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  • Jo Evans

Can direct mail ever be green?

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

According to research by Borrel Associates, traditional forms of marketing such as direct mail are predicted to decline by 38% over the next five years.  Many industries consider email marketing as the cheaper and most effective way forward, and many companies are stripping direct mail from their budgets altogether.

But, should they?

The Institute of Direct Marketing say that email spamming may actually be increasing the effectiveness of direct mail. Email boxes are becoming saturated with emails selling products, many of which get overlooked by the recipient. In fact, we can’t actually recall the last time a decent piece of direct mail landed at Frog Pad HQ. Our email, however, is bursting at the seams.

Compare the open rates. The average email open rate is 4.28% whereas the average direct mail open rate is 25%.  Now, we are not saying that email is ineffective. In fact, far from. A properly planned and executed email campaign to a clear target audience, at the right time, can drive enormous revenue.  But, not all sectors of your customers respond best to emails. Some people prefer letters or a hard copy of a leaflet or flyer to read.  For example, the charity sector know this works well and most fund-raising campaigns take the form of a personalised letter. Some trades may have limited IT systems and prefer something they can hold or pin to the noticeboard if needs be.

Email campaigns are not completely carbon neutral. They are paper free but instead rely on CO2-producing servers to send emails and track responses. So, what can companies do to minimise their impact on the environment using direct mail?

An accurately targeted direct mail campaign will reduce wastage and increase response rates. The data you hold on your customers should be regularly “cleaned” to check for customers who may have moved, changed jobs or even died. Accurate data lists profiled to fit the idea of your “perfect customer” can be used to ensure that the people you are talking to are the ones that want to listen.

By being savvy about who the direct mail is being sent to, using recycled paper, printing return addresses to remove from your database from future campaigns, avoiding the use of plastic wrapping, printing on both sides of the paper and keeping ink colours down to a minimum, businesses can do their part to be greener in their communications.

So, don’t put all your eggs in one basket by restricting your communications to email marketing.  You may be isolating large groups of your customers who prefer the more “traditional” approach.

Talk to Emerald Frog Marketing about your next campaign. We can help plan which media works best for your customers. It won’t cost the earth either. Literally.

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