Direct Mail Or Email Marketing – Which Is Best For You?

License: Creative Commons: image source

Have you reached a marketing “fork in the road,” as the U.S. Data Corporation Direct Marketing Blog calls it? There are pros and cons to direct mail and email marketing, and a business must analyze its audience, marketing budget, and preferences when deciding which path to take.

Is Direct Mail More Effective?

Although it is definitely more expensive than email, studies have shown that people are much more receptive to direct mail than email marketing. This may be because consumers like to check their physical mailboxes and have something tangible in their hands, especially when making buying decisions. There is also less competition with direct mail, as many marketers use other methods, including email, social media, and cold-calling, and consumers receive much less direct mail than they used to.

According to Direct Marketing News, a December 2011 survey conducted by the marketing firm Epsilon found that 50% of the respondents preferred direct mail to email in almost every category surveyed. The reason might be that 65% of those surveyed felt that they are getting too much email, and the sheer volume of email messages received is decreasing the medium’s effect. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed by Epsilon admitted that they get a large number of emails that they never take the time to open. The study also found that 25% of all U.S. consumers believe that direct mail is more trustworthy than email.

Email Still King, According to Harvard Business Review

Email marketing has its champions too. The Harvard Business Review reported in August 2012 that while direct mail costs more than $600 per 1,000 pieces, there are relatively fewer direct costs associated with email marketing. Although a direct mail piece is a self-contained bit of marketing, an email message allows the recipient to do his or her own research, thanks to electronic links. By clicking on these links, consumers can view a business’ products and services, read customer reviews, access white papers, and even put products in online shopping carts and hit “purchase.” All from one little marketing email.

There is also evidence that email marketing garners greater return on investment (ROI) than direct mail.

Now for the Cons

The main drawback to direct mail marketing is the expense associated with it. The response rate from a mailing depends on a variety of things, and an average response rate can be hard to predict. Factors that determine the success of a direct mail campaign include the product or service being marketed; the skill of the copywriter who developed the copy; the offer and the way it is presented to the consumer; company, brand and product recognition; the time of year the campaign is being run; and the country’s general economic conditions.

Email also has some negatives, including the laborious process required to sort through sometimes hundreds of messages each day. They must be relatively short to be read, limiting a marketer’s ability to creatively tell a story. If you write a compelling sales letter, readers will usually stay engaged, whereas people often sign up to receive emails only because it is part of a promotion, for example, to receive a discount on a product. Email is inexpensive, which is a pro but also a con, because its low cost also makes it a favorite of spammers.

What About Using Both?

Using both direct mail and email marketing has its advantages. According to Direct Marketing News, response rates can increase dramatically when direct mail and email are used in combination with each other in a multichannel campaign. Things to consider when running a two-ply campaign include making your email and direct mail branding consistent, knowing how to time your mailing with followup emails for maximum effect, and assembling your list to include both postal and email addresses. Direct mail and email have to work together, and they should be evaluated that way also. Read more


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What type of event can I promote?

Basically pretty much anything you like – concerts, literary readings, parties, functions, happenings, balls, charity events, discos, dances, club nights, art exhibitions, plays, sales, fund raisers and even demos – the list is endless.

How it works

All you need to do is make a Facebook event page. Make sure you have your date, venue and time right and then you can start inviting your friends and make sure you ask them to share it with their friends too.† You can also add links to your website.

If you make your event public and use key words that someone might look for (e.g. poetry) then your event will come up when people search for events too. It helps if you have made a Facebook group or page for your organisation – then you can add the event to the organisation’s page and send an invite to everyone in the group as well as to your friend’s list. You can also post links to your event on your wall.

What not to do

There are things you should avoid when making a Facebook event if you don’t want to annoy people and have them opt out of ever receiving events invites from you again. The biggest no-no is sending a blanket invite to everyone on your friends list. We have all received those annoying invites to events at the other side of the country or even on another continent – it’s just not going to happen. Sending indiscriminate invites is tantamount to spam and should be avoided at all costs. It may seem tedious but target the audience that you think might actually be interested in the event and those who live nearby – unless of course it is a wedding or special party.

Avoid the escalating party situation

If your event is a small affair like a party you might want to make it invite only and opt out of allowing people to share the event with their friends. We all remember the story about the boy whose house was wrecked because someone posted his party on Facebook.† The general rule is for public events where you want to sell tickets allow friends to invite friends but for small private events make it so you only you can invite people.

The bigger picture

Of course however good your online promotion is you will probably want to back it back with some real world promotion too. Posters, adverts in listing magazines and the local press, local radio listings etc. are all good ways to increase the visibility of your event.

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blog

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