Direct mail continues to prove its worth today, particularly in how it helps boost digital conversions. In 2015, gardening retailer Homebase ran an award-winning 500,000-piece direct mail campaign encouraging customers to shop early for seasonal offers. The result: customers visited the site 33 percent more often, and spent an average of 20 percent more.
But what about with technology consumers?
We were surprised to discover that millennials, a group 80 million U.S. consumers strong that share many common traits including love of technology, respond to direct mail. Young adults, 24 years and younger, are among the most responsive to direct mail. 92 percent of young shoppers say they prefer direct mail for making purchase decisions. See more proof in the numbers here.
"65 percent of all consumers, aged 15 years or more, made at least one purchase as a result of direct mail in the previous year."
Direct Mail Association 2013 Factbook
How to be the life of the mailbox for tech lovers
- Incorporate humor. In our survey of millennials earlier this year, we found that they respond to humor above all else.
- Appeal to their soft side. Millennials are cause driven and tend to support like-minded companies. Weave your company’s philanthropic side into your direct mail message, perhaps a CTA where a portion of a purchase benefits a specific organization whose followers you’ve targeted.
- Stay social. Millennials don’t consume products and services in silence. They consume noisily and visually—on their devices. So create direct mail that gets opened, but be sure to combine it with opportunities for social sharing.
- Refer them to retail. Millennials still enjoy the “experiential” method of buying, which is good news for retailers. Create mail that incentivizes them to pay you a visit.
- Focus on new technology. Millennials are “digital natives” who love new gadgets. According to The G Brief, millennials upgrade existing devices when they can or need to, but they are also buying new gadgets. Don’t be shy about promoting both upgrades and the latest you offer, early and often, in your direct mail campaigns.
- Launch your loyalty program. Young spenders mean the biggest opportunity for a lifetime of loyalty. According to a study late last year by Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, 69 percent of millennials belong to a retail loyalty program, and 70 percent are satisfied. According to an April 2016 survey, a combined effort between CrowdTwist and Brand Innovators, there’s an upward trend in companies investing in loyalty programs. Are you allocating dollars toward such a program that you can promote through direct mail?
"The majority of US marketers intend to allocate more of their budgets to customer loyalty in 2017, according to research. And about 13% said they anticipate significant increases in spending on such programs."
CrowdTwist and Brand Innovators, April 2016
Why not email rather than traditional direct mail?
Because we’re talking about technology marketing, right? Remember, 65 percent of consumers, a huge majority of them millennials who love their technology, make a purchase as a result of direct mail in a year. Believe it or not, this success rate was reported as at least 30 percent better than that of email marketing – 12 percent versus 4.4 percent respectively.
Entrepreneur Magazine published an article with a few of the reasons why:
- Inbox overload. How many emails do you get a day—and how many are you actually capable of reading? How many get the “select all” treatment, then deleted before noticed?
- The personal touch. A study by Epsilon showed that 77 percent of customers sort through physical mail as soon as they read it, and even better, that 98 percent of people check their mail daily.
- Increased trust. With increased technology comes an increased concern for privacy. It’s getting harder and harder to add bells and whistles like multiple attachments or links to make email stand out—and get them through security. Bland email may not get caught up in the net of junk mail or Clutter, but may not be as likely to get read.
- Enhanced delivery. By contrast, physical direct mail, such as lumpy mail (three dimensional pop up print pieces or a small gift), colorful mail, mail in interesting shapes and sizes….these look enticing. And those get seen and sorted daily!
According to the millennials we surveyed early this year, we found that 28% used a coupon in the last month. And 30% Googled a company they saw on a billboard. So, more evidence that traditional media is still alive and well.
The right medium, and the right message.
With the majority of consumers checking their mail boxes daily and sorting it immediately, be sure your direct mail makes the cut. For individual technology buyers, highlight new gadgets and new features visually and powerfully. For the younger set, bring on humor and appeal to their sense of philanthropy and loyalty. And don’t forget the magic of limited-time offers to create urgency. Even coupons still work, with billions redeemed annually. And, affordable postcards are the best read.