Client Misconceptions about Direct Mail

Client Misconceptions about Direct Mail

Your clients may have outdated ideas about the effectiveness and value of mailed communications. Mail may seem old fashioned to them, or too expensive. The future of the US Postal Service may concern clients because of reported financial problems or they may be unclear about how to track and monitor mailed communications.

At your next client meeting, block out some time to talk about the role of mail in modern marketing strategies. Showing clients how direct mail has changed to meet the needs of today’s marketers can spur conversations leading to profitable repetitive work.

Despite an explosion in digital communication channels, most consumers still prefer receiving many types of messages through the mail. Organizations that direct all their energies towards a digital-only strategy are missing chances to connect with potential customers in an acceptable and unfiltered way.

Here are a few common misunderstandings about direct mail:

Mail is too expensive. Postage keeps going up!

Postage rate hikes are modest compared to other business expenses. The US Postal Service is limited to rate changes tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the oversight Postal Regulatory Commission must approve all justifiable annual rate increases proposed by the USPS. In recent years, postage adjustments have been 3 percent or less. In one instance, when the exigent rates expired, postage actually decreased by about 4 percent!

Mailing professionals using software like AccuZIP6 can help their customers reduce mailing costs by applying intelligent mail barcodes, presorting, and other strategies.  Improved targeting and personalization techniques make it possible to generate acceptable returns from smaller mailings, making them more affordable.

Email is nearly free. Why spend money on postal mail?

Precisely because of cheap costs, email marketing has gotten out of hand. Email fatigue is a real problem. In a 2016 Marketing Sherpa survey, 26 percent of respondents said they unsubscribed from email lists because they received too many emails in general. 19 percent opted out of emails from companies who sent them too many electronic messages.

If they don’t unsubscribe, consumers combat the onslaught of email by ignoring messages, setting up filters, or changing email addresses. The chances of email messages getting through to the intended recipient are small, compared to direct mail.

Properly addressed and prepared direct mail gets delivered. Unlike digital alternatives, mailers can identify prospects or customers who have moved and send their mail to their new addresses. Postal mail costs more than email, but is 6 times more effective at eliciting consumer response – partly because the postal distribution network presents no barriers to delivering mail to the intended recipients.

The Post Office is going bankrupt

The world’s largest postal delivery service has complicated finances. Headlines describing large deficits can alarm casual observers, but the government will not be disabling or privatizing the US Postal Service whose existence is authorized by the US Constitution. Were it not for an extraordinarily unique mandate to fund employee retirement accounts decades before the beneficiaries are eligible for the funds, the USPS would have posted operational profits in recent years. They continue to identify ways to reduce costs without degrading performance.

Only old people still use the mail

Many companies believe millennials spend their days looking at their phones, immersed in a digital-only world. Recent studies show those generalizations to be false.

In their Mail Moments Study, the US Postal Service notes that 87 percent of millennials say they like receiving direct mail and 64 percent would rather scan postal mail than email for useful information. 57 percent of millennials have made a purchase based on direct mail offers. Surprisingly, millennials seem to value mail slightly more than other demographic age groups!

Perhaps because they are bombarded with so much advertising, nearly half of millennials say they ignore digital ads. Only 15 percent of them ignore direct mail which comes to them in much lower volumes.

You can’t personalize direct mail

For decades, direct mail marketers printed addresses on thousands of identical letters or postcards. That has all changed. Today’s mailers create targeted, relevant, and personalized full-color pieces. Readily available data and digital printing technology make it possible to segment and customize each mailing piece according to customer demographics and buying history. Production and mailing costs for personalized direct mail are no more than the generic kind – it’s just more effective.

Mail lacks the trackability of digital communications

Since 2009 marketers have able to abandon verifying campaign deliverability by seeding mailing lists with addresses of employees or paid agents who reported back to the mailer. Now, intelligent mail barcodes added by postal preparation software like AccuZIP6 make it possible to track individual mail pieces as they travel through the postal delivery network.

Data provided from the US Postal Service tells mailers when their mail entered the system, where it is at any point in time, and when addressees receive it. Even better, a system like AccuTrace allows marketers to add QR (Quick Response) codes to direct mail pieces. When recipients scan the mailpieces with their smart phones, QR codes can direct them to websites, landing pages, or conversion forms. What’s more, with AccuTrace, marketers receive notfications in real time when prospects scan the QR codes. Mailers receive exact location information about customers while they are holding the mailpiece in their hands, allowing marketers to exploit other channels like SMS or email at opportune times.

Mail is a better bargain than most businesspeople realize. Conversations with clients about what direct mail can do for them can replace low value exchanges focused on commodity areas like paper and ink with discussions about solving client business problems. Dispel the myths clients have about mail and show them how to achieve their acquisition, retention, and customer experience goals with mail - a channel that still produces results.

Watch a short video to learn how to track mail and receive real time notifications with AccuTrace.

Kristen McKiernan is President of AccuZIP Inc. a provider of feature rich solutions to manage Contact Data Quality, Address Hygiene, USPS Postal Presorting and Compliance and Mail Tracking and Reporting. Printers rely on their AccuZIP6 software to handle any mailing projects they may encounter. Technical support and professional services teams help customers set up and run a wide variety of mailing tasks.Learn how to add AccuZIP6 to your service offerings HERE, or reach Kristen directly at [email protected].

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