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Direct Mail Postcards: Statistics & Tips for Using Them in Your Next Campaign

Stats and tips of how well direct mail postcards are working and where they fit best in your marketing mix.

Marketing postcards, like other direct mail pieces, offer something unique in the digital age: a way for your B2C audience to physically engage with your communications.

Unlike the daily bombardment of digital advertising, marketing postcards capture and hold a recipient's attention right at the mailbox, giving them something to hold in their hands and post on the fridge. They’re a persistent reminder to act in a world where most messages are fleeting and forgettable.

When all the ingredients of a great postcard campaign are present (a highly-target mailing list, personalization, and a compelling offer), that attention isn’t lost. Coupons make their way into wallets and event reminders get posted in the home –– coveted spaces that keep brands top-of-mind in a way other channels simply can’t match.

Whether this is your first time planning a postcard campaign, or you’re interested in informing your efforts with data and best practices, read on for a quick stats and tips of how well postcards are working and where they fit best in your marketing mix.


Making the case for direct mail postcards

If you’re considering a postcard campaign as part of your multi-channel campaign, but not sure if you can justify the investment required to design, print, and mail postcards, consider a few statistics:

  1. Direct mail response rates are actually growing. According to the 2018 ANA/DMA Response Rate Report, direct mail response rates were 9% to a house list and 5% to a prospect list. By comparison, the 2017 report showed a response rate of 5.1% to a house list and 2.9% to a prospect list. Going back even further, the average between 2003 and 2015 was 3.6% to a house list and 1.6% to a prospect list. Taken together, since 2015, customer response rates for direct mail have increased 37% and prospect response rates have more than doubled with a shocking 190% increase. What accounts for the increase? A few things are likely happening: Marketers are getting smarter about sending mail to people who appreciate receiving it; data has enabled better-tailored offers, and cheaper digital printing means more volume for less money.
  2. Most young people report spending time consuming mail and over half prefer scanning it over email for useful information. ANA/DMA’s 2017 and 2018 research finds that more than 3 in 4 millennials (84%) take the time to look through their mail. Similarly, 64% would rather scan for useful information over email––believing it to be a more viable and reliable source of communication from brands.
  3. Direct mail still outperforms any digital direct marketing channel for response rate. The 2018 ANA/DMA Response Rate Report pegged direct mail response rates at 5 to 9 times greater than that of email, paid search, or social media.
  4. Postcards are the most likely marketing mail pieces to be read by recipients. Some slightly older AMA/DMA research parsed the differences between various types of direct mail pieces and found that over half (52.5%) of consumers reported that they’d read a postcard versus less than a third who said they’d open a letter-sized envelope.
  5. Survey respondents report responding to relevant, compelling postcards more than letter-sized envelopes. The same AMA/DMA report that looked at response rates for different types of direct mail pieces found that 23.4% of consumers will respond to postcards that are relevant and of interest to them, compared to 7.9% for letter-sized envelopes.

To learn more about how OneTouchPoint can help take your national, regional, and local direct mail and marketing efforts to the next level, sign up for a personal consultation with one of our mailing experts.