or testimonial.

75% of small businesses start with their founder’s savings. You need not spend a ton of money on direct mail. But with the right strategy, you can incorporate direct mail into your digital marketing plan and see some amazing results.


Direct mail is not dead. People may feel that direct marketing could disappear in a digital world, but in reality that is not the case.

There are many reasons why direct mail works even in 2020. Direct marketing is interactive and personal. Customers get to experience your message by holding it physically in their hands.

Direct mail demands attention. In the digital world, a customer is frequently bombarded with different messages from different companies, but in direct mail, their attention is focused.

You can get creative with direct mail. Instead of just sending out letters to your customers, you can find tons of ways to make your message unique and unforgettable.

Direct mail can easily be incorporated into your digital marketing campaign. This helps you focus your efforts and obtain great results, even if your budget is limited.

Don’t be afraid to incorporate direct mail in your marketing campaign. You may be pleasantly surprised to find how well it works for your business!

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