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Does Direct Mail Still Have a Seat at the Association’s Marketing Table?

Digital tools like instant messaging and email campaigns can be great for reaching members as soon as possible, this does not cancel out the effectiveness of a direct mail marketing strategy for any association.

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Let’s face it, the world of technology seems to be reigning as king of the marketing world these days. But this doesn’t mean we should be writing off the value of a direct mail approach entirely. While digital tools like instant messaging and email campaigns can be great for reaching members as soon as possible, this does not cancel out the effectiveness of a direct mail marketing strategy for any association.

In fact, direct mail can actually be an effective approach for any organization no matter how deep into the tech world they are. If your association has been debating the value of a direct mail approach, you probably aren’t alone. However, we’d like to take this debate to the next level and really look at the advantages that a direct mail marketing campaign can have against a digital mail strategy. So, be prepared to get your printers and stamps out and ready for use, because we’re giving you a few good reasons to incorporate direct mail back into your association’s marketing strategy.

Strength in Numbers

You may be thinking to yourself, “why would I ever go back to sending direct mail? It’s slower, it costs more to send out, and it creates a lot more physical labor on my association’s end. What’s the point?”

And while some of these points may hold weight- a digital mail strategy does save on printing costs and take a lot less time to reach members- the truth is that many marketing experts out there are turning to direct mail. According to the 2018 Response Rate Report, 81% of marketers expect to increase the amount of direct mail they send out in the near future.

While the flashy newness of technology is enticing for any association developing a marketing strategy, there’s no denying the tactics that really work for members. Mailing out important marketing messages and materials has been the basis of engaging with association members for years. While there are other, more tech-savvy ways to do so now, it does not cancel out the value that receiving a letter in the mail has for marketers. If so many marketing experts are seeing direct mail in their marketing future, then why shouldn’t your association listen and give it a place in your marketing strategy?

Open and Response Rates

Did you know that direct mail actually has a much higher open rate than electronic mail? That’s right- by putting in the extra effort to send direct mail, you actually have a better chance at engaging your target audience. DMNews reports direct mail open statistics skyrocket above electronic mail open rates. More specifically, 90% of direct mail gets opened by recipients, while only 20-30% of email gets opened. And there’s a reason for this. Think about the plethora of emails any one person gets a day. Actually, we can tell you the average number one person gets a day - the USPS reports that email users receive around 157 emails a day compared to just two pieces of physical mail per average household. With direct mail a lot more few and far between, there’s a much higher chance to reign in your audience’s attention and get them on board with what you have to tell them.

Less Repetition

Does your association live in fear of getting emails sent straight to the spam folder? If so, direct mail is the perfect solution to reaching members without getting on their nerves. While email campaigns are great for setting up an email schedule and hitting members with marketing messages at the right time, they run the risk of becoming repetitive to email recipients. Of course, they all have a purpose, but members may not realize this and only see the quantity of emails rather than the quality.

But with the lower circulation of direct mail, you aren’t overwhelming those members who don’t enjoy receiving a slough of emails from companies. This takes the annoyance factor down a few pegs, therefore giving your association a fighting chance at winning member attention and getting your marketing materials engaged with. With less frequent and repetitive mail on your side, you have the power of engaging with even the most stubborn and out of touch members, so don’t take direct mail for granted in that aspect.

If a direct mail approach is down for the count within your association, don’t be afraid to bring it back into commission. Consider if direct mail has value within your own marketing strategy and see what members respond to best for the ultimate member engagement.