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Denise Keller

Money Matters: Comparing the Price of Email to Direct Mail

Feb 25 2011, 05:27 PM by

With the internet now a permanent fixture in today’s society, email has become one of the most common ways to communicate. It is a tool that is used by consumers and businesses alike. When a consumer has a question about a product, or a company executive wants to inquire about a potential partnership, they often send an email instead of picking up the phone.

Email has become extremely popular as a marketing tool, but it has not completely replaced traditional methods. Case in point, direct mail continues to show up at our home and business residences on a regular basis. And while these methods are similar, they are quite different in reach and cost.

Let’s take a look at how they match up in the price department.
Production
There are a number of elements that come into play when designing a direct mail campaign. For instance, you have to consider the media your marketing materials will be printed on as well as production in terms of artwork or other designs. Then there is the procedure of printing what is likely to be tons of copies to get to your audience. The more people you are trying to reach, the more your production bill goes up.

You may have to hire a designer to create your emails or you may just already have a tech savvy staff that is equipped to handle such tasks. Either way, email marketing is a user-friendly technique with templates, software and service providers that simplify the technical aspects. The fact that there is no need for paper or printing anything means it is cheaper than direct mail could ever be from a production standpoint.
Delivery
The content that makes up the meat of your direct mail campaign must get to customers and prospects and this brings the cost of delivery into the mix. Stamps went up in price this past January, and if history means anything, they will be going up again in the near future. When throwing in the weight of your packages and the cost to actually ship them out, you have even more money leaking out of the budget.

A single email literally costs pennies to send. Even if you have thousands of subscribers, the cost savings you enjoy compared to direct mail are significant. Email marketing allows you to reach a large audience while keeping your distribution costs affordable.
Time
As they say, time is money, so this is an area that also must be considered when comparing direct mail and email marketing. Not only do you have to factor in the time it takes to design and print your content, but also the time needed for that content to travel through the mail system. It might actually be days before your valuable information ends up in the subscriber’s hands.

From design to deployment, an entire email campaign can be created, sent out and delivered successfully in a matter of hours. This means you can start seeing results almost instantly. Very few techniques compare to the immediacy of email marketing.

Direct mail will always have its place in the business world, but when it comes to price, this old school method falls short in all areas that matter to the marketer on a budget.

Posted in Tips & Resources

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