Most marketers take an integrated approach that uses both email and offline direct response advertising channels to reach prospects. Here is a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of email marketing, and why you shouldn’t rely solely on email for your small business marketing campaign.
Benefits of an Email Campaign
Here are four reasons why email marketing is better than sending direct mail.
- It’s far cheaper. Using production costs only, Gartner estimates around 10 times cheaper, but if you include creative costs & back-end, you’re still looking at somewhere between 2-5 times less cost.
- It’s quicker. Email campaigns tend to be quicker to execute and to get results, which can be tracked immediately after responses are sent out, whereas direct mailings can take several weeks to get any kind of feedback. This quick response time allows marketers to customize and adjust their campaigns to maximize effectiveness.
- Personalized. Email can be more easily personalized to include recipient’s name and other information.
- Good response rate. According to Gartner, the response rate for email is not significantly different from direct mailing campaigns, with both being around 1%. Obviously, the more targeted your campaign is, the better your response rate to either campaign will be.
Why Not Solely Use Email
Though email has a number of benefits, it also has some significant disadvantages. Here are six reasons why you shouldn’t stop your direct mailing efforts and focus solely on email.
- Spam considerations – There are a growing number of people that consider all commercial email “spam” and will not even look at commercial email. There are also numerous websites that advise those who want to eliminate spam to set up an email account solely for their online identity – one email address they use for all online transactions and postings. Odds are that you are not going to reach these people through an email campaign regardless of what you do.
- Delivery issues – There are still people without email, though that number is diminishing rapidly. However, some still only use their email addresses for work and will not give them out to commercial vendors or publicize them. Others change email addresses frequently so many of the email addresses may not even be valid.
- Harder to target – Direct mail tends to be more easily customized when you have a specific target in mind. If you want to target a group of executives at specific companies, sending direct mailings will probably be the easiest way to reach all of them. Yes, they may all have email addresses, but you may have a very difficult time hunting them all down or finding a list that specifically targets them.
- Easy to delete – Direct mail also has the potential to capture your audience’s attention immediately. Whereas, emails can easily be deleted without even reading the content, direct mail has that 1-2 second potential to grab the attention of whoever is handling the mail.
- Limited reach – Marketing research shows that opt in emailing yields higher results than traditional commercial emailing. However, does everyone on your mailing list make up the entirety of those you want to target? Some of your potential customers may have already opted out & won’t receive the information. Others on your list may be students interested in the industry in general, competitors monitoring your strategy, or people that aren’t anywhere near the geographical region you are targeting.
- Does it fit with your branding strategy? Will your organization benefit from an HTML or plain text email vs a direct mailing that may have a punch out business/reminder card they may keep with them? Email tends to be deleted or forgotten about, but a physical direct mailing may serve as an attention grabbing reminder, a pin up on a bulletin board, or a conversational piece among office members.
Both email and direct mail can be effective ways of reaching prospects and clients. Consider using both in your marketing strategy.