Email was once seen as a revolutionary business tool, enabling companies to communicate with customers and contacts instantly and cheaply. The daily deluge of electronic communications we now receive, however, means that marketing emails can easily be lost, trapped in spam filters, deleted or ignored.
The lifespan for emails today is increasingly short and many of us receive far too many of them.
But while receiving emails has become a daily chore, direct mail has slowly re-emerged as an effective means of communication.
In this blog we will take a closer look at how direct mail marketing campaigns are making a comeback, and why this means having accurate postal addresses is just as important as getting someone’s email address in modern business.
Direct mail is far more engaging and personable
Unlike scanning email subject lines and deleting them, direct mail forces recipients to engage (open the letter) and read its contents.
Direct mail is also perceived to be far more “personal” and helps to build a “one-to-one relationship with customers”, says Royal Mail, making it more memorable and more likely to get a response.
Finally, people value things they can touch – we inherently form greater connections with things that are tangible. It’s all too easy to delete an email promoting an offer, but most of us read or at least look at the letters which come through the door and keep them for longer. This point is further accentuated by findings from Royal Mail – for example, addressed advertising mail stays in the home for an average of 17 days, whereas emails are often deleted immediately after they are read.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will bring direct mail into the spotlight
Compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a major issue for every business marketing to customers in the EU. As a result of GDPR, businesses are being much more cautious about data privacy and how they manage electronic information relating to their EU-based customers to ensure it’s GDPR compliant.
For these simple reasons, the number of emails businesses send will be on the decline as they work out who they can and can’t email.
But with direct mail, however, according to the ICO you “won’t need consent for postal marketing” – and can instead use the legitimate interest route for your marketing activities. This means that rather than having to get your prospects to opt into communications, you can send direct mail to them. Should they opt out, of course, you will have to stop as their right to object is absolute, and when mailing to consumers you must ensure your addresses are always suppressed against the Mailing Preference Service register.
Direct mail is a direct line to your audience
We send roughly 281.1 billion emails a day, a figure that is estimated to increase to 333.2 billion by 2022, according to Statista, a leading online statistics, market research and business intelligence portal.
As the number of emails your prospects receive increases, it’s going to become more difficult for your emails to stand out. So instead of competing for space in your prospects’ mailboxes and vying for their attention, direct mail – physical mail – is an opportunity to reach those you want to communicate with, cutting through the noise of online marketing.
Ensuring you have up-to-date details – names and addresses – is essential for getting these benefits out of your direct marketing and widen the net of your campaign’s reach.
This is important because if you are relying on email addresses alone to get your communications in front of your prospects, you will miss out on many of them as it is becoming increasingly difficult to get emails for sole traders and partnerships in particular, where consent isrequired.
Direct mail marketing campaigns can deliver great return on investment and have less competition
Used alongside your email marketing campaign, direct mail can support your outreach and provide an additional stream for revenue generation. On average, 51% of emails are deleted within two seconds, so it’s vital that you support your email marketing with other forms of marketing to reach your prospects.
Royal Mail estimates that direct mail delivers an average of £3.22 compared to email’s £3.12 for every £1 spent. This might seem marginal, but when you consider that almost half of UK adults took action after receiving direct mail, you can be sure that it will deliver solid returns for your business.
What does all of this mean?
What it means is that it’s now more important than ever to not only have up-to-date email addresses for those you wish to market to, but also up-to-date postal addresses, names, phone numbers and other information to aid your marketing activity.
Relying on email alone – especially in a post GDPR world – to reach your prospects and engage with them will be difficult, so why not further support your activities by using direct mail marketing?
Of course, you will need to acquire high-quality data to help drive your direct mail marketing campaigns, but that’s where we can help.
At Marketscan, we know that campaigns are only as good as the data they are built on, which is why we built the Megabase.
Megabase is a unique reference database of UK businesses that provides superior market coverage, depth and quality, thanks to selective combination and enhancement of data records from five of the UK’s top data sources – Dun & Bradstreet, Thomson, Companies House, Corpdata and 118 Information.
Our database is the largest in the UK and is routinely updated to ensure you always have data you can trust. We can also blend and segment data depending on your requirements to ensure you reach your target markets.
Find out more about our business data lists.