Direct Mail Statistics for Small Businesses

Direct mail can include postcards, flyers and brochures sent directly to your customers' and prospects' homes.
Maddie Shepherd
By Maddie Shepherd 
Edited by Christine Aebischer

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Though direct mail marketing still carries a connotation of out-datedness, thanks mostly to the “snail mail” it involves, direct mail success statistics are still indisputable. Direct mail is one lever in a well-balanced business marketing plan that can help your company reach a broader audience. And depending on your target market, it may be a preferred method of communication for some.

Direct mail statistics

Direct mail spend accounts for the largest portion of U.S. local advertising spend

Direct mail spend reached a whopping $38.5 billion in local advertising spend in 2018, according to Mail Shark.

This made up the largest portion of local advertising spend.

U.S. advertisers spend an average of $167 per person on direct mail

According to 2017 data from Small Business Trends, advertisers spend $167 per person on direct mail. While this figure is high, especially compared to the cost of other advertising channels like email, the same data revealed the average return on investment to be $2,095 worth of good sold — a return of about 1,300%.

70% of consumers say direct mail is more personal than online interactions

The same Small Business Trends report found that 70% of consumers feel that direct mail is more personal than online interactions. When gathering information on your target customer during your market analysis, be sure to consider how they prefer to receive information and what advertising channels they interact with most.

54% of consumers say they want direct mail from brands that interest them

More than half of consumers want direct mail from the brands they're interested in.

Using CRM software can help you segment your contact list and determine your most engaged audience.

Direct mail open rates can reach up to 90%

The open rate for direct mail can be up to 90%, according to 2018 data.

Comparatively, the open rate for email is 20%-30%.

42% of recipients read or scan the direct mail they receive

Beyond simply opening direct mail, many recipients — 42% according to Small Business Trends data — read or scan the information it contains.

The response rate to direct mail pieces is 3.7%

This figure may not seem so high, but compared to 2% for mobile and 1% for email and social media,

it's impressive.

Adding a name to your direct mail can increase response rates by 135%

Rather than addressing your direct mail to anonymous, "current resident" recipients, put in the extra effort to customize your recipient list. Doing so can increase response rates by 135%, according to Mail Shark data.

62% of consumers who responded to direct mail made a purchase

Small Business Trends data also found that a significant 62% of people who responded to direct mail made a purchase. This was based on mail received in the last three months from when consumers were surveyed.

39% of consumers try a business for the first time because of direct mail

Similarly, 44% of direct mail recipients visit a brand's website based on this outreach, according to U.S. Data Corporation.

More small-business data from NerdWallet

A version of this article originally appeared on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.