With “safer at home” orders across the country and a challenging economy, many marketers are wondering how to best get their message out – and if now’s the best time to do so. The overwhelming (and sometimes confusing) messaging about COVID-19 has led to some safety-related questions about print marketing too. We thought we’d take a moment to sort through the information and share our insights regarding direct mail.
We’re a Captive Audience Right Now
If, like many people, you’re working from home right now, you know the days inside can get long. Let’s be honest: Walking to the mailbox can feel like a surprisingly nice break in our days. The same is true for your target audience. Many people have more time to consume the messages we’re sending, and direct mail that stands out visually can break through more than ever.
Mail’s Still Getting Delivered – And It’s Safe
According to a service alert from the USPS, the postal service has experienced only minor operational impacts for domestic mail. It cites the CDC, World Health Organization, and Surgeon General’s guidance that there’s no evidence COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.1
There Are Important Messages to Share
Especially within the field of healthcare, consumers are seeking information they can trust. With clinics too busy to make (and answer) a heavy volume of phone calls, getting clear, trustworthy information out is essential. Make sure patients are aware if your processes have changed and non-essential appointments are being postponed. Anticipate their questions and address them, easing anxiety while educating.
We’re living in a strange time: one that can feel overwhelming and, for many people, lonely. Showing you care is essential, and writing with an empathetic tone is important. One easy way to convey you care is through personalization. Simply adding a name or tailoring a bit of content can show that you value an existing relationship – or are serious about establishing a new one. Of course, personalization is also a great way to increase engagement. 84% of people say it makes them more likely to open a direct mail piece.2
Now’s Not the Time for Non-Profits to Go Quiet
With unemployment skyrocketing and budgets tightening, non-profit organizations may be hesitant to spend on outreach. Yet engaging donors is as important as ever – maybe even more so. In a time when people are focused on community and helping others, being clear about your mission and your need is essential. Direct mail is a smart way to capture your audience’s attention in that moment of calm as they’re opening mail and may be less likely to get quickly dismissed than digital messages. In fact, it has been shown to increase online donations by 40%.3
Direct Mail Drives ROI
Direct mail far surpasses email, online display ads, and social media for response rates at 5.1% (compared to .6%, .2%, and .4%, respectively).4 Special designs can boost response rates too. For example, a color envelope increases response rates by 20%.5 Unique folds that cause interaction have an 8.5% higher open rate than flat letters.6 And dimensional mail outperforms flat mailings by 200-300%.7
USPS Is Offering Discounts
The U.S. Postal Service is once again offering promotions with months-long discounts on postage for a variety of mailing types. The 2% discounts are on direct mail pieces that include Informed Delivery, mobile shopping, color and personalization, multi-sensory experiences, and enhanced technologies. Promotion details and dates are available here.
An assurance from leading health organizations that mail is safe paired with data showing ROI rates above other media leads us to continue recommending direct mail. If you’re interested in unique formats, contact us and we’ll share fresh ideas and easy-to-use templates.
1. USPS. Service Alerts. April 10, 2020.
2. InfoTrends 2017.
3. Isola, Abram. 31 Essential Direct Mail Marketing Automation Stats You Need to Know. Inkit. May 29, 2018.
4. Direct Marketing Report, 2017.
5. Color Marketing Group and American Paper Institute.
6. DMA, 2015.
7. Compu-Mail Blog, 2017.