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  • AMi Direct

AMiable Solution #478: How to Make Your Direct Marketing a No-Brainer

We all want to educate and inform our customers so they can think and buy smarter. But did you know there's a good reason to make your audience think less?

I read an interesting statistic this week. It said that direct mail takes 21% less cognitive effort to process than email does. While I don’t know who originally determined this percentage—this statistic has been referenced in multiple articles for at least eight years—the statement alone makes sense.

Direct mail is easier on your consumer’s brain than email.


It’s a focal point. How many times have you gone to open an email and gotten distracted? Either you didn’t open the email you intended to, or else you did open it but something else on the screen caught your eye and you abandoned it. It happens to me all of the time.

But how many times have you picked up a piece of direct mail to examine and put it down before you had either read it or deemed it unworthy of your time? Probably few. When you can pick something up, open it, fold it, browse it, make notes on it, and study it closely in our hands, we’re more likely to give it more attention than anything we look at online. We have a focal point.

It’s easier on the eyes. Don’t get us wrong: emails have come a long way from the visually uninspiring text-only days of their origins. Now you can embed beautiful images and graphics in the email itself. You can attach or link amazing promotions and information.

But computer screens can take a toll on a reader’s eyes, especially if your target audience is among the older popular. Printing and mailing promotions allows you to create text and images at just the right size for your readers and allows them to look at your promotions in a less eye-straining environment.

It’s physical. The fact that your consumers can hold your message in their hands—or in their briefcases, or on their desks—makes your direct mail promotion not only easier to read and process but also easier to remember and retrieve than an email.

Have you ever wanted to go back to an email and reread something? If you’re like me, sometimes that takes a small series of miracles. This is particularly true if the message came from someone you don’t have regular correspondence with. First, you have to remember who sent that email. Even if you remember the company name, you may not be able to find the email in a search because it was sent by—and identified in your inbox as—an individual. Second, you have to remember what the subject was for the email. Otherwise, you have to open every email to find the right one! That can take forever.

Or, perhaps you’re the type of person who leaves emails and web pages open, hoping that leaving it open will serve as a reminder to go back and revisit it. As someone who knows a woman with 449 tabs currently open on her phone, I can tell you that doesn’t always work.

A physical mail piece, however, is much easier to relocate. Whether you have a particular file for these sorts of things or simply a pile of “look at laters,” having a printed promotion allows you to easily save, spot, and retrieve marketing messages.

Emails certainly have their place in the marketing world, and they work best when used in conjunction with modern traditional marketing channels. However, if your goal is to get your customers’ attention and make sharing your message as easy as possible, putting a direct mail promotion in their hands will go a long way toward establishing both a relationship and a sale.

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