In the age of email and social media, communicating with potential customers through direct mail might seem like an antiquated marketing strategy. However, the statistics concerning direct mail marketing tell a completely different story.

According to Scott Taylor of The Huffington Post, about 79 percent of customers act on direct mail immediately – this means making a call, sending an email, going to your website or taking another step toward getting in touch. This is in stark comparison with to the 45 percent of folks who click or call in response to email marketing.  And when you take into consideration the 74 percent of consumers who eagerly anticipate the letters, coupons and – yes – even the junk mail that appear in their mailboxes every day, it’s easy to see that direct mail is far from dead.

Online consumers have an attention span of 8 seconds – that’s less than that of a goldfish. Direct mail, though, offers the tangible experience that digital marketing lacks. The extra three or four seconds it takes to hold a piece of mail and read it over is more likely to keep a customer’s attention. In fact, 33 percent of consumers find direct mail to be the communication strategy that makes them remember a product best.

And while it may be hard to track down a recent college grad’s USPS address, direct mail is simply more relevant than other forms of marketing to large swaths of the population. More than 40 percent of people above the age of 65 do not use the internet at all. These customers will not be reached by emails or social media campaigns – no matter how good they are – so direct mail is the only effective way to get your message to them.

While direct mail is promising on its own, weaving it into a digital strategy can maximize benefits and results for campaigns targeting any demographic. Local shops and banks, for example, can experience huge successes with direct mail as more than half of their customers report preferring direct mail over email as the primary method of receiving marketing communications.  A 2014 Experian Marketing Services Report revealed that customers spend 25 percent more with businesses that use both direct mail and email and that they’re 10 to 20 percent more likely to convert on a direct mail offer than one they receive through email.

PebblePost, a company run by Indiegogo’s Lewis Gersh, actually trademarked the term programmatic direct mail to mean the fusing of both direct mail and digital marketing. The company uses online analytics to track which people would browse its customers’ online stores and leave without buying anything. PebblePost then proceeds to mail relevant coupons to these customers. In those campaigns, they receive response rates of more than 20 percent and conversion rates of almost 40 percent, numbers that are almost double that of traditional marketing.

With the digital communication landscape becoming increasingly crowded, using direct mail is has the potential to make your brand stand out. When planned and executed correctly, direct mail allows for flexibility that email cannot deliver and tangibles like product samples and promotional materials can be sent through the mail. Plus, creativity is at its peak in print form. As with any method of marketing, it is imperative to understand the target audience, target the ideal customers and craft the appropriate message, but direct mail has a long way to go before it becomes obsolete.