81% of American Households Open Direct Mail

Myth: Americans throw away most of the direct mail they receive, unopened. A 2006 USPS Household Diary Study found that only 16 percent of American households choose not to open direct mail. The vast majority, 81 percent, opens and reads or at least glances through the direct mail they receive.” (NewPage & Education, 2010). Make the most of your direct mail campaigns and incorporate a QR Code and your social media sites.

QR (Quick Response) Codes are a way for your customer to continue engaging with your business. All they have to do is have a smartphone, download the app to scan the code, then scan it! Link your QR Code to digital business cards, landing pages to a website, videos, forms for the customer to fill out to enter a contest, coupons . . . something that gives them a reason to scan the code. If you’ve recently opened a restaurant, sent out a mailer announcing your opening with a QR Code on it that links to a discount for their first visit, or ask them to follow you on Twitter or “Like” you on Facebook. Whatever you decide to use, just be sure to tell them what you want them to do . . . otherwise that code and  those social media icons have no call to action. But do QR Codes really work? In market research done by Comscore, 6.2 percent of all smartphone users do scan the codes. (Melanson, 2011). So let’s do some math . . . If you send a mailer to 1,000 potential customers, 810 of them will have opened and/or actually read it, and at least 50 of them will have engaged with you some how offline.

Recently, a college used a postcard to gather information about potential new students with a QR Code on it. On the back it was a blank form for them to fill out and mail back to the school. If the potential student didn’t want to take the time to fill it out by hand, they listed their website so there was the  option to fill it out online OR they could scan the code with their smartphone and fill it out right then and there. By giving options, you’re not leaving anyone out.

To add personalization to your mailer, use VDP (Variable Data Printing). VDP allows each direct mail piece to  be individualized to the recipient; it “let’s your company continue its Direct Mail printing while adding variable factors such as your costumer’s name, address and a personalized message that directs every individual consumer in a different way. Response rates proved that when consumers receive a letter directed to them personally,with a private name and address . . . they are most likely to open it and give it a closer look.” (Directmailinsider.com, 2011).

If you have questions about generating QR Codes or using VDP in your next mailing, contact us.  


Melanson, D. (2011). Comscore finds 6.2 percent of smartphone users scan the QR codes. Retrieved September 14, 2011, from http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/13/comscore-finds-6-2-percent-of-smartphone-users-scan-qr-codes/

NewPage & Education (2010). Big Change. NewPage Corporation. (#14 Getting Personal).

Retrieved September 14, 2011, from http://www.directmailinsider.com/articles/what-is-vdp-variable-data-printing-and-how-can-it-help-your-business/


Remember More News by Reading it in Print

For the past sixty years, numerous studies have investigated how people recall news across different media. A very recent study by the University of Oregon compared online news and print news.

They found that by reading your news in print you remember significantly more of the news stories, topics, AND the main points versus reading it online. But why?

Reasons print news has better recall:

  • Online news is short-lived; the article may be there one day and gone the next, implying it’s not worth remembering.
  • By reading a news story online, the article may be archived and accessible at any time making it unnecessary to store the news in your memory.
  • There are fewer distractions with print media compared to online; typically there are ads right in the middle of online articles.
  • Online newspapers give the reader a vast selection of readily available articles which can take away from an article’s importance.
  • Online news stories may take several clicks to different screens to finish the article, while print is fixed to one or two pages.

How should you incorporate print into your marketing mix? By using direct mail and catalogs.

According to the 2011 Direct Marketing Association Statistical Fact Book, “52.4 percent of consumers read direct mail from merchants. More than 53% found merchant mail ‘useful,’ while 16.8% responded to the merchant offers.” So with 300 mailers, you could possibly have 26 people responding to your offer.

In NewPage’s “#14 Getting Personal” publication, their sources found that “catalogs had the lowest cost per lead . . .“ and an average response rate of 4.92%.