Loren McDonald of Email Insider wrote a great post on the difference between direct mail and e-mail marketing. The gist of the post hinged on the following points:
- With e-mail marketing the consumer runs the show
- E-mail is more complicated
- Performance, ROI, and overall success are measured differently
- E-mail can appear differently to the recipient than it does to the creator
I concur with all of these points. One thing I’ve noticed about companies attempting to do e-mail marketing for the first time: They always think it will be easier than it is. Because e-mail is inexpensive (re: free), the thinking is that it will be easier to perform an e-mail marketing campaign. But honestly, there’s a lot more to think about.
CAN-SPAM laws are one very important thing you must consider. With direct mail marketing, you won’t be penalized for sending unwanted and unsolicited mail as long as what you are sending it legal. With e-mail marketing, you can be banned from your ISP and lose your e-mail account if you get too many spam complaints. That changes everything.
Another thing you have to think about is how often you send out e-mails. Too often and you’ll get blocked by recipients. Not often enough and they’ll forget about you. With direct mail, too often just costs you a lot of money.
When it comes to e-mail marketing the ease and low cost of it can be deceiving. Many companies do not accurately track their costs because many aspects of it are seemingly free. For instance, how much time does it take you to put together an e-mail that you send out? That’s a cost that many business owners do not consider. It does affect your ROI.
One more thing to consider is your audience. E-mail marketing and direct mail marketing work differently for different demographics. People who might respond to e-mail would just throw you mailer in the trash before even looking at it. On the other hand, some people who might read your direct mail brochure would hit the delete key on e-mail without reading even if they’ve opted in to your list.
There is no sure way to know whether direct mail or e-mail marketing is best for you. Chances are, you can benefit from both types of marketing depending on your goals and the individual campaign. For a consultation on your marketing needs, contact Small Business Mavericks.