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3 Big Brands Still Succeeding With Direct Mail

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Remember how intrigued Meg Ryan was by a newly arrived email in You’ve Got Mail?

Sure, it probably didn’t hurt that Tom Hanks was sending the message, but at the time, the novelty of receiving an email was enough to grab someone’s attention… It was novel enough to be the center of a movie plot!

Times sure have changed.

Email volume rises every year, and inboxes are overflowing with messages from, well, all over the place.

Breaking through that clutter is getting harder and harder, too. Just take a look at the drop in email open rates:

Between 2013 and 2014, the number of emails sent increased by 9% – but the overall email open rate declined by 3%.

Depending on your market, many (if not most) of the emails you send will never even be opened. Sure, there are plenty of ways of beating the “average” email open rate, but there’s an alternative approach to overcoming inbox overload…

Good old-fashioned direct mail.

But why is direct mail marketing still working so well?

First, postal mail may be “opened over the trash can,” but it can’t be deleted with the click of a button – or easily ignored altogether. Direct mail needs to be physically handled.

Second, direct mail has many of the same advantages as email…

Like email, it’s relatively easy to test. This means that you can invest in successful mailing campaigns, and toss aside the ones that don’t work. Test a small segment of your market before expanding it to wider audience.

Third, direct mail enables you to employ some very specific targeting with your marketing. Not only can you target people in a certain postcode or area, you can also segment using demographic data like interests, income, or gender.

With all these benefits, it’s not surprising that direct mail is the go-to marketing solution for some of the world’s leading businesses…

Here are just three examples of big brands succeeding with direct mail:


Many digital marketers extol the virtues of online marketing tactics, and wouldn’t even consider using “snail mail” – but even one of the most advanced tech companies in the world loves direct mail. Google uses direct mail to send out Google Adword coupons, and to make businesses aware of their promotional tools. These mailings are then integrated into their online marketing – to great effect.

Burger King

Burger King understands the power of direct mail to reach local customers. They collect mailing addresses online and in-store. To get those postal details, they use a mixture of surveys, coupons, and prize draws. Customers who sign up are then mailed coupons, drawing them back to their local restaurant where they spend more money. That’s a win-win for both BK and it’s fans.


Geico is one of the most prolific direct mailers in the world. What makes their mailers so successful is an approach of beautiful simplicity…

On the front of one Geico mailer, it reads: “inside of this envelope is a simple way that could save $500 on car insurance.”

This specific claim about the amount of money makes the value of opening the mailer immediately apparent. You know exactly what you’re getting into. In contrast to some direct mailers, Geico prefers to go for short copy, generally keeping all of their direct mail efforts under two pages.

They typically close with a call to action and contact details. Pretty simple – but it works!

So, does all this mean that email is dead?

Absolutely not.

Email is undoubtedly still effective. In fact, in my book, The Predictable Profits Playbook, I show how integrating direct mail with email can be an incredibly powerful marketing combination…

The point is that, with all of the new technology entrepreneurs have at their disposal, it’s important not to overlook marketing channels that are time-tested, proven to work, and still producing serious ROI.

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