How Associations Can Capitalize on the

How Associations Can Capitalize on the Resurgence of Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail advertising is expected to reach a market volume of more than $60 billion by 2029. So, it’s obviously far from dead.

Does this mean it’s a good fit for your organization? If so, how can you use it?

Today, we’ll take a closer look at the effectiveness, perks, and drawbacks of direct mail.

Expected Response Rate and ROI

The Data and Marketing Association (DMA) reports that the average response rate from direct mail campaigns is 9%.

Meanwhile, the average click-through rate from email is 2.3%.

However, we wouldn’t worry too much about the reported rates. Instead, we recommend focusing on the case-specific ROI.

4 Ways to Use Direct Mail Marketing Campaigns

Are you wondering how to put printed media to use? Here are a few ideas:

1. Mail Resources to Members

If your organization/association relies on a membership model, you could mail out physical copies of your resources to members. Think booklets, reports, or white papers.

2. Send Triggered Mail

Sometimes, marketers tackle cart abandonment by sending out emails with discount codes. That’s a trigger-based approach, and you could apply it to direct mail, too.

For an association, the trigger could be:

  • A welcome mail (or a series of emails) for members
  • Membership renewal reminders
  • Confirmations/invitations for meetings and events

3. Redirect Prospects

The beauty of direct mail (also known as “snail mail”) is that it can go hand in hand with digital marketing channels.

For instance, you could add QR codes in the printed media to redirect the recipient to your website or get them to download resources digitally.

4. Fundraise

Snail mail can be an effective fundraising tool as long as you understand your donor preferences.

Just don’t forget to send personalized cards to thank people for their contributions.

Pros of Direct Mail

Let’s check out why marketers might prefer direct mail.

Authenticity and a Personal Touch

There’s an undeniable charm to traditional, personalized mail. In fact, it can even make your prospects feel valued!

Reduced Competition

The average person receives more than 600 emails per week, compared to only 16 or 17 items in their physical mailbox. This means that it’s much easier to stand out using direct mail.


Because it’s tangible and has a long lifespan (17 days vs. a few seconds for email), direct mail can be easily shared with an entire household/office, not just an individual.

Cons of Direct Mail

Snail mail isn’t without its flaws, though. Here are three drawbacks to keep in mind:


Direct mail can be more expensive than email campaigns. After all, you need to consider the design, material, and mailing costs.

Environmental Concerns

If your company or organization is eco-conscious, you’ll have to take extra steps to cut the environmental footprint of your campaigns.

For one, you’ll want to opt for recycled paper and vegetable-based inks. You might have to rely on postcards rather than enveloped letters, too.


Tracking your direct mail campaigns is not impossible, but it’s definitely tricky. Unique CTAs (landing pages, phone numbers, etc.) are necessary for tracking.

Our Final Thoughts on Snail Mail

Good old fashion snail mail is still a valid option for marketing in 2024, especially for those who want to diversify their marketing efforts. However, it’s not a one-and-done deal. Building connections will take time!

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