Direct Mail Vs Email Marketing, which is better?

by | Oct 14, 2022 | Knowledge Hub

It’s an age-old debate, which is better direct mail or email marketing? In this blog we explore the pros and cons of each and if perhaps a blend of the two is the right strategy for your business.

Is Direct Mail Dead?

Direct Mail Image

Some marketers regard direct mail as outdated and as we move further and further into the digital world it’s no surprise, they feel this way.

One of the biggest challenges for direct mail is the cost of postage, while printing costs are now more affordable, postage is on the rise. This means the return on investment (ROI) isn’t as high as it is for email marketing. That said, the ROI is higher than paid search and online display ads with the median ROI for direct mail being 29%. 

Direct mail is also holding its own when it comes to response rates, at 2.9% for prospect lists. Compare this with email marketing which has a click-through-rate of between 2-3% and a response rate of 0.6%.

Using Direct Mail as part of your Marketing Strategy

Any marketer knows that when it comes to your marketing strategy, it’s important to have many strings to the bow so, to speak.

Using multiple channels is the key to a great marketing strategy.

Direct mail is a powerful tool to have in your marketing armoury and can is available in a variety of forms including postcards, magazines, vouchers or letters. Make sure to include a clear and enticing call-to-action (CTA) as this encourages the recipient to take the next step in your marketing journey.

As well as inspiring action, mail can also form part of a strong awareness strategy for your business. Having something tangible helps build trust amongst your target customers and can even make you stand out against your competitors.

Is Email Marketing the future of Marketing Campaigns?

Email Marketing Image

While email marketing has been around for many years and is certainly not a ‘new’ tool, the advantage to digital tools is the ability for them to evolve and improve.

Digital marketing is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, with transformative technology as the forefront of this growth. However, a major change in consumer expectations is something marketers need to be aware of. There is far less demand for promotional content and a greater need for informational content from businesses.

This increased desire for information will change the way marketers approach email marketing. Focusing on giving the customer something useful instead of the usual seasonal product launch or money off codes. While promotional emails still have a place in your email marketing campaigns, they shouldn’t be the only content you push on your customers.

Another popular trend is personalisation, before this was a novelty, a nice touch, but now it’s an expectation.


5 Pros of Direct Mail

  1. Direct mail doesn’t require an opt-in

You don’t need a recipient’s permission to send them direct mail, meaning that unlike email where someone can unsubscribe, direct mail you can still get in touch with them. However, you don’t want to harass people, so air on the side of caution.

  1. It’s memorable

75% of people were able to recall the bran after receiving a piece of direct mail.

  1. It’s easier to stand out

There’s such a variety with direct mail, the sky is the limit when it comes to creativity, meaning you can easily stand out above your competitors.

  1. It gets undivided attention

When looking through the post, every piece will be at the very least, glanced at, meaning for a few seconds you have your recipients undivided attention – make it count!

  1. It’s highly targeted and personalised

Technology now enables businesses to create highly personalised pieces of mail that can be sent to very specific audiences. Want to get a message to new homeowners about your furniture sale? You can do so with ease!

Pros of Email Marketing

  1. Generate traffic to your website

Using a digital media like emails enables you to direct your audience straight to your website using links and enticing CTA.

  1. Collect feedback and surveys

It’s an easy and effective way to collate feedback from customers, as all they need to do is click a couple of buttons and write their review.

  1. Reaching people at the right time

With email marketing you can schedule when they get sent to your list, meaning you can catch people while a certain show is on tv, or as soon as they get to the office.

  1. Increase conversions

By careful segmenting your email lists you can send high conversion emails directly to customers who have taken certain actions. For example, you can choose to send a promotional offer to customers who have recently abandoned carts.

  1. Provide more value to your audience

It’s an effective way to offer your audience value outside of a transaction. Sending them helpful information, guides or trend alerts is a great way to give your audience more value.

Cons of Direct Mail

  • Can often be seen as spam
  • If sent out too often, it may irritate the receiver
  • Could be seen as ‘dated’ by some businesses
  • Not eco-friendly due to printing, paper use and physically sending
  • More expensive than email

Cons of Email Marketing

  • It’s fairly common for your emails to end up in the junk folder
  • Creating a design suitable for multiple devices can be challenging
  • Requires a strong and accurate database
  • There is a lot of competition
  • Requires an opt-in from recipient

Overall, there are pros and cons to both , with neither one greatly outshining the other. Like many marketing tools, the key to getting results is knowing when and how to use them, either in isolation or as a multi-channel strategy.