In a world dominated by digital marketing, small businesses are rediscovering the timeless charm and effectiveness of direct mail. We will explore the resurgence of direct mail campaigns, uncovering innovative strategies and success stories that prove snail mail is far from extinct. Join us on a journey into the art and science of leveraging direct mail to propel your small business to new heights in the ever-evolving landscape of marketing.

Isn’t Direct Mail Extinct?

Print ads, including direct mail, took a hit when online ads and search engines took over the world of marketing. However, direct mail, unlike phone books, has made a significant comeback. Once email boxes began getting overfilled and SPAM filters put in place, open rates dropped. Consumers became “blind” to banner ads and promoted posts that are easy to scroll right past.

COVID lockdowns drove people to their mailboxes daily, where they could find less clutter and a tangible, interactive piece of mail to engage with. Even prior to the pandemic, direct mail rates were on the rise. This was due to consumers experiencing online advertising fatigue.

Why Direct Mail Works in a Digital World

But digital overwhelm isn’t the only reason that direct mail resurrected. Direct mail is seen as more reputable than many digital forms of advertising. In fact, data shows that consumers prefer direct mail second only to events as their favorite type of marketing.

It isn’t only consumers who value direct mail, either. Many business owners became frustrated by pop-up blockers and other ways the digital space was shutting out their ads. Platform ad violations, and volatile and costly Pay-Per-Click rates made it difficult for local businesses to compete for consumer attention.

Direct mail works in a digital world because not everyone wants to be bombarded with online ads. While consumers go to the internet to purchase and research, they value the tangible, trust-worthy form of advertising that comes to their mailbox.

Direct Mail Success Stories

Direct mail has high levels of success for a number of businesses including:

Trades / Home Services. Businesses who go to a consumer’s home to provide services do very well with direct mail. Campaigns designed targeting specific service areas are great, especially if they include pictures of completed projects. These are relevant and targeted because they show the community the work that is already being done there.

Retail. Retailers have long used direct mail birthday mailers to thank customers for their patronage by recognizing their special day. Highly personalized ads (you know their name and birthday) make for engagement. Highly relevant ads (they are an existing customer who has successfully interacted with your brand) create action.

Restaurants. “What’s for dinner?” It’s a question that is asked in millions of homes every single day. Coupons and information about a restaurant drive the consumer to their new favorite local eatery.

Medical Facilities. When new homeowners move into an area, they want to know where emergency medical facilities are located. They also often need to change their care providers, including doctors, dentists, and other health professionals. New mover direct mail campaigns are a great way for medical providers to reach new residents.

The Evolution of Direct Mail

Direct mail has been shown to be one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing that produces consistent, predictable results. However, direct mail isn’t the same as it once was. One of the reasons it continues to be viable is because it has evolved.

Current technology allows direct mail to be more effective than before because of three factors: targeted lists, real time tracking and testing, and retargeting or remarketing.

Targeted lists. The more specific and relevant a business can be, the more success they will experience from their marketing. For example, being able to target a specific zip code with homes built in a certain time, is helpful for a painter or roofer. They will have a higher ROI by hitting a pain point for those homeowners whose homes are aging. Or, an Urgent Care facility may target only new residents in their community. Using a targeted list ensures the newest residents are aware of where to go in case of an emergency.

Real time tracking and testing. Technology also allows businesses to know when mail pieces hit mailboxes. Tracking built into the mailers helps the small business know how the consumer acted. Testing of different mailer types, call to actions, or even the type of action, can be tracked. This allows businesses to adjust and fine tune their strategy.

Retargeting / remarketing. Remarketing allows business owners to create multiple touchpoints for consumers who have shown interest in a product or service. If a customer interacts online with a business, a direct mail piece can be sent to keep them engaged. Likewise, a direct mail campaign drives the consumer online to learn more information or engage deeper with the brand. This is also referred to as multi-channel marketing.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Studies show when a consumer is exposed to 3-4 marketing methods, response rates increase up to 60% more. This means that incorporating direct mail into a complete marketing campaign will cause all the marketing to produce a higher return on investment.

Direct mail with online components is a powerful tool in your marketing plan. Well designed, personalized, targeted, and relevant direct mail drives consumers online. Those mail pieces are tracked, intentionally delivered to their audience, and monitored with real-time results.

Businesses now have the benefit of tried-and-true direct mail with the technology brought to us by the digital age.

Leveraging Direct Mail in Your Business

There is no more guessing if direct mail is working – technology provides the truth.

There is no more “spraying and praying” in direct mail – technology provides the lists that drive engagement with relevant, personalized communication.

Businesses have a powerful way to overcome digital “blindness” too – direct mail provides a tangible way for consumers to interact with your brand.

If you are looking for a new way to grow, consider adding direct mail (or adding it back in) to your marketing plan.

About Plumb Marketing

Plumb Marketing helps with all stages of a Direct Mail Marketing campaign and creates a turnkey program, including tracking, testing, mailing, printing and design. Learn more about your options at, or contact us to speak to a representative about your specific needs.