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.

Sept 2013 Event Recap – Email in an Increasingly Mobile and Social World

DSC_6429 DSC_6391 DSC_6384 DSC_6379More than 70 guests attended the Sept. 19 Arizona Interactive Marketing Association (AZIMA) event, “Email in an Increasingly Mobile and Social World,” presented by Chris Sietsema, owner of Teach to Fish Digital, at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas.

Chris delved right into real-life examples of email campaigns, critiquing well-known brands and pointing out how images loaded differently on computers and mobile devices. We especially liked how he sprinkled in his great sense of humor as he critiqued each brand.

It was clear that email marketers need to “adapt or die” and consider this sobering stat:

  •  80 percent of people delete emails that do not “look good” on mobile.

Chris continued his presentation, focusing on examples of how Mobile email should be Skinny, Scalable and Responsive. A few tools that can help with this process:

  • Jpegmini.com
  • Mailup.com
  • ThemeForest.com
  • LiveClicker.com
  • Email on Acid and Litmus (Design previews)

He also discussed Social in Email; Email in Social and offered more tips regarding tools that digital marketers can utilize.

Chris’ full presentation can be accessed at: www.slideshare.net/sietsema, and a recap of each slide with some of the best Tweets from the event can be found here: http://teachtofishdigital.com/email-mobile-social/ However, after it was all said and done, a number of good points really stood out from Chris’ presentations:


  • Email messages must be developed and delivered in a manner that fits each audience member’s interests, reading habits, and device usage.  It’s truly a ‘right message, right time, right place’ mandate.
  • You can learn a lot with email testing.
  • Don’t lust after your competitor’s metrics. Concentrate on the unique concerns your customers have.
  • If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying – Chris quoted Bob Ross, “We don’t make mistakes. We make happy little accidents.”

We thank Chris for his terrific presentation, and we were especially pleased to meet so many new attendees. We encourage you to learn more about AZIMA and contact one of our board members with any questions!