Email Is the New Direct Mail

Direct mail can target people by region and can count conversions with a specific phone number, coupon code or URL. Sounds like the perfect marketing tactic, right? Maybe not.

While some marketers swear by it, direct mail is no longer the end-all, be-all of direct marketing. Nowadays, anything important (paying bills, shopping, etc.), can be done online. “Junk mail” is often synonymous with direct marketing, and may create more annoyance than positive brand awareness.

Email marketing is the new direct mail. In a world where digital devices are an integral part of our lifestyle, it makes sense to try to reach people through those devices.

But that’s not email’s only appeal. Below are three reasons why email is the direct marketing tactic of today.

1. More Specific Targeting

Email marketing allows users to opt in or out. With direct mail, you can’t do either. If someone goes to your website and signs up for your newsletter, you already know they are interested. If they opt out after receiving your email, they may not be your target market.

Email marketing software can also help you tailor your campaigns based on other factors. Not only can you target by location, but if you have been in contact with them before, you can target by where they are in the buying cycle. Email lists can also be segmented based on purchase behavior.

2. Lower Costs

If you are a small business owner, the cost of running direct mail campaigns can be quite high. You may have to hire a designer, pay for postage and purchase high print volumes. Then, when it’s time for a second round, you send just as many because you don’t know who actually saw the first one. Even if you receive more responses from a piece of direct mail, some testing has shown the ROI is often higher on email marketing.

3. More Intelligence

You can gain so much more intelligence with email. You can tell how many people have opened the email, clicked on links and unsubscribed. If you sent them to a page on your website, you can find out what they did there as well. This way you know if the email actually led to a sale, in addition to creating more brand awareness.

When you can track online user behavior, you can optimize your next campaign for better results. If you are aware of the recipient’s response, you can make adjustments to elements like subject lines, CTAs, overall messaging and email layout. You also have the ability to test these variables by sending out two versions and seeing which one performs better.

In Summary

While email campaigns are an improved way to reach your prospects and customers directly, they should only be part of your marketing efforts. In some cases, it might be beneficial to use both direct mail and email as part of your integrated marketing plan. Either way, every situation is unique and if you aren’t sure what the best strategy is for your business, seek out the help of a professional.

Rebecca Heft

VP of Digital Strategy at Gate6.

With nearly two decades of experience leading successful national and international marketing, Rebecca excels at creating experiences audiences love, and ROI companies crave. Drawing on her mixed background in business, marketing, strategy and technology, she understands what marketers go through on a daily basis and how to create solutions that produce tangible results.

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