E-mail v Direct Mail. Which is better?

Lewis Carrol once said that ‘the proper definition of a man is an animal that writes letters’. Yet according to a recent survey, the number of letters we receive is just 0.01% of the amount of emails that are sent each and every day around the globe!

I suppose the reason is partly due to the fact that the world has changed a great deal since Lewis Carrol’s time and we now live in a world where e-communication has taken over all aspect of our lives. This of course, relates greatly to marketing and has caused many to declare direct mail as dead, reflecting the sharp decline of letters and direct mail sent out year on year.

When it comes to direct marketing, why would you not use e-mail marketing, it has lots going for it? Review the following stats:

  • 43% of people surveyed said they would rather hear from companies they have not worked with before via e-mail
  • 64% would rather hear of your additional products and services via e-mail
  • 62% would prefer to hear about your news and updates via e-mail

In addition e-mail marketing is:

  • Cheap, fast and efficient which makes for a much better ROI
  • Very easy to analyse in terms of the response and level of engagement
  • Easy to automate and set follow up systems for

However, before you write off direct mail all together, it has quite a few things going for it according to some reading I have done recently. In fact, the one thing that stood out for me is the fact that in a fast paced world where 74 trillion e-mails are sent every year compared with only 13.8 million letters, a letter can be perceived as a novelty item and something your company invested in which some of your target markets might find very appealing. Here are some stats to back it up:

  • In terms of ROI the average return on every £1 spent on e-mail campaigns is £7 whilst direct mail returns £38.
  • 79% of recipients act on direct mail straight away compared with 45% of e-mail recipients
  • Direct mail generates 10% more customers than e-mail

I think that, like me, you might feel a little different regarding using direct mail now you have read these stats, won’t you? This is by no means an advert for direct mail over e-mail just a helpful comparison and a strong recommendation that they both have their place in your marketing plan. Once more it all comes back to three main considerations:

  • Your target market
  • Your goal
  • The nature of your communication

Another thing to consider if you are an avid e-mail marketing user is the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that are coming into effect in May 2018. These regulations will limit your ability to target companies you don’t already work with on e-mail unless you have their explicit permission to do so. That said, other forms of direct marketing such as direct mail and telemarketing may be making more of a comeback than you might expect.

It will be good to hear your views on e-mail v direct mail marketing. As always I will be happy to have a chat about your direct marketing strategy so get in touch.


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