Direct Mail

Does direct mail still work in 2021?

One of the most powerful tools for getting on the radar of potential prospects has been and still is direct mail. Many consumers are becoming digitally overwhelmed and are deleting or not seeing email and social media messages anyway.

However, there’s more to it than just assuming direct mail will still work in 2021. To get to the real answer to this question it’s necessary to dive a bit deeper into some of the details around the topic to truly figure out if it’s a reliable and long-lasting solution for companies today.

Direct Mail History

You’re probably used to receiving mail at your home and always have. It may be anything from a birthday card, to a wedding announcement, or information about a product or service you may be interested in. Even with the influx of digital marketing, direct mail remains a part of your life and you continue to receive physical mail daily. According to Forbes, direct mail is a $44.2 billion industry that continues to thrive. It all began when print got its start at the printing press back in 1440. His introduction of mass-producing mechanical, moveable type ignited a revolution in Europe.

Faster production became available as technology evolved over the years. The first direct mail campaign is said to be when the American Anti-Slavery Society printed and mailed marketing materials to religious and civic leaders in the south in 1835. Others followed suit and companies like The New York Life Insurance Co. started direct mailings as early as 1872. Then in the 1950s and 60s, computers changed the game forever, in addition to magazine subscriptions and catalog shopping. The 21st century brought with it a direct mail explosion and marketers began being able to target specific audiences using lists and computers.

Do Many Companies Use Direct Mail Today?

The short answer is, yes, direct mail remains effective today, and companies continue to use and depend on it. Brands are proving that even as it stands currently, this is an effective and useful method of getting in touch with customers. Without it, you may lose out on opportunities to connect with different ages and groups of your target market as well. While direct mail is less common, it may be beneficial to use it for this very reason. Your piece of mail might have a greater chance of standing out if other companies and your competitors are focusing on digital means only.

Effectiveness of Direct Mail

Direct mail is a chance to stand out among the competition, given how much noise there is being generated online. According to Epsilon, 77% of people open their mail as soon as they receive it. Direct mail also has a high ROI, as it continues to be a good investment of your time and money. It’s also fairly easy to target by sending mail to different customers in different areas. It’s a trackable solution, although a bit more complex to do. In the instance when you want to get people to visit your website, you can create a unique landing page to track your results, for example. You’ll know that they came from that direct-mail campaign when people visit the landing page. Another upside to using direct mail and why it’s effective is that it’s tangible and you may be likely to hang onto pieces of mail for some time such as a coupon.

How Digital Marketing Impacts Direct Mail & Combining the Two

Direct mail works excellent with a digital marketing strategy. Every marketer who wants to succeed at their job knows to use multiple channels to get their message out. Therefore, direct mail should be on your list of marketing tactics.

Print marketing is not intended to be a substitute for the digital world. Instead, it works as a strategic partner when you combine the two. You essentially need both, or an omnichannel marketing approach if you’re going to be successful in reaching your target audience in this day and age. For instance, you may consider sending out a postcard or a note with a scannable code on the back and a hashtag.


Direct mail has a long history and track record and continues to play a role in today’s society and marketing approaches. The consensus, generally speaking, is that direct mail will still work in 2021 and should be a part of your overall marketing strategy. In a digital world, the two forms of marketing, both print and online tactics, can work together to get you the results you desire and help you get in front of your target audience in the best ways possible.