7 Direct Mail Trends and Practices for 2022
May 6, 2022   Karen Bartram

Did you know that direct mail is still the best way to get a response from your audience? In 2020, direct mail generated 4.4% more responses than emails, and 30% of millennials agreed that direct mailers are more likely to get them to take a specific or desired action. While direct mail continues to be effective, the methods used to achieve optimal results continue to evolve. Below are a few projected direct mail trends that you should be aware of in 2022, to make the biggest impact on your consumers, and your bottom line!

1. Postcards Are Bigger and Better

Since 2016, there has been a massive move toward postcard usage for all direct mail marketing campaigns, including political mailers. It makes sense too. Postcards offer a simple, cost-effective, and instant way to return the mailer to the source. And what marketer doesn’t want a return from their investment? Pun intended. In years past, postcards have always been popular with those who can efficiently fit everything they need to on a 4.25” x 6” card. Now, postcards are becoming popular for just about anyone, as the size has increased to 6” x 9” for First Class Rate mailings. This significant addition to the size of the card is allowing mailers to include new elements, as well as larger images, marks of approval, and bigger calls to action. Essentially, one of the most useful mailer mediums just became even more effective!

2. QR Codes & PURLs Meet Direct Mail

Some of thenew” elements made possible by larger postcards aren’t really that new. One example is the QR Code. The abbreviation stands for a “quick response” code, which is a printed, square-shaped and machine-readable series of black and white squares that resemble an ink-blot test. When scanned, QR codes link to a website, they were all the craze when they emerged over a decade ago. The reason for their decline is irrelevant here, but their resurgence is quite important indeed. The inclusion of a QR code on your mailer is one of the only ways to transcend the paper or plastic medium of direct mail and get into the world of integrated omnichannel campaigns. Personalized URLs (PURLs) are a way to track and manage scans of your code, as this unique page is developed solely for this purpose. Combine a well-placed QR code with a PURL and the possibilities are limitless.

3. Copy is More Concise
Less is almost always more when it comes to text. It’s an especially good idea to write less in this world of increasingly decreasing attention spans. Don’t lose out on a crucial copy line or compromise on call-to-actions, however. Concise is the word. Say as much as you can in as few words as possible, as no one is eager to spend the next hour reading your content. Quick, easy-to-understand copy is what separates your mailer from being read and being instantly discarded.

4. Personalization Makes the Difference

In an ideal world, businesses would advertise to each consumer on a personal level. But since one-to-one marketing isn’t feasible for most organizations, the next best thing would be targeting specific audience segments. This is not new information, but it certainly is picking up in popularity for direct mail. With affordable high quality digital printing, personalized images and content is much easier to execute than in the past.  When someone calls you out by name, or by something specific to you, you’re much more likely to respond – which is exactly the kind of feedback you’re looking for with direct mailers. Personalization can be as simple as a map to your nearest brick-and-mortar location, indicating that this mail is specifically for people in this area. To the individual receiving it, however, the message  seems directed specifically to them. Get creative with this trend.

5. Sustainability is a Must

The days of promoting sustainability as a selling point are gone, and the days of sustainability as a baseline expectation have arrived. Consumers expect that your company, products, and direct mail pieces will be as sustainable as possible. And since the practice of mailing out thousands of paper cards and other various materials is already not the most sustainable one, every effort helps. Stamps of approval from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), using sustainable materials, and “recycle me” messages are all subtle but effective ways to let your readers know you care about the environment without even needing to say it.

6. Tactile, Sensory, and Interactive Elements

An incentive put forward by the USPS went live this year, encouraging marketers to get creative! Include sounds, scents, die-cut designs, unique visuals, textures, and potentially even tastes to boost response rates – it’s a win-win. You can register right up until the end of the promotion on July 31st, 2022, and the prize is a discount of up to 4% off postage for USPS Marketing Mail® letters and flats, as well as Nonprofit USPS Marketing Mail®. It may cost a penny or two more to get innovative with your mailers, but the rewards are likely worth it!

  7. Informed Delivery®

The USPS Informed Delivery program provides registered consumers with a black and white digital image of the mail they can expect to find in their mailbox that day.  Mailers have an opportunity to replace that black and white image with a full color one and supplements that image with a "ride-along" image that serves as a button to take the consumer to a supporting web page allowing on-line response.  Not only is this service free by the post office but from August 1-December 31, 2022 the post office is providing mailers with a 4% postal discount for participating in the program.

Bonus Tip – Mail Tracking Changes Everything

We’re sure you’ve noticed that most, if not all of these trends, are tools that work well together. Using any combination will certainly bring positive results, but how would you ever know for sure? Without a way to track it, you probably wouldn’t. The biggest direct marketing trend of 2022 should definitely be mail tracking software. Imagine being able to track your direct mailers from the printer, to the USPS, to the hands of your consumers. Plus, get weekly mail reports, analytics, and expert advice from a team of professionals. That and more is what SnailWorks mail tracking software provides.

If you want to make the most of these direct marketing industry trends, contact us here, or call us at 855-697-6245 today!