You've Got Mail: 4 Reasons to Consider Direct Mail

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Snail mail resonates with marketers and businesses for one big reason—it gets results

Words by Ryan Atkinson

Many bike shops have written off direct mail as a thing of the past, and haven't used the tool since they shifted their marketing outreach to email or social. However, direct mail continues to be a heavily used tool marketing for national businesses competing for the same customers as bike shops. If REI, Lululemon, and Athleta continue to invest in direct mail, why don’t more bike shops?

Even as a digital marketing company, we’ve continued to utilize direct mail for bike shops, because it generates such consistent results. So why is direct mail still effective in a world dominated by digital marketing?

1. Direct Mail Is Tangible
"From a consumer perspective, the majority of us have mobile device in hand 24/7—but there's still something to be said about a targeted mail piece and offer from a company I do business with," says Jamie Matusek, Marketing Director of Austin, Texas–based QuantumDigital. "Mail tends to break through the digital noise for a bit, and offers a moment for a targeted message to resonate. Plus, it offers a great way for businesses to focus on local neighborhood marketing, hitting potential customers who are close to home."

2. Mail Integrates Well
Jeffrey Rohrs of ExactTarget explains, "The real story is that we have multichannel consumers due to the explosion of personal devices, so you’d better have cross-channel communication strategies. You need to be integrating your channels, so that you can influence your consumers in different ways. This is where direct mail can work hand-in-glove with email and social media. There will always be a place for channels that break the mold and pleasantly surprise consumers."

3. There’s Less Competition in Direct Mail
Jon Yokogawa, Vice President of Consumer Engagement for interTrend, contends that the technology age has actually boosted the impact of direct mail. "Your email inbox is the new mailbox, filled with bills, letters from friends, family and work," he says. "So the amount of paper in your mailbox is less than ever. Therefore, you're more inclined to look more carefully at any type of mail that you do receive from the Postal Service."

4. Mail Delivers Results
Direct mail continues to resonate with marketers for one primary reason: It gets results. Robert Salta, owner of Maryland-based, has strong views about mail’s staying power: "It’s all about results. Direct mail works," he says. "The majority of people will open and read direct mail, but often will choose to ignore email. The fundamentals of direct mail haven’t changed, partly because the efficacy has been proven time after time."

Ryan Atkinson is President and Co-Owner of SmartEtailing, which provides website, marketing, and data solutions to help independent bicycle retailers compete in an evolving retail world.