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Denise Keller

How Does Email Marketing Compare to Direct Mail?

Feb 16 2011, 05:33 PM by

Email marketing and direct mail share many commonalities. Both provide a way to target specific audiences for one-to-one communications, build relationships and drive sales. But while they take similar approaches, email and direct mail differ significantly beyond delivery method. If you have ever wanted to know how email marketing and direct mail stack up against one another, here are a few comparisons:

Cost - Whether you partner up with a service provider or go solo with a piece of standalone software, email marketing is cost effective no matter how you slice it. The cost for sending an email is literally pennies on the dollar. With direct mail, you have to factor in the cost to create your marketing materials and then the postage to deliver it... which could get expensive as you continue to grow your contact list.
Delivery - The post office is certainly reliable, but compared to the speed of email, it moves at a snail’s pace. After dropping your materials in a mailbox, it could be a couple of days or longer before the prospect gets the package in their hands. You can send dozens of email campaigns in that amount of time. Delivery to larger lists, while not instantaneous, is still leagues ahead of envelopes waiting to be shipped.
Reach - Email gives you the ability to market your products or services to a global audience. It doesn’t matter if you live in Cleveland and a prospect is located in another country; you can still reach them with ease. Direct mail, on the other hand, is limited to physical and chronological boundaries that could hinder the ability to reach an audience effectively.
Access - Brands have been using direct mail campaigns to market products and services for years. During that time, this method has never been able to provide convenient access to those offerings. With email, providing that access couldn’t be easier. Answers are just a click away.
Tracking - There are quite a few ways to measure the effectiveness of a direct mail program, but most of them are only general approaches that don’t allow you to go too far beyond conversions and sales. None will tell you how many recipients opened your package, came into your store and browsed the items on the shelves. Email marketing gives you instant access to data that provides insight into virtually every aspect of your campaign.

Email marketing and direct mail both have their strengths and weakness. Some of them are shared, and others are specific to each technique. Yet as technology evolves, direct mail becomes just another option. Email is now a necessity.

Posted in Tips & Resources, Deliverability

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