Email vs. Direct Mail
Last week we discussed newsletters as an inexpensive marketing tool. If approached correctly, they can be a great way to reach members of your niche market, exposing countless potential clients to your value and expertise. Before the internet, direct mailings were the most effective means of distributing newsletters. But these days you’ll find that many businesses are taking advantage of email newsletters (like Universal Accounting Center). Each has its own set of pros and cons and you may find that both can serve different purposes. We suggest you read the following before you decide.
Quick. There are no copies to be made, no envelopes to be stuffed, and the time it takes to travel from your email program (or e-newsletter service) to a recipient’s inbox is mere minutes, if not seconds. This also applies to any response you might see, either in sales or increased interest in your services.Inexpensive. The actual cost of sending an email as opposed to a direct-mailing is, well, nothing. However, you must consider all the hidden costs associated with an email newsletter. There’s the cost involved in paying for a service to format and manage your newsletters. If you choose, it will also cost you to enlist the help of a copywriter to compose compelling text. And don’t forget any costs associated with graphics you might use.Connected. You can provide an innumerable number of links to more information, promotions, etc. Imagine what you might pay to send hardcopies of all this information to everyone on your mailing list.
Spam. People are sick and tired of wading through a jam-packed inbox. As they weed through emails they are quick to delete anything that doesn’t interest them. Unfortunately, your email newsletter might get lost in all that spam and may not even get opened, regardless of how tantalizing the content might be.Limiting. Technology in general has shortened our attention span. If we don’t like a television program or the commercial sponsoring it, we use the remote to find something different. If we don’t like a website we click the “back” bottom. And if an email newsletter gets too long, we simply delete it. We expect email to be short and sweet which limits your newsletter’s length and the amount of detail you can include. And compared to a flashy mail insert, the visual appeal of an email newsletter is limiting.
Effective. While many complain of “junk mail,” direct-mail seems to sustain promotional materials better than email. People are generally more patient when thumbing through their mailboxes than they are when clicking through their inboxes. And you have to admit, the number of mailers competing for attention are fewer than what they might find online.Flexible. You can include lengthier copy than you could in the electronic environment. Readers are much more tolerant of detail in a direct-mailing than they are with email. And you can include separate pieces, like a coupon, for example, that recipients find appealing. Consider all the promotional materials you’re currently saving for later use, whether they’re hanging by a magnet on your refrigerator or tucked into the fold of your wallet.
Cost. This is probably the biggest discriminating factor that prohibits business owners from choosing to use a direct-mail newsletter. Mailing costs can be excessive, especially if you have a lengthy mailing list. But you may consider more creative ways of distributing a newsletter. You can include them with the invoices you send customers, distribute them from a magazine display in your office, or carry a stack with you to a professional conference or business expo.
You can see there are advantages and disadvantages to both email newsletters and direct-mail newsletters. We share this information not to encourage you to choose one over the other, but to recognize that both might have a place in your marketing plan. Consider how each may be used to increase your exposure and appeal to potential clients. And then test-run a newsletter or two of your own.