Covid-19: The Business Benefits of Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is helping businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic by combating the “online fatigue” linked to digital marketing – this term describes how people feel when they are continually bombarded with digital messages and marketing material.

Reports suggest that as we’re spending more time at home on the computer, the amount of digital marketing arriving via email and other online means is causing people to skim through it without taking much notice.


© zoff /

Direct mail marketing can improve your business profile.

In the case of online marketing, it’s easy to skim past it when we’re faced with a full inbox. In fact, it may even end up dropping into the spam folder if the sender isn’t on your “safe sender” list, or if there’s so much from one business that your security protection views it as junk mail. Online marketing can be ignored unless it’s something you’re waiting for, or it particularly catches your eye.

Direct mail marketing can be seen more frequently when it is lying around the house. The glossy leaflet on your coffee table is something you may pick up and read when having your morning beverage. Something about it might stick in your mind and you’ll want to find out more.


Why is your marketing campaign so important?

The coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt our daily life and sadly, with regional lockdowns on the increase as a result of a rise in cases, it looks like it isn’t going away any time soon. Consumer priorities have changed, and they expect brands to deliver all their expectations.

When life is tough, people want businesses to make it a little easier by providing a great service, despite the challenges. Studies show 64% of UK consumers say how well a company responds to the coronavirus crisis will have a big impact on whether they will purchase from them in future.

A massive 88% of consumers want companies to provide clear details on how they can access their products and services, while 61% say simply hearing from a company during these difficult times is “comforting”. This need for clarity, coupled with “online fatigue”, brings additional opportunities for print marketing.


Has the demand for direct mail grown?

Studies show a new resurgence of direct mail in 2020. The Direct Marketing Association’s analysis of direct mail v email shows that direct mail marketing has an average 4.4% response rate, while email has a response rate of only 0.12% on average.

When brands communicate by direct mail during the current pandemic, they’re getting their message directly to customers, without the noise of digital marketing. Its personal nature can help to build a stronger relationship with your audience. It can also relate long, complex messages to customers without losing their interest, as it can create a more memorable experience than a standard email, increasing the absorption of the material.

A survey by Royal Mail into which media gave a better impression to customers saw direct mail come out on top comfortably, with 55% of respondents saying they preferred it, compared with only 25% who voted for email.

An amazing 35% more people responded to a brand’s vouchers or coupons received via direct mail, compared with those sent by email.


Can coronavirus spread through paper mail?

When the pandemic began to spread more rapidly in March 2020, people started feeling concerned about whether the virus could be passed on through the mail. Laboratory tests have been carried out into how the virus spreads and scientists have been quick to put our minds to rest.

Alan Koff, chief fellow of Yale School of Medicine’s infectious diseases programme, says the conditions mail goes through make it more difficult for the virus to survive. The temperature and the length of time the mail is in transit have an impact on the survival of the bacteria.

The World Health Organisation says the likelihood of an infected person contaminating posted goods is very low, as is the risk of catching the virus from any package that has travelled and been exposed to different conditions and temperatures.


Does direct mail marketing work for existing and new customers?

Direct marketing is a good way to generate sales from both existing and new customers. Decide what you wish to achieve with both types of consumer and follow a marketing plan.

For example, with existing customers, your aim could be to introduce new products, boost sales with a special offer, build up loyalty and keep customers informed. In the case of new prospects, your aim could be to test the market, generate interest and make sales.

By the time you’ve planned, implemented and followed up a mailshot, labour may be your biggest expense. A targeted and personalised mailshot to your customers, making them a good offer, normally gets a high response and conversion rate, so you need the resources to deal quickly with incoming orders.

The quality of your database is the most important element in achieving a good response rate.

For these reasons, many businesses choose to use external services, such as a mailing house, letting someone else deal with the time-consuming task of organising your direct mail marketing and leaving you more time to run your business.


Which industries is direct mailing used in?

While just about every industry can make use of the benefits of direct mailing, some sectors use it more than others. According to research, there are a number of industries that rely more heavily on direct mail marketing to grab consumer interest and boost sales.

Estate agents use direct mail to send postcards or letters to homes in areas that match buyers’ requirements. Sending a mailing shot to communities of apartment-dwellers is a great way of grabbing the interest of first-time buyers.

Car dealerships run successful direct mail marketing campaigns by mailing postcards or leaflets to potential customers, based on their geographical location. Many feature promotional vehicle prices to attract buyers to the lot.

Charities use direct mailing to get back in touch with previous donors, find new supporters and recruit volunteers. They often have limited staff, so reaching out to ask for volunteers or donations via leaflets is one of the quickest ways of doing so.

Other sectors that rely on direct mailing include marketing and advertising agencies, solar energy companies, restaurants and fast food takeaways, service providers such as gardeners, roofers and removal companies, and many more.


What does the future hold for direct mail marketing?

Considering the ongoing popularity of direct mail marketing and the boom it’s currently experiencing, the future looks bright. Analysts believe marketers will use more behavioural data from other channels to target and deliver direct mail.

Integrating multiple other channels is the key to its future success. It involves even better targeting, increased personalisation and the right timing.

According to research, 74% of adults read mail every day, spending an average of 22 minutes doing so. This is 50% more time than the average person spends reading magazines each day. In a digital world where people tend to be online, flitting from screen to screen, this is an attractive proposition for businesses and marketers.