The Effectiveness of Direct Mail

In the digital age, many businesses have begun to think of direct mail as ‘outdated’ or ‘inefficient.’  Thinking that email campaigns and online advertising have taken its place, companies have started to drift away from direct mail.  However, studies have shown that the returns on direct mail are still greater than returns on email campaigns.  GbBIS looks at how has evaluated the effectiveness of direct mailing. 


According to Larry Riggs’s article posted in the, despite all the hype about its impending death, direct mail still pulls, even if the medium is not quite as big as it once was. According to the Direct Marketing Association’s annual response rate report, response rates for direct mail sent to house files ranges from 3.4% for letters up to nearly 4.3% for catalogs.  And that’s more than 30 times the rate of email (0.12%).  Riggs goes on to say that the overall decline in direct mail volume isn’t so much a reflection of its effectiveness as it is a reflection of the country’s economy as a whole.  “Obviously, the continued viability of direct mail depends on what happens to the U.S. Postal Service, which lost $3.2 billion for the quarter ended Dec 31.”

Riggs believes that, even though direct mail volume has been down in the last couple of years, it is still an effective marketing method.  Listing off the statistics, Riggs finds that direct mailing has a far greater response rate than email, but the low cost of emailing produces a higher ROI.

“Letter-sized mail to prospects got a response rate of 1.28%, while oversized direct mail to house lists got 3.95% response rate, 1.44% to prospect lists. Catalogs got 4. 26% response when sent to house lists and 0.94% to prospect lists; postcards got a 2.47% response rates to house lists, and 1.12% to prospects.  The cost per thousand of business-to-consumer letter mailings was $556 while business-to-business was $919.”

So what does all this mean?  For businesses to take advantage of the greater response from direct mail marketing, but see better ROI, they are going to have to find ways to cut costs and more efficiently target their direct mail.  GbBIS provides businesses with the data they need to geographically identify neighborhoods where their direct mail will be most effective.  Instead of wasting money by mailing to people outside your targeted demographic, find the neighborhoods that have the greatest amount of target qualities for your product or service, and obtain postal discounts by sending to that entire neighborhood.  GbBIS’s web applications and ZIP+4 demographic data can help you manage your direct mail and maximize ROI.  Generating mailing lists according to your specifications, we can help you take advantage of the high response rates from direct mail, while providing you with all the necessary data to cut mailing costs.

Contact GbBIS today and discover how our web applications and data can help you manage and streamline your direct mail marketing.


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