Did the Internet Kill Direct Mail?

It’s hard to think direct mail still reaps benefits when everyone is resorting to online marketing. Put simply, many marketers now see the internet as an untapped chunk of potential markets waiting to be uncovered. This resulted in the boom of internet marketing websites, forums, and seminars. So did the internet kill offline marketing techniques such as direct mail? Many people will say it did, but there are always two sides of the coin. Let’s look at this topic from a fresh perspective.

The world has become so internet oriented that you can hardly have a conversation without weaving internet website or tools into it. People who don’t have basic internet skills are now met with raised brows and sometimes even jeers. So how does this relate to direct mail? When all marketers shift to a different technique, you have an advantage once the coast is clear. An average internet user has become so used to those flashy ads on blogs and websites that a paper under their door can definitely grab their attention more at this point.

Before internet advertising, one would receive heaps of junk mail under his door and would toss it away instantly. Now with companies shifting towards internet marketing, less are sending out direct mail. Chances of exposure now are much higher than they were in the past. The trick now is to grab your prospect’s attention in an unconventional way – a way that totally goes against internet basics.

Let’s put this scenario, your prospect wakes up, pours juice and checks the mail. You have up to one minute to grab your prospect’s attention. In the internet world, at the moment, you have up to 8 to 10 seconds to grab the surfer’s attention. That’s the first benefit of direct mail over the internet marketing techniques.

Let’s look into the factor of personalization. When your prospect surfs the internet, he is aware that at least thousands are being exposed to this ad in the very same second. This puts your prospect in the “impersonal, indifferent” mode. With direct mail, the ability of the prospect to touch a postcard or brochure addressed to them creates a sense of intimacy or connection. That is yet another benefit of direct mail over internet advertising that can reap enormous rewards on the long run.

The last factor that kicks in is your prospect’s curiosity. While in both offline and online campaigns you can pique interest via design, copy, or incentives, when a prospect curiosity is minimal due to distractions. Let’s see how this applies to a daily scenario. Let’s say you’re online, you find an ad that says “Are you broke?” While this may pique your interest if you’re indeed broke or bored, you may click the website only to find it’s a paid service and close the window.

The attention span of an internet surfer is very low. How about someone who’s on the couch, bored to tears, with a direct mail catalogue on the table? Most people will look at catalogues for hours just for the heck of it. Their attention span amounts to how bored they are. That’s a huge advantage for any company looking for exposure.

This effect is only maximized by targeting market segments. This can be done by distributing direct mail to those in need of your product.