Direct Mail for B2Bs

Direct mail is a common advertising tool for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies.  People check their mailbox more thoroughly than they do their emails, many people actually enjoy receiving physical mail, and people like being able to save mailers for later use – all of which make direct mail marketing effective for B2Cs.  However, this doesn’t mean that direct mail shouldn’t be used for business-to-business (B2B) companies.  You may be surprised to know that many B2Bs find success with direct mail.  If you work for a B2B that isn’t using direct mail, here are some reasons to consider changing that.

Reason #1: Numbers don’t lie
A study by The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that the direct mail response rates for B2Bs and B2Cs were very similar.  Letter-sized envelopes sent to in-house lists received a 3.5% response for both B2Bs and B2Cs.  Interestingly enough, B2Bs received a higher response rate of 1% for envelopes sent to prospect lists than did B2Cs which had a response rate of 0.6%.  Both also received a 1.3% response rate for postcards sent to prospect lists.  But it wasn’t just the response rates that both B2Bs and B2Cs shared in common.  They also had the same ROI.  Both had a median ROI of 18-20% for campaigns sent to in-house lists and 15-17% for campaigns sent to prospect lists.

Reason #2: You already have data
Direct mail campaigns can’t succeed without a quality, accurate mailing list.  Luckily for you, you already have contact information for your current and former clients.  Studies have found that campaigns sent to in-house lists tend to perform better than those sent to prospects.  This is especially true for B2Bs.  Since you already have the data needed for a strong mailing list, you might as well put it to use.

Reason #3: Better results than email
Take a moment to think about your work email inbox.  How many unread messages are in your inbox right now?  How many emails did you delete or mark as spam before you even read them?  How many emails do you need to respond to?  It’s safe to assume that you – like most working professionals – have an overflowing inbox.  Well, guess what.  Your prospects are swamped with emails too.  They use their work email for work – coordinating with colleagues, scheduling meetings, talking with clients, etc.  They don’t use it to look at ads or promotions.  They probably receive less physical mail than emails, which gives your mailer a higher chance of getting read and noticed.

Reason #4: It’s personal
It’s a fact: personalized advertisements are effective advertisements.  Emails are used so often that they feel generic and distant.  Sending mail feels way more personal.  This is especially beneficial if you’re sending mailers to an in-house list of clients and prospects whom you know and with whom you have a good relationship.  They’ll appreciate the mail and find your message to be more sincere.