Direct Mail Campaigns Deliver for DTC Businesses

BY Rachel Cagle
Featured image for “Direct Mail Campaigns Deliver for DTC Businesses”

Traditional advertising media is making a grand comeback, thanks to the COVID-​19 pandemic. Consumers are less likely to notice or care about digital advertisements after seeing nothing but digital media for years. And with Apple’s restrictions on gathering consumer data, it’s more difficult to measure the effectiveness of digital campaigns. Those may be the reasons why AdAge says that direct-​to-​consumer (DTC) brands are turning to direct mail campaigns.

Direct Mail Campaigns Deliver for DTC Businesses


According to AdAge, many DTC brands are including catalogs in their direct mail campaigns. One of the reasons for doing so is that catalogs give consumers the benefits of a brick and mortar store from the comfort of their home. AdAge uses the company Smartwool as an example. Smartwool is known for its socks and base layers, but the brand offers so much more than that. Consumers may not realize what all Smartwool has to offer if they don’t take the time to explore the brand’s website, especially since it doesn’t have any physical stores of its own.

So, Smartwool produces a 36-​page+ catalog every holiday season in order to showcase its entire selection of products to consumers who may not have known about more than the brand’s socks. The brand has found that catalogs are an effective marketing tool to increase awareness of their range of products.

Storytelling in Catalogs

Another way AdAge points out that catalogs excel in direct mail campaigns is their ability to tell stories to customers. Sure, looking at an advertised product could get consumers interested in learning more, but stories get them emotionally invested. AdAge recommends that DTC brands sprinkle content into catalogs with themed lists or paragraphs that tie one or multiple products to an activity or a goal. For example, a holiday catalog could feature a list of products that can help make consumers’ homes more spirited. AdAge references Wayfair’s list of, “’40 Ways to Holiday’ that highlights 40 pieces of holiday décor that ‘up the spirit in every room in the house.’” Content like that in catalogs might get consumers thinking, “Yeah, I want my house oozing with holiday spirit this year!” and make them more motivated to make purchases.

The Effectiveness of Direct Mail Ads as a Whole

It’s not just catalogs. Direct mail campaigns that include postcards, letters and other formats are getting consumers’ attention. According to a SalesFuel blog post based on research from Lob:

  • 72% of consumers open direct mail immediately upon receipt (or as soon as they retrieve their mail)
  • 85% read all their mail at some point
  • 62% of consumers have been inspired to take action by these ads”

So, no matter what direct mail ad types your client may choose to use, they’ll be noticed. Anything from a sale spotlighted on a postcard to product selection colorfully laid out in a catalog is almost guaranteed to be looked at by recipients.

Pairing Direct Mail with Digital

Now, in cases of DTC brands, consumers can’t just open a direct mail campaign piece and go straight to a store to make a purchase. Direct mail works for DTC brands by complementing the company’s existing digital marketing efforts, such as search and social. When consumers open direct mail ads and like what they see, they’ll start doing research into the advertised brand either in general online searches or via social platforms. So, make sure that your client has content for them to find.

Will Direct Mail Work for Your Client?

If your DTC client wants more evidence specifically that a direct mail campaign is worth the effort, we can make your researching process easier. Just head to AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel, search for your client’s target audiences, and on the Marketing tab, you’ll be able to see what percentage of their target audiences took action after receiving direct mail ads within the last year.

Photo by micheile dot com