Email Marketing vs Direct Mail Marketing


The way I like to do business is by helping people.

That’s why I enjoy answering questions on Quora. It’s a way to share what I know to be right, with people asking for our point of view.

When I saw a question about the pros and cons of email vs a letter, I immediately started to take it from a marketing standpoint.

So, this is how I answered an approach of Email vs Direct Mail. But I think you would enjoy it as well. So here it is.

Email Marketing vs Direct Mail Marketing

First, let’s focus on the CONS of Email Marketing vs Direct Mail:

  1. It’s digital; therefore, it misses that touch that we feel when holding an actual piece of paper;
  2. It’s very usual today, and most people are overwhelmed with other emails, mostly spam. It’s harder to stand out from the others;
  3. The first reaction is usually outstanding when seeing a letter in their mailbox (if it isn’t a bill). They welcome it because it’s uncommon. However, email is known to be one more thing to bother us until we open it and see if it’s relevant or not.
  4. It’s less empathic with another human being because people instantly connect with the sender of a handwritten letter. If we use a handwritten font in an email, it will feel awkward and a gimmick to catch their attention.
  5. An email needs an absolute smashing subject line to be read. On the other hand, the letter needs to be placed in the mailbox and have attractive packaging.

Now, let’s address the PROS of Email vs Direct Mail as a Marketing Channel:

  1. Email is FASTER to prepare, test, deploy, iterate, change, analyse and reply;
  2. An email has real-time results;
  3. If you catch a mistake in the middle of the process, you can correct it and re-send it with the disclaimer;
  4. Email is way CHEAPER than sending a Letter;
  5. Email can work as a time-sensitive campaign or promo. For instance, a daily deal alert;
  6. Email can be delivered wherever you are if you have an internet connection. Desktop, Tablet, Mobile, whatever the device, email comes as the most omnipresent app;
  7. Email can close the deal through a link and without any human interference or connection;
  8. Email makes it easier for the recipient to reply, and it’s immediate;
  9. You can track email;
  10. It’s effortless and practical to do an A/B test to a small segment of people before deploying to the targeted audience;
  11. We can activate automated and drip messages with ease.

Things that BOTH are Good at:

  1. It’s a direct response marketing channel.
  2. It’s personalised.
  3. It’s universally understood.
  4. It’s content marketing all over it.
  5. It’s a way to entice, seduce and get us to take action.
  6. It’s huge in results.
  7. It’s profitable (even direct mail) to do it right.
  8. It’s a challenge to do it right. But when you do, it’s unparalleled.

I’m sure that more will come back, but this gives you a clear picture. Do you have any other suggestions to add to this list?

Please, let us know.

BTW, do you want to subscribe to our newsletter since you’re here? It’s easy and free.