I love direct mail. I love email too! But which is best?
In this article we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of e-mail marketing and direct mail marketing:
There are many ways a business can communicate with prospects, clients and partners. But selling your products/services is a complex subject. Who hasn’t had a mail chimp email? (Opt in email is incredibly popular), but we all get tonnes of post too.
Benefits of email marketing
- Great for a shoe string budget. Unwanted emails are on the up. Who cares if response rates are low when costs are so low? Reaching a large population from a brought in mailing list or your own Opt in list is worth a go. A properly written email campaign, thoughtfully designed and laid out would get a better response but have a go. Done well you have little to lose.
- The need for speed. Creating emails is quick and relatively easy. If you have templates set up, you’re building a strong ‘corporate style’, but more importantly you are ready to move at the drop of a hat. If something happens and you react quickly, you can have a targeted and relevant email on their PC or Mac in seconds. Responses can come thick and fast and almost as immediately if they like what you’ve sent? e.g. Sending your companies anti Virus product message the day Talk Talk servers are hacked is the opportunists pleasure and mega quick marketing.
- Research is the mother of invention. Getting an instant answer to your question can dictate which offer you make. Asking the same question in a different way, or a different call to action can effect the way prospect respond. Test test test and then use the answers to get the best results.
- “You’re interested in our widget, OK download our brochure!” The best emails are usually the tip of the iceberg. If the prospect likes the cut of your gib, e.g. download our turning pages brochure, white paper, logo resource, or offer they can have it instantly. With analytics, you will know they’ve downloaded and can follow up with a relevant sales call. Response rates can be transforming for large and small dynamic businesses.
- Animation. Animated gifs can now make marketing emails exciting and surprising without effecting their ability to get through filters. This is a great development and response rates are very positive.
- Personalised. email marketing can be very personalised and talking to prospects as an individual by name has real impact.
Disadvantages of email marketing
- Spamalot. Unsolicited mail is the bane of our lives. Most email is poorly written, badly designed and instantly trashed. As a result most people filter out their spam emails so they can access personal emails more easily in their inbox. Sending marketing emails too often will most certainly put you at risk of being classed as junk or the recipient opting to unsubscribe from your mailing list.
- Tip of the iceberg. Most people these days are either checking email on the go or multi-tasking such as watching TV while browsing their phones, so chances of them spending more than 5 minutes checking their inbox are slim. The overall message in your email campaign has to be short and sweet and to the point or the prospect will be lost to emails of more importance or interest.
- Dull, dull dull. Text only emails suck! (Unless you’re an Abbot, Bernbach or Ogilvy.) When designing an email there are certain principles to consider for it to get the turnaround you are looking for. Call to actions need to be laid out clearly, and repetition is a good tactic as people on touch screens are prone to scrolling at high speeds! Well designed emails with images or animation are a job for a designer resulting in added costs.
- Your emails are useless, if your email list is unqualified. A quality list is worth its weight in gold. Generating your own list isn’t as tough as it used to be and quality email ‘Opt in’ lists are available if you know where to get them. Buyer beware – there are 100’s more rubbish brokers than great ones
The benefits of Direct Mail Marketing
- emails are good but Direct mail is great. Junk mail or spam? Neither is a very complimentary soundbite about your hard work but, SPAM gets most people’s bile rising. Opening post is usually a calmer experience, people are less likely to be in a rush and if its funny, clever, well written or interesting and designed well, prospects seem to feel less ‘pressurised’.
- More than words. Getting over a lot of information with direct mail marketing is easier, and something physical can become a desk presence, something that’s hard to ignore, or an item to file, ready to refer back to later.
- Love, passion, desire. If the piece is well researched and well designed and written, you can get over a whole lot more than you can with email marketing. Texture, smell, physical size, material and printing methods, can enhance a message or offer to exquisite levels. Simple and stylish also works in direct mail.
- Personalised. Direct mail can and should be very personalised. Talking to prospects as an individual by name has real impact.
Disadvantages of Direct Mail
- Money money money. Direct mail can be very costly, It’s the only down side. Add post to a large database of prospects and we can be talking telephone numbers. Creative input is clearly key, but again costs lots of money comparatively. The more innovative and time consuming the production, the higher the cost but while the apparent cost of direct mail is much higher, the return on investment is often much much higher too.
So, which is best and what should I love?
The above isn’t exhaustive by a long stretch, email marketing and direct mail marketing both have their place and both can deliver results for your business. If your business has money and a marketing budget, using both methods wisely, together, can give you instant market information and a proven channel to market.
As a business we have no preference, I think ‘touchy feely’ still has advantages. If we could do ‘touchy feely’ emails – Now that would really be something. Until then, our best advice is – get costs for both marketing methods, test by email, refine and qualify by email and then direct mail the hell out of them.
If you have a campaign project you need help or advise with don’t hesitate to contact us today, we will be happy to discuss what we can do for you over tea or coffee.
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