“A business without a mailing list is not a business.”

– Dan S. Kennedy

Do people actually still send real mail to people’s actual, physical mailboxes anymore? Do people READ what comes to their actual, physical mailbox?

The answer to the first question? Yes, but not as many as a few years ago.
The answer to the second question? Yes, more than ever!

Since we receive less physical mail, we pay more attention to it than in the 90s and 2000s when we were inundated with postal mail.

Direct mail had an average response rate of 9% for house lists and 4.9% for prospect lists in 2018.

(A “house list” is a company’s internal list of customers; prospect lists are usually rented or purchased from a data broker.)

(Data & Marketing Association)

The 2018 DMA Response Rate Report brings news of amazing average direct mail response rates. The household list response rate was 9% in 2018, significantly up from 2017, when it was 5.1%. The prospect list response rate was 4.9%, also showing a big increase compared to the 2.9% it achieved the year before.

What’s contributing to this spike in numbers? In a word, technology. Thanks to technological advancements, mail marketers are gathering more data about consumer behavior. They’re sending out direct mail to people who actually look forward to it, which is why they’re getting much better direct mail response rates.

From SmallBizGenius.net

Direct mail recipients purchased 28% more items and spent 28% more money than people who didn’t get that piece of direct mail.

(United States Postal Service)

By keeping a piece of direct mail in a household for days on end, consumers are constantly reminded of the product you are advertising. This makes them more prone to visit your website or brick-and-mortar business and make a purchase. With a direct mail conversion rate of 28%, this marketing method is definitely worth a shot.

73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read it whenever they want.


Leads love to be nurtured. Consumers like having a relationship with their favorite brands, but not based on the brand’s marketing schedule. For example, they hate it when they’re browsing the web and all of a sudden an ad appears. They want to be able to learn what’s new with the brand they support at their own convenience. Epsilon’s direct mail marketing statistics show that the majority of US consumers prefer direct mail as a method of communication with their favorite brands because they can review it when they see fit.

Direct mail offers a 29% return on investment.

(Marketing Charts)

The US Postal Service implemented new, slightly higher postage rates in January 2019. Even with the current postal rates, direct mail marketing provides a strong return on marketing investment. In fact, it matches the ROI of social media marketing efforts. Direct mail stats published by Marketing Charts show that direct mail brings a 29% ROI while social media has a 30% ROI.

Regarding response rate, direct mail offers a 112% return on investment.

(Data & Marketing Association)

Direct mail as an analog medium still delivers the best response from customers. It’s closely followed by SMS with 102% and email at 93%, which is, as expected, the option most used by marketers. Social media saw an upwards trend in use at 74%, a 17% increase compared to the previous survey.

50.9% of recipients say they find postcards useful.

(Data & Marketing Association)

Their small size makes them stand out in a mailbox, and the fact they don’t come in an envelope means virtually all postcards get read. Combine this with DMA’s stat that half of consumers find postcards useful and you’ll understand why postcard marketing is arguably the most effective direct mail method available.

Consumers aged 45-54 are the demographic group most likely to respond to direct mail pieces.

(Data & Marketing Association)

The key to any successful marketing campaign is knowing who to target and where. Just as you wouldn’t advertise a steak restaurant using a vegetarian restaurant’s mailing list, you also need to know which demographic group responds to which marketing method. Individuals aged 45-54 have the highest direct mail response rate: 14.1%. This makes them a much better target audience than members of Generation Z, who are more reachable via social media platforms like Snapchat.