Direct Mail versus Email Marketing

What are the relative merits of Direct Mail Vs Email Marketing methods?

Which direct marketing method is most effective: traditional direct mail campaigns or email marketing?

Direct mail marketing has been the leading form of advertisement ever since the invention of the printing press. It is more effective and efficient than any other type of marketing because it allows marketers to connect directly with their audience.

By targeting specific demographics and studying the habits of your customers, you can open a direct window into the needs of your market. And, of course, the success of any business hinges on finding and filling a specific need for a specific group of people.

Email marketing using opt-in data is now widely used. It has grown rapidly in popularity over the last few years. By contacting each individual personally, you have a much greater opportunity to engage them in a discussion about what it is that they need and how it is that you can help them with that.

So what are the relative merits of each direct marketing method?

The Benefits of Email Marketing

  • Email marketing is direct marketing at its most impactful. Your message lands right in the inbox of your recipient, your message can be personalised, and even targeted to individual recipients.
  • Email marketing can be timed to the day, the hour and even minute, in order to reach consumers just when they are likely to make a buying decision. Email marketing can also be tracked in detail, even to the number of people who open and read your email, or who forward it to a friend.
  • Email marketing is more environmentally friendly and has a far lower carbon footprint than other marketing methods.
  • Email marketing can be more cost-effective as it does not need costly mailing houses, production, postage and so on. However, data costs can be higher and email campaigns require a broadcasting partner.
  • Email marketing is highly effective in growing online sales for e-commerce sites – in just a few clicks the recipient can act on impulse and buy from your site.

The Benefits of Direct Mail

  • Direct mailshots are a tangible and physical representation of your brand, which can be held in the recipient’s hands. A mailer with high production values can say much about your brand, just through its size, feel and texture.
  • Direct mail is well established and proven as a marketing tool. Consumers and businesses are used to receiving marketing messages in the post and are receptive to the message they convey.
  • Direct mail can also be used to increase your online sales from your website – increasing numbers of mail-order companies are finding that their catalogues are becoming increasingly effective at driving consumers online to order, instead of by mail or phone.
  • Quality direct mail data is generally more affordable and more widespread and does not come with fixed broadcast costs and fewer issues over the opt-in procedure. The direct mail industry is also far more mature with a wider range of suppliers available.
  • Direct mail does not have to fight its way through complex spam and junk mail filters used in many email programs.

Over the last few years email marketing and other new forms of direct marketing, through social media channels, have overtaken direct mail marketing as the most popular means of targeting new and existing customers. While the decline in direct mail through the post is set to continue, it still has a place in helping to target new customers. Don't forget, not everyone is a fan of social media! You need to take into account the demographics of your customers, as well as their lifestyles, when determining what is best for your business. The only way you can successfully tell what is best for your business is to test the market.

One fact is universal

Any direct marketing campaign be it email, social media or direct mail, needs great quality data.

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