Poorly executed direct mail campaigns are dead. So dead, in fact, that all we’re left with are the haunted memories of direct mail campaigns gone bad. Collectively, as marketers, we’ve steered away from direct mail because for the last several years we’ve been distracted by a shiny new channel known as digital marketing. It could also be that the trauma of the last direct mail campaign is still fresh. Regardless of the reason that we’re not doing direct mail nearly as much as in the past, it is still a great channel for B-to-B marketing. Here’s why:

It’s different: Remember the sound of dial up? That sound triggered anticipation for what was surely to be one of the most exciting parts of your day: getting a few text-only emails from friends or family. All of those emails held information that you probably could have gotten faster if they had just called you, but that wasn’t the point. It was fun to get an email.

Well, what’s old is new again – it’s now fun to get postal mail. Since there aren’t a lot of B-to-B marketers using direct mail these days, your content can really stand out and generate impact if done well. You’re not competing with nearly as many postal communications as you are emails in an inbox.

It’s personal: Even if your direct mail piece isn’t an engraved name plate, it’s still more personal to receive postal mail. The physical presence of mail feels more substantial than an electronic communication. It suggests you’ve invested more time and consideration than simply shooting off an email. This is why so many hiring managers still prefer to receive a handwritten note from applicants over a thank you email.

When you’re developing your direct mail campaign, consider what will personally resonate with your audience and help elicit the desired action.

It’s memorable: Creative direct mail campaigns are what separates good campaigns from great ones. They’re fun, memorable and generate a strong response. However, executing on a creative direct mail campaign is also where many marketers can go wrong. The best three tips for making an effective and memorable direct mail campaign include:

It’s trackable: One of the greatest advantages to direct mail is everyone understands it and it’s measurable at every step of the way. Some marketing automation platforms offer the ability to use PURLS (Personalized URLs). Each direct mail piece can include a PURL which can be used to track whether individual recipients complete the call-to-action. Additionally, it’s easy to measure the cost of the campaign because it’s mostly packaging and postage. With a well-defined, constant cost per lead, you can easily track pipeline against the budget for a clear ROI. If you don’t have marketing automation, check out why most companies adopt marketing automation now.

So, what’s the consensus on direct mail? It’s alive and well. It’s a fruitful channel for B-to-B marketers to open the dialogue between their prospects and a hungry sales team. Stay tuned for a blog post with some of the best (and worst) direct mail campaigns we’ve seen!