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With the option to advertise online, in print media, or through direct mail, it can be difficult to determine which option is right for your marketing plan. If you only have a limited timeframe or marketing budget to work with, it's important to choose a strategy with the most effective response rate and return on investment (ROI).

Because direct mail has been proven to be an effective option for many individuals and organizations, we've come up with this list of 4 major advantages of direct mail advertising.

Impressive Targeting Capabilities

You can also include/exclude carrier routes based on targeting options such as age, area population, average household net worth, home values, household income, number of children, renter/owner, single or multi-family units, and years of education.

All of these targeting options come with the most cost effective list - the saturation mailing list. These lists have the lowest overall costs per record and come with the lowest potential postage costs.

From there, you can build on your targeting options with a targeted list, and the associated costs grow in direct proportion to the complexity of your list's targeting options. These options are very similar to the saturation list mentioned above. The difference is that targeted lists are specific to the individual whereas saturation lists are for whoever happens to be in an area.

Some of the most common, and least costly, targeting options for targeted mailing lists include age, auto year/make/model, gender, hobbies, homeowners, income, pet owners, and renters. Combine these options to build a tailored mailing list of prospects. To do this on your own, you would need to pull reports from tools such as Google Analytics, or pay for data from expensive data aggregators, upload physical lists, and create lookalike audiences. While there is more data than ever now in our digital world, that doesn't make it easy to get to or interpret.

The best part about the impressive targeting capabilities of direct mail is that you don't have to know them all. All you have to do is ask your direct mail provider how to reach the audience you want to reach, and they will do the research for you and come back with options and recommendations to help you reach the right people while also staying within your marketing budget.

Less Competition in the Mailbox

Since so much of the marketing world has moved to online advertising, you can take advantage of the relatively open space of your recipients' mailboxes. The average person now only receives 2 pieces of physical mail per day. Compare this with the average 107 emails and 63 ads they are bombarded with each day and you'll begin to see that the mailbox is prime real estate when it comes to marketing opportunities.

You can also include/exclude carrier routes based on median data such as Age, Area Population, Average Household Net Worth, Home Values, Household Income, Number of Children, Renter/ Owner, Single or Multi- family Units, and Years of Education.

All of this targeting comes with the cheapest list - the saturation mailing list. These lists have the lowest overall costs per record, and a saturation mailing comes with the lowest potential postage costs.

From here, the targeting options are many, and the associated costs grow in direct proportion to the complexity of your list's targeting selections. You may notice that the targeting options are very similar to the saturation list above, but the difference is that these targeting options are specific to the individual, while the saturation list's options are averages for the carrier route. Some of the most common, and least costly, targeting options include: Age, Auto Makes/Models/ Years, Gender, Hobbies, Homeowners, Income, Pet Owners, and Renters.

You can stack these options to build a refined list of prospects. To do the same thing with digital you would need to pull reports from tools such as Google Analytics or pay for data from expensive data aggregators, upload physical lists, and create lookalike audiences. There is a lot of data in the digital world, but that doesn't make it easy to get to or interpret.

The best part about the impressive targeting capabilities of direct mail is that you don't have to know them all. All you have to do is ask your direct mail provider how to reach the people you want to reach, and they will do the research for you and come back with options and recommendations to help you reach the right people, while also staying within your marketing budget.

It's Easy to Use

As a marketing channel, direct mail doesn't have nearly as many bells and whistles as some channels (case in point, see the section above). There is no platform to learn, no complex bidding strategies to review, keywords to exclude, placements to research or audiences to build. There are fewer components, and fewer steps to get the job done. Can direct mail be complicated? Absolutely. Enter black plating, PURLs, variable messaging and variable images based on purchase history and geographic region... But none of that is required to get in the door and execute a well performing campaign.

Start with who you want to target - we'll help you build your list (see targeting section above for more on this). Then pick a product and start your design. You can work with our in-house graphic design team to create unique ads - this is included with every campaign at no cost because we know good design is important. Or design your own piece on one of our templates that meet our specifications for printing and mailing.

Once you approve your design, and mailing area/mailing list, we'll do everything else and you can relax. Because the most effective campaigns involve sending more than one mailer to each household over time, you can schedule an ongoing campaign with Mail Shark's Annual Mailing ProgramTM. Either way, you'll benefit from how Mail Shark simplifies direct mail campaign execusion, and our affordable pricing plans.

Whether you want to take the time to plan a long-term strategy or get your campaign up and running right away, our team will walk you through every step of the process.

Has Tactile Value

Just because online advertising has a lower response rate, though, doesn't mean you can afford to discount it entirely. Customers still want to read online reviews, follow your company on Twitter, or sign up for a loyalty program.

The great thing about direct mail marketing is that you can have the best of both worlds. You can reach your customers offline, while still giving them the option to connect with you online. You can include QR codes, social media links, and online-only offers.

With all of the tracking tools available to use with direct mail marketing, online and direct mail strategies can go hand-in-hand. You can use different marketing tools at each step in the process to create a comprehensive multichannel marketing strategy.

Send your customers a restaurant menu as a physical mailer, and then follow-up with display advertising on Facebook and via Google Ads promoting the same offer (hint: you can use target your display ads by geography so you know you are reaching the same people). Use a combination of formats to reach customers online and off at different stages of the buyer's journey.

Pairs Well With Digital Marketing

Just because online advertising has a lower response rate, though, doesn't mean you can afford to discount it entirely. Your people will still want to read online content, follow your company on Twitter, or sign up for a loyalty program.

Studies using fMRIs show that physical media leads to a more emotional response than digital media, and can lead to improved recall and a more memorable experience. Items read on a screen are more likely to be scanned and then forgotten, and emails have a lower response rate than direct mail.

You can make the most of this subconscious preference for tactile experiences by using unexpected sizes, weights and interactive elements to make the most memorable impression on the recipients of your mailer.

Many of the items that we use to look forward to getting in the mail - from paychecks to postcards from friends - have gone digital. But our habit of checking the mailbox everyday hasn't gone anywhere. Make the most of that behavior by giving your customers a unique scratch-off postcard, an attractive gift card mailer, or a menu to browse at their leisure.

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