In 2004, direct mail enjoyed a response rate increase—up 12% from 1999, according to the US Postal Service. A USPS news release says, "While 57 percent of households say they check their email only once a week, 98 percent of households collect and assess what's in their mailboxes every day."

DM News agrees. It reports that 73% of mail gets opened and more than 50% of adults prefer receiving ads through the mail. The American City Business Journal reports that the profit of one company, Vertis, increased 40% in its third quarter thanks to its sending more direct mail.

With such statistics, direct mail remains a successful way to reach customers. The trick is, of course, getting customers to act on the mail.

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Hank Stroll ( is publisher at InternetVIZ, a custom publisher of 24 B2B e-newsletters reaching 490,000 business executives.