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Comparing Email to Direct Mail: Who Wins?

Aug 16, 2016

The fact is, familiarity has bred contempt among consumers. With such massive quantities of emails coming in every day, they now perceive it as having the lowest value of any communication channel.

 

 

Let's look at the comparison made by one large consumer survey*:

 

• Email gets 0.12% response

• Direct mail receives 4.6% response

 

Considering that a direct mail letter and a sales email take about the same amount of time to write and develop a mailing list for, that's a pretty significant difference in your return on investment.

 

Check out this statistic from another study of conversions from responders into customers:

 

• Email converted 24%

• Direct mail converted 34%

 

There are several reasons for this. The first is simply that a direct mailpiece is more likely to be seen by the recipient than an email. After all, it's a physical presence in his/her mailbox; the recipient must hold it and read it (at least in part) in order to decide what to do with it. An email can be made to disappear in one click without ever being opened, assuming it even gets past the spam filters.

 

Another reason is that direct mail has a higher perceived value. It conveys substance as well as emotion better than email does. And if the goods or services you're selling require some level of trust from the buyer, a classy direct mailpiece will give you a distinct advantage.

 

You may decide that a mix of direct mail and email is best for you. Here are a few factors to consider when planning your use of each channel:

 

• Stage in the sales funnel: direct mail is better for the prospecting stage, email for follow-ups to an already established relationship

• Lifetime value of the customer: email might have a lower initial ROI, but cost you more in long term gains

• Mailing list demographics: The millennial generation skews towards email, everyone else towards direct mail

 

One factor you don't have to worry about anymore is the relative complexity of sending real mail. You'll be glad to know that we make it as easy as email with our Email-to-Mail service. Check it out here: https://click2mail.com/email-to-mail.

 

* 2015 DMA Response Rate Survey