August 15, 2013

Why Direct Mail Will Not Surpass Email Marketing Any Time Soon

Your business has a list of leads that must be converted into potential customers. So, you review your available marketing strategies and have narrowed your options down to direct mail or email. Which one should you choose?

While direct mail still creeps into our common vernacular every once in a while, there is no disputing the fact that we are officially in an era of email marketing. While every business has different needs and should correlate their marketing strategy to best suit their target audience, here are some interesting factors in the debate between direct and email marketing:


There are many fees associated with direct mail such as the cost of paper, printing, packaging and shipping. Ultimately, businesses need a marketing solution that will produce the most ROI, and 74 percent of email marketers claim that this type of campaign is an excellent means of achieving it. 

Some email marketing companies charge per each email, while others establish monthly rates with additional fees tacked on if you should go over the allotted amount. However, choosing to go the direct mail route will mean having to pay for paper, printing, packaging and transportation. In fact, the average cost per thousand of B2C direct mail is over $600.

Open rates

Another factor that is important to consider is that getting a message to your audience is only half the battle. Consumers are more apt to open an email than they are a letter in the mail. In fact, 82 percent of consumers will open an email from a business. According to Demand Media, more than half of unsolicited email is thrown out prior to being opened. 

Instant versus delayed communication

By and large one of the most important factors in the debate between direct and email marketing is the time it takes to communicate. Consider the duration of time that ensues from when a document is drafted, printed, sent in the mail and opened by a consumer. Then, consider the amount of time that an email takes to arrive at an inbox. If you want to leverage information as it arises, you can’t beat the power of email.


Once a letter is sent into the mail, there is no way of knowing whether or not it was received by a lead. However, an email blast gives complete oversight as to what happens to an email once it is distributed. It is possible to see who forwarded an email, and who marked it as spam. For low level promotions where visibility or traceability is not necessarily a point of concern, direct mail could still work. However, email marketing grants the power to gauge statistical metrics as to whether or not a marketing campaign is actually working as it is intended to.

It is important to remember that marketing trends ebb and flow practically overnight. Right now, however, the chances of direct mail making a comeback seem slight. Email marketing is a cheaper solution that provides more information that can be leveraged for redirection purposes.

Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comment box below.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

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