Direct Mailing: why it still works well in 2020.

We have heard it many times: print is dead! The opportunities in the digital scene are rapidly taking over print media. But is that correct? If you know that the average office worker receives about 121 mails a day and a family receives an average of 8 letters in the mailbox every day: where do you think most attention goes to?  You can just do the math.

We are no longer overwhelmed by advertising in our mailboxes like in the past. Most companies now spam you with e-mailings, not only because they are 3 times cheaper than a direct mailing, but also because they can be sent to a much wider audience. Still, the emotional impact of a printed mailing is much bigger than a virtual message. Take, for example, a customer who has a birthday soon. What do you think the person will remember the most? An e-mail with the message that they get a discount for their birthday or a nice postcard in their mailbox to wish them happy birthday with a nice discount code?

A postcard for digital detox

Today we spend most of our time online. Because of the enormous amount of online content, we have trouble understanding what to believe or not to believe. Today’s millennials are looking for a digital detox, an escape of the online world. And what better way to do this than by finding a good old postcard in the mailbox to invite you for an upcoming event. Think of the enormous success sending free postcards to your family and friends during the lockdown. This message goes straight to your customers, you have their undivided attention and are not multi-tasking when reading it.  That’s why you should add something personal such as a handwritten letter or a signature to bring out that nostalgia of the past! A direct mailing in your mailbox inspires confidence and, unlike digital, it still has a certain amount of authority.

Direct mail, how to get started?

Before you start it is very important that you know what the purpose of your direct mail is. Would you like to address new customers or would you rather build an emotional bond with your existing customers? Do you have a limited marketing budget? If so, choose for your existing customers and strengthen their brand loyalty with a one-off discount offer, a thank you card, a reminder for an appointment or upcoming event, … With a larger marketing budget you can also appeal to potential customers with a direct mailing campaign and send them to your website or shop. For example, send them a card to test drive your latest car and give them the address of their nearest dealer. If you want to make the ROI of your direct mailing as positive as possible, you need to select your prospects very precisely. A good database is crucial for the failure or success of a good campaign, but also turns out to be the most difficult hurdle to take. Need help compiling a good database? Reach out to Bisnode, Bpost, Targetsearch, … and let them give you a hand.

Research by Bpost showed that approximately 78% of all direct mailings are opened and viewed for about 1 minute 52 seconds. That’s the time you have to keep the customer interested. If you compare this with the 8-second rule for e-mails, you have a lot more time communicate your message than with a direct mail. Moreover, a direct mail will often be read by several people in the family, while an email stays in 1 mailbox. The content of the direct mailing can therefore be very diverse. But NEVER forget to add some kind of next step or call to action. Even if it is a url to your own website, a discount code, an address to the nearest shop,… you should always encourage your customer to take action.

The line between online & offline is fading.

Customers now have increasingly higher expectations of brands and companies. Spreading your message only offline or online is no longer enough. You have to try and build a bridge between online and paper. Look closely at your customer journey, the degree of loyalty and history of your customers, and see where there are important moments when you want to reach your customer and choose whether you want to do it online or offline. Take, for example, a consumer who has already bought 2 products from a certain range. Send him a direct mail with a promotion on a third product from the range. If he hasn’t made a purchase after 2 weeks, you can follow this up with an e-mailing to remind him of that promotion.

In short, print is definitely not dead. It remains one of the strongest forms of communication to address your customers. However, it is important to have a quality database that is constantly updated, and to follow up on your action after your direct mailing. Send them an e-mail, make a call to book an appointment or reach them through social media, … Before you know it you’re all set for an omni-channel approach for your customer!

Written by Charlotte Arts – Junior Marketing Consultant


  • VRT nieuws 2018 – de tanende brievenpost en boomende pakjespost in cijfers
  • Expandedramblings – email statistics
  • Bpost media – 4 keer smart use of data in direct mail

Do you need help defining your direct marketing strategy ?