Direct Mail vs Email: Have you missed 80% of your market?

19-Apr-2013 13:28:18

Back in the old days before the rise of email, a marketer’s best friend was the trusty postman.

Companies would send direct mail pieces to potential prospects, promoting new products and the latest developments in their offering. But with an increase in postage costs and the relative cheapness of email, a lot of businesses switched over to the newer and faster channel (and made those working in finance jump for joy).

These days, email is as much a part of our daily lives as eating, sleeping and chocolate (…just me?), and certainly it’s cheaper to design with amends easily made without a call to the printers.

But is it always the best way to go?

If you have a loyal band of clients – possibly, yes. When the recipients are familiar with your brand and have regular contact with you, you’re more likely to have your message read – or it will at least find its way to the relevant inbox for their attention.

But on top of nurturing your existing clients, you should ALWAYS be seeking new business. And that’s where you could start exploring other avenues.

The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) run yearly surveys to find out about email open rates on acquisition eshots. The latest survey found similar results to that of the last few years, claiming an industry average of 11.5% open rate and 2% click through.

Inboxes are becoming increasingly crowded, and spam filters more intelligent. Without high-quality, targeted email data, excellent creative and a marketing team able to dodge the spam minefield, your message stands a very good chance of going unopened, being deleted or not even arriving in the inbox.

Then there’s the fact that there is simply not as much legitimate email data available compared to postal data. As it stands, the figure for available emails is around 20% of postal addresses, meaning that by avoiding direct mail you could be missing a potential 80% of your target market.

So why not try a direct mail campaign? It could be a full colour brochure, a promotional gift, a craftily worded letter…or even all three, but it could also be as simple as a postcard with an offer encouraging website registration.

Here you can collect more of their information to add to your CRM database. With direct mail, you’ll have less competition from your rivals, too, as their time and effort is often focused elsewhere. It’s also less likely to get thrown in the bin than an email.

So while your competitors are busy slugging it out in email inboxes, and targeting the same old list that they haven’t bothered to update in a year, you should be taking advantage of this less crowded channel by getting reacquainted with your old friend, the postman.

And if he has a black and white cat, then all the better. I hear they’re good luck.


Talk to Marketscan today and find out how we can help you target the people you’re missing. Email us at or give us a ring on 01243 786711.

Written by admin

Topics: Email Marketing