Skip to main content

The Difference Between Email Marketing & Direct Mail

email marketing

“In this corner we have the old favorite, the long-time heavyweight champion of marketing…Direct Mail.

“And in this corner, we have the upstart challenger, numbering billions and billions of sent messages every day…Email marketing.”

I hope you don’t mind this little bit of humor, but it’s a good way for Duffy Marketing to point out what is a typical mistake: Too many businesses treat their marketing campaigns as a prize fight pitting direct mail against email marketing. Instead, the goal should be to make them work together as part of an overall menu of marketing services.

Two Branches on the Same Tree

So why is it that using direct mail marketing in tandem with email marketing is so often overlooked? Duffy finds it’s because email marketing is often seen as the modern equivalent of direct mail. Many businesses end up thinking that using both channels in the same campaign is redundant. That’s wrong because you are dealing with two distinctly different mediums.

It’s About the Response Rate

Most marketing experts agree that using multiple channels will always out-perform a single channel campaign. Duffy Marketing has helped deliver many thousands of direct mail pieces. The response rate is virtually always higher when it’s combined with email. 

Always Factor in ROI

When considered in a vacuum the response rate for direct mail is much higher than for email marketing, but those raw numbers don’t tell the whole story. A mail campaign is much more expensive so the return on investment (ROI) is often higher for email marketing. That’s why it makes sense to have the campaigns complement each other. 

Real-World Example

Let’s say the Widget company sends out a piece of direct mail that arrives on Monday. Some number of recipients will read it immediately, and maybe act immediately. Others will put it aside with the intention of reading it later. Of that number, some will indeed read the mailer a day or two later, but others will forget about it entirely. That doesn’t mean they are not interested in Widgets; it just means they forgot about it. So, why not hit those same people with an email on Wednesday or Thursday reminding them about the direct mail offer? You can make it even more convenient by inserting a link to a landing page devoted to the special Widget offer.

Demographics Are Also a Factor

You need to know who’s on the receiving end of your offer. Research shows older generations are more in tune with direct mail because they grew up with it. It’s likely younger people will be in that group that delays reading or forgets about the piece of mail they received Monday. But they are extremely comfortable with that email reminder a few days later.

Learn More About Marketing Synergy

Duffy Marketing is here to help you design multi-channel marketing campaigns for your business. Why limit yourself to one or the other when direct mail and email marketing can work together so well? Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the many marketing services we offer.