Direct mail is an age-old marketing method, yet it’s one that’s still very much alive and thriving despite the growth of online channels. The right direct mail demographics for your campaign are what make the difference between dismal and extraordinary results.
One of its biggest benefits in the digital age is that households who regularly receive direct mail, such as print catalogs, tend to have stronger engagement on those companies’ websites. Which, in turn, leads to more impressions and (logically) more sales.
Given the data-rich age the internet has afforded us, it’s now easier than ever to target your audience via direct mail, and in some cases without incurring some of the massive postage and list-buying costs from decades past.
Before you send out that next mailer, learn who should land in your direct mail demographics in 2017 and what strategies you’ll need to use to gain their attention.
Direct Mail Demographics You Need to Know in 2017
Best Response to Direct Mail: Millennials
Millennials!? But aren’t millennials supposed to be the ones who grew up learning digital speak? It sounds a little counterintuitive, but studies show that recipients in the 18-34 age group are most likely to respond to a piece of direct mail.
Some experts believe it’s because of their seemingly lifelong experience with online marketing that they’ve become out-of-tune and downright disgusted with spam emails. This makes direct mail not only more appealing but also more credible.
High Engagement for Offline Purposes: Ages 65 and older
Elderly direct mail recipients have been known to respond well to direct mail. This could stem from the fact that many consumers in this age category are not as digitally in-tune with email, social media and other forms of online marketing. Other contributing factors are the fact that they are more likely to open their mail, and that they are less nomadic than millennials or Gen X-ers.
Cheapest Option: ZIP Codes
The United States Postal Service rolled out the Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) campaign several years ago. In this type of mailing, you select a carrier route based on a ZIP code, and the postal carrier will deliver to every mailbox along that route. (This type of mailing has actually been around longer, but the difference lies in the size of your mailing.)
For local businesses that cater to audiences en masse, such as dentists, grocers, or car washes, this type of mailing is a no-brainer. You don’t have to buy a list, you don’t have to worry about correct addresses or residents’ names and, best of all, you pay about 7 cents less postage than a regular letter.
To qualify for EDDM, your mail piece must be taller than 6.125″ or longer than 11.5″ and smaller than 12″x15″
However, EDDM isn’t a good option for every type of business. If you specialize in services like child care, women’s clothing, or hunting gear, it’s usually best to pay the extra 3 cents per piece for a standard postcard and target your mailing list.
Strategies for Using Direct Mail Demographics Effectively
It isn’t enough to target the above demographics based on that criterion alone. Each of the above groups can be broken down by age, income levels, gender, and other elements that can give you a better chance of campaign success.
For example, knowing that millennials are most likely to respond to direct mail, and given their likelihood of online engagement, your direct mail call-to-action could take the form of a digital coupon code or QR code. Not only do these methods speak to how millennials are most likely to behave, but can also prove useful in tracking the success of your campaign.
Using EDDM presents its own unique set of challenges. For instance, every door means every door, whether it’s a business or residence. In some cases, you may find that you spend money on wasted impressions that don’t hit your target audience.
Other bits of data that may prove useful (and that actually exist for you to leverage) are
- Coupon response rate
- People who have recently moved to an area
- New homeowners
- Length of residence
- Purchase behaviors
- Social media engagement
One Final Thought on Direct Mail Demographics
Even with the most laser-focused targeting, there will still be people who will never have any interest in what you are selling. Likewise, there will also be people who show no interest in what you’re selling until after they read the fifth or sixth message you send them. Direct mail success takes time and consistency for it to be effective – don’t give up too soon.
Need a total solution for your direct mail? We provide it all, from concept, printing, variable imaging, and data management to mailing and fulfillment. We’re here every single step of the way. Let’s get started.