Writing letters is practically a dead art, but Americans still make that trek to the edge of the driveway every day, hoping something good has come in the mail. Many even look forward to it. And that means there's still a guaranteed readership for your direct-mail marketing piece.

Like Mark Twain’s rumored passing, the death of direct mail has been greatly exaggerated. “The introduction of social media has helped many pizzeria operators reduce their marketing budgets,” Liz Barrett wrote in the May 2015 issue of PMQ. “However, while you’re spending hours hunched over a computer trying to figure out the best way to get 100 customers to ‘like’ you, the guy down the street just mailed 10,000 direct-mail pieces emblazoned with an irresistible offer to your customers. Which strategy sounds more effective to you?”

Additional reading: Tactics for direct-mail marketing success

Digital marketing has its place, especially since it's cheap, but successful pizzeria marketers use every available tool to the fullest. Here are four reasons why direct-mail marketing still works for pizza restaurant owners:

1. Jam-packed mailboxes are a thing of the past. Nowadays it's your email inbox that's stuffed with junk you'll never read. “Mailboxes are becoming emptier, but people still check them every day,” Alyson Lex of Baltimore-based Rock Your Marketing told Barrett. “You don’t have to speak as loudly to be heard in a place where there isn’t as much competition.”

2. Direct-mail expands your marketing reach. Using direct mail, an operator can saturate an entire neighborhood in a specified ZIP code with coupons and special offers or specifically target new movers in their community. Since most people still check their snail-mail daily, your message is almost guaranteed to at least be seen, if not read, by everyone in that ZIP code. On the other hand, a targeted social media ad, although much cheaper, only reaches those who use that platform regularly.

Additional reading: How to increase pizza sales with door hanger marketing

3. Direct mail has a bigger impact. A 2015 study by Temple University, commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service, found that people processed digital ads quicker but spent more time with physical ads, such as flyers, coupons and other direct-mail pieces. “When viewing physical ads, participants had a stronger emotional response and remembered them better,” the study notes.

4. Customers actually like direct mail better than digital. Seventy-three percent of U.S. consumers said they “prefer direct mail for brand communications because they can read the information at their convenience," a​ccording to a 2013 study by Epsilon. The study also found that 59 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “I enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products.” And a surprising 62 percent said they enjoy checking their mailboxes for snail-mail. So start planning a direct-mail marketing campaign for your pizzeria now, and give those folks something to smile about!

Additional reading: Ideas for a More Effective Pizza Box Topper

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