Although most of the country has transitioned to a largely digital lifestyle, the “email vs. direct mail” battle continues to thrive in the marketing world. And many are surprised that although there was an upswing in email marketing over a decade ago, there is more than enough recent research to show that direct mail has made a significant comeback.
For example, direct mail is now tied with social media as the second-most used medium, and has a higher response rate than any digital direct marketing outlet. Additionally, 76% of consumers say they trust direct mail over digital channels when making a purchase. Even large companies are taking notice. Goldman Sachs Group recently invested $25 million dollars to integrate direct mail into email-based marketing automation platforms.
That said, there are still plenty of businesses and organizations that prefer email as the foundation of their marketing strategies. In this article, we point out three of the largest problems faced by email marketing strategies, and how they can be solved by direct mail.
Problem 1: Unsubscribes
Although most of us love seeing the link to “unsubscribe” at the bottom of an email, this can be devastating to marketers trying to reach a broad audience. The chance that your email message will catch your customer at a time in which they are busy, or maybe just not in the mood to receive another email. When this happens all the customer has to do is unsubscribe from your email system, and they can be lost forever. And it only takes one time.
If your organization relies on email as its sole form of getting messages to your customer, you are one click away from losing that customer. Direct mail eliminates (or significantly decreases) the possibility that your message will forever be directed into a junk folder. Typically, if you catch your customer on a bad day, the worst they’ll do is toss your mail in the trashcan. You’ll still have tomorrow to reach them.
Problem 2: Lack of Personalization
Email has become so popular in recent years that it’s nearly impossible to find a company or organization that doesn’t have an email list to which they send consistent updates. One of the main problems with this is that there isn’t much room for creativity or personalization. Each message is put together quickly, and sent to bombard the recipient’s inbox.
However, even more than just popularity or the ease of use, email and the associated digital technology is sophisticated. When you visit a website, that website can track your IP address, gather information on you, and start sending you email regarding their product.
Direct mail brings back the personalization that is lost in the standard email blast. Approximately four in ten people look forward to checking their mail every day, and this isn’t by accident. Direct mail adds that personal touch that allows consumers to interact with your message and they don’t see themselves as just another name on an email “bcc”.
Problem 3: Overkill
Similar to the problems of lack of personalization and the dreaded unsubscribes, email can suffer from a significant overkill to a consumer’s inbox. With the amount of emails that individuals receive on a daily basis, any email that isn’t immediately read is almost guaranteed to wind up in the trash. This is even truer when you consider recent changes to platforms such as Gmail, which may try to assume where a recipient would like an email placed (e.g., the Promotions folder). This overkill almost guarantees that your message will not be seen.
Direct mail solves this problem in more than one way. First, recipients only receive direct mail once per day. Although they may receive multiple pieces per delivery, they aren’t bombarded with mail throughout the day. Moreover, sending a piece of direct mail, with content, postage, etc. is not as simple as throwing together a standard email draft. It takes more time to create these messages, thus, there aren’t as many sent to assault your consumer.
Although many marketing teams continue to believe that direct mail is dying, those that see through this false narrative are already in a much better marketing position. By finding a medium that effectively and efficiently utilizes email and direct mail, you will see increased revenue, and more importantly, happier customers.