Marketing Strategy

Direct Mail is Back: Why Schools Should Take Notice

April 21, 2020

At Digistorm, we tend to focus on digital marketing tactics when advising school marketers where to focus their efforts. And for good reason! Digital marketing tends to be much more affordable than most traditional tactics, and provides schools with a much wider reach. In addition, you're afforded a wealth of data when you advertise digitally, allowing you to easily measure your results and segment your audience to improve your campaign performance. 

But what if we told you there was a marketing tactic that delivered a higher return on investment than social media and paid search? We're calling it — it's the comeback of the year. Okay, that might be overkill, but as it turns out, direct mail marketing has a whopping median ROI of 29%.


Wait, what's direct mail marketing?

Direct mail marketing is a traditional tactic that involves mailing prospective customers physical print material, such as a letter, flyer or brochure. It's a traditional advertising method, conjuring up memories of catalogues shoved into mailboxes and then quickly discarded. For this reason, the idea of running a direct mail marketing campaign isn't usually met with much enthusiasm. But now, in our increasingly digital world, where there's an abundance of content flooding our inbox on a daily basis, direct mail has reclaimed its novelty.



Illustration: email marketing



Why is direct mail returning such great results?

Direct mail demands attention and elicits an emotional response from its audience. Think about the last time you received a card in the mail... I would place a safe bet that you paid a lot more attention to that hand-written card than if it were an e-card delivered to your inbox. Just because direct mail is an old school approach, it doesn't have to look dated and out of touch. There are plenty of ways to keep direct mail looking fresh and modern. It all comes down to ensuring your direct mail has is thoughtful, well-designed and contains informative and interesting content.


Combine it with your digital strategy

Now don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not suggesting that you should overhaul your digital marketing strategy and revert to direct mail only. Rather, I would encourage you to think about how you can sprinkle direct mail into your current strategy to make create more meaningful connections with your school community.


Follow our guide, Steps to Creating a School Digital Marketing Plan.


The good news is, most schools already invest in print marketing. Think about the school prospectus or a school magazine that is sent out to alumnus and their parents to keep them engaged with the school. Schools may also provide flyers to their local community advertising upcoming events, such as a school fair. Combining these efforts with your digital strategy stops direct mail from being a one-way conversation and turns it into a dialogue.

An example of this is where schools mail out their prospectus after parents complete a form on their website. Schools can then follow up the prospectus with targeted emails that provide parents with further information about the school's programs or academics. Or, if a prospectus isn't the right approach, schools can distribute professional mini-magazines about the school to their local area — inviting parents to follow them on social media or attend their next open day.


Has your school incorporated direct mail into your marketing strategy? Send us a postcard and tell us how! Just kidding! You can email our marketing team with your direct mail success story. We'd love to hear from you!