Direct Mail vs Online Ads

There’s a widespread misconception that online ads are superior to direct mail.  People assume that because our world is so digitized that the best way (or the only way) to advertise is with online ads.  These people think that direct mail is a thing of the past and ineffective.  Here we breakdown why direct mail is often a better option than online advertising.

Considered purchases vs. impulse buys
Online ads are better suited for “impulse buys,” which is why they’re commonly used by retailers.  For example, someone sees an ad for a pair of shoes they really like, they click on it, browse through the company’s website and make a purchase.  Direct mail proves to be better for industries whose clients aren’t going to make an impulsive buying decision, such as mortgage companies, financial institutions, and car dealerships.  These are bigger purchases that’ll have a significant impact on the buyer’s life.  Because mailers can be saved for later use, they allow consumers to carefully consider making a purchase or using the service.  Online ads found on a search engine or display network can’t be saved, therefore they require immediate action.  Someone sees the ad, they need to click on it and buy it then or soon after.  This doesn’t make sense for people making bigger purchases.  If someone browsing online comes across an ad for a mortgage company, they’re probably not going to click on the ad and begin the process of applying for a mortgage right then and there.  This is why direct mail is such a powerful tool for mortgage lenders.  Prospects can save the mailers they sent them and use the service when they actually need it.

Direct mail vs. email
Some may argue that email marketing is the solution for advertising these types of big purchases because emails, like mailers, can be saved.  While this is true, it doesn’t make emails more effective than direct mail.  Inboxes are fuller than ever.  Chances are your prospects receive hundreds of emails a day.  Most people only skim through their personal emails and leave many messages unread.  Direct mail also continues to have higher response rates and higher ROI than email marketing.

Science says…
If that isn’t enough to convince you, consider this: direct mail’s capabilities are backed by science.  A Temple University study sponsored by USPS found print ads to be more effective than online ads.  In the study, researchers examined neurological reactions of their test participants when viewing print and digital advertisements.  They found that their participants had a stronger emotional reaction and were more interested in print ads than digital ads.  They also spent more time looking at the print ads.  Participants had an easier time remembering the ad’s company and context if the ad was print.

Just because our world has become increasingly more technical and digital doesn’t mean that direct mail has lost its power.  There are ways to modernize direct mail and integrate it with today’s technology.  Contact us today to learn how direct mail can help your business.