Door drop marketing and direct mail were hugely popular in the past, now however they have been largely pushed out in favour of digital methods. Which one is most effective for business? Direct Letterbox Marketing, providers of leaflet distribution, explore the facts and figures.

Volume of emails vs direct mail

In 2005, The Royal Mail reported that an estimated 19.7 billion total letters were sent. Of these, 6.17 billion were ‘direct mail’ – marketing letters from companies addressed directly to the individual. By 2012, this number had dropped to 13.8 billion letters sent, with 4.4 billion of these being direct mail. Estimations for the future predict that this number will continue to fall. By 2023, The Royal Mail predict that there will be around 8.3 billion total letters sent and 3.1 billion of these will be direct mail.

It should be taken into account that door drop marketing – unaddressed promotional materials sent by separate distribution networks (not The Royal Mail) – are measured on a separate basis. In 2013, The City of London reported that the average UK home received about 650 pieces of direct mail every year. As we are talking about overall volumes, questions remain: what does this mean for businesses and individuals?

Email marketing is much more common than postal marketing. It is estimated that each person in the UK receives 121 marketing emails per day. In 2017, 269 billion emails were sent and received every day and there were over 3.7 billion email users in the world. Future predictions suggest that these numbers will increase further – by 2018, we can expect to see over 316 billion emails being sent each day.

Response rates and Brand Awareness

Studies show that the average click through rate for emails is 4.6%, with an open rate of 24.88%. Direct mail response rates by household stand at 5.1% compared to 0.6% for emails.

This means that direct mail is about double as effective at getting the message seen by the target audience. Furthermore, the CMO council notes that whilst 44% of people do not open direct mail, most people – 56% do.

A similar result was recorded regarding brand awareness – when seeing a digital ad, brand recollection was shown to be about 44%, compared with 75% for direct mail. Additionally, whilst just 45% of consumers were shown to act immediately after seeing an email, 79% of consumers were shown to act immediately on direct mail. Direct mail can also help brands to create a positive image on consumers – 63% said that they consider direct mail more seriously than emails, compared with just 18% the other way around.

Email or post?

The contrasts in response rates and brand awareness should come as no surprise when you consider the total volume of emails compared to letters.

It’s estimated that over 70 trillion emails are sent each year. Of these, 13.8 billion are sent in the UK, making 37,808,219 each day, with just 12,098,630 of these being direct mail.