Do customers prefer junk mail or junk email?

Leaflet distribution, as well as door-to-door marketing were the best methods of promoting a business — but as the world becomes more digital, online methods are becoming more appealing. Which is better received by its audience?

In Looking back to a time where paper was popularly used, the Royal Mail said that 19.7 billion letters were sent in 2005. Of those, 6.17 billion were ‘direct mail’ – marketing letters from companies, addressed to the individual. By 2012, this had fallen to 13.8 billion total letters, of which 4.4 billion was direct mail. Forecasts for the future see mail dropping even further. By 2023, it’s forecasted that there’ll be 8.3 billion total letters sent, of which 3.1 billion will be direct mail.

But the question remains, how does this impact a customer? In 2013, the City of London estimated that the average UK household received approximately 650 pieces of direct mail each year. In addition to this, door drop marketing – unaddressed promotional material sent by individual distribution networks, not sent by the Royal Mail – is measured separately.

It must be made clear that postal marketing is far less popular than email marketing. We get an average of two bits of direct mail each day, but we receive an average of 121 marketing emails per day…

Last year witnessed 269 billion emails sent or received on a daily basis, with 3.7 billion users in total across the globe. And these figures are only expected to rise — by the end of 2012, we can expect over 316 billion emails to be sent each day.

How are people responding?

The CMO Council revealed that 44% of email users do not open any direct mail. This means that 56% – the majority – do.

Analysing email open rates across the country directed by different sectors, this stood at 24.88%. However, only 4.06% actually click through. When looking to find household response rates, it was at 5.1% in comparison to the low 0.6% held by emails. To put this simply: more people read and respond to direct mail than they do to emails.

More businesses are investing into digital advertisements — but customers recollection of the brand is 44%, whereas direct mail stands at 75%. Moreover, 79% of consumers act on direct mail immediately compared to only 45% of those who act on emails straightaway. Direct mail can create more of a positive image, too. When asked which campaign customers take more seriously, 63% said direct mail and 18% said email.

Sending emails or using the post?

There’s a clear difference when it comes to the number of emails sent. There are around 74 trillion emails sent per year. 13.8 billion letters are sent in the UK, making 37,808,219 a day, 12,098,630 of which are direct mail.

With 12,098,630 letters being sent on a daily basis, this might sound like a lot. That number is just 0.01% of the amount of email marketing pieces that are sent each and every day around the globe!

An overview

As the number of physical mail continues to decrease annually, direct mail as well as door drops will remain a reliable alternative to targeting consumers. Offering a higher open rate, higher response rate and higher recall rates than emails, a good direct mail or door drop campaign can put you in front of an audience and make you stand out.

People are receiving too many emails, don’t let yours get lost in their inbox.


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