One might say that we’re part of the E-generation, that is, the electronic everything generation. Yet, many are still skeptical of going electronic with their marketing campaigns and prefer the good old direct mail alternative.While they both yield results, your ability to track, manage and review your campaigns is completely different when comparing direct mail campaigns and e-mail campaigns. Here’s some food for thought.
|Traditional Direct Mail|
|Cost||Direct mail campaigns can be very costly.You have to calculate not only the design of your direct mail piece, your data source and printing costs, but also shipping it as well.With postage rates increasing every year, direct mail is becoming more expensive.If you are dong a direct mail campaign, make sure to ask your post office for bulk-mail rates.A direct mail piece can cost anywhere from $1 and up for each individual piece.||Fairly inexpensive.A piece of e-mail marketing can cost you a couple cents.|
|Tracking Capability||Very little.While there are new services offered by the postal service that will let you know where in the postal service your piece of direct mail is, you never have the guarantee that your direct mail got to the intended recipient.||Extensive.For small additional fee, you can track just about anything you want: when your e-mail was opened, how long it was open for, if it was deleted, saved forwarded (and to whom), which links within it were visited, how many times the original e-mail was opened and how many times the links in it were visited. All this information makes it easy to evaluate the results of your campaign.|
|Reaching your Recipient||Again, it’s impossible to know whether the right person received your piece of direct mail or not.Perhaps they no longer live at that address.While addressing your pieces to a person and adding “or current resident” to your mailing label will ensure that they get delivered to that address, it does not guarantee that the person you intended it for will receive it.Also, remember that things do get lost in the post office –or sometimes arrive too late.||An e-mail address goes everywhere your recipient goes.It doesn’t matter if they move from one state or another, they will probably still keep their same e-mail.|
|Evaluating the effectiveness of your campaign||While new things like personalized URLs allow direct mail campaigns to track people who have actually received/taken action, it’s very difficult to assess the effectiveness of your campaign.Unless people take action, by redeeming and offer or coupon, evaluating the penetration of your campaign is hard.||Since you are able to track who opens your e-mail and what they do with it, it’s easy to know if your campaign accomplished the goal you soughtto accomplish.|
|Expanding your reach||Direct mail can be a dead-end in terms of reaching new customers.Rarely will a piece of direct mail lead you to a completely new customer.They also cannot be duplicated easily—making it harder to pass on to others.||The ability to forward and e-mail can allow you to reach many more customers you didn’t even know existed.With a click of a button, your e-mail could be sent to hundreds of other people in a split-second, getting the word out faster than a piece of direct mail.|
|Time||A direct mail piece can take months to get off the ground.Take a week for a finalized design, up to 2 weeks for printing, couple of days for addressing, 2 days to deliver to the post office, 3-5 days to arrive to the target address, that’s over a month already.And remember, you can only work on business days—weekends don’t count.||With e-mail marketing campaigns, there is no printing time and no need to get to a post office.Your e-mail can be sent as early or as late in the night as you want it. No batches, it’s sent to all your recipients simultaneously. The beauty of it, it’s in your recipient’s inbox within seconds.|