Direct Mail

Direct Mail vs. Email: 5 Reasons Why Direct Mail Wins


You will not be unaware of the age-old battle between direct mail and email. Since we live in such a digitally driven age, there is the argument that more traditional advertising methods, such as direct mail, belong in the past, with email being the most effective marketing method. However, this is not the case. We believe that the best way to market to your customers is to combine both direct mail with email, as part of an integrated marketing strategy throughout all stages of the marketing funnel.

Although email does have its benefits, such as a reduced cost, there are multiple reasons why direct mail outperforms email as a marketing communications tool. Keep reading to find out the 5 reasons why direct mail wins.

  1. Permission

Direct mail wins over email marketing when it comes to GDPR and permission to send marketing material to customers. The impact GDPR has on email marketing is immense and in short, means that you can only send marketing emails to customers who have knowingly opted in to receive your marketing communications via email, thus making it difficult to reach out to new leads and grow your customer base. Companies can also struggle to get customers to sign up to their database in the first place.

However, with direct mail only legitimate interest is needed to be able to contact customers, meaning any type of processing for any reasonable purpose. There is also more flexibility when it comes to contacting new customers. For instance, you can use partially addressed mail which targets a household rather than an individual and doesn’t use their personal details.

  1. Easier to Target Large Audiences

Direct mail also allows you to send marketing communications out to target large audiences much easier, quicker and more efficiently than via email. To build an email base takes a lot of time and effort, especially with the GDPR approved opt-in requirement. This means it is not easy to contact potential and current customers if they haven’t signed up to your database. On the other hand, using direct mail allows you to source contacts more freely, such as using households and their postcodes, as well as other geological data, whilst still abiding by the laws of GDPR.

  1. Direct Mail is More Memorable

Direct mail is also a much more memorable customer experience compared to receiving a marketing email. The average person receives around 100 emails per day, compared to a handful of letters. An email is therefore likely to be missed, lost in the receivers inbox or simply deleted right away.

In comparison, a direct mailing will sit in a home for a number of days and research shows that advertisement recall was 70% higher when a customer was exposed to direct mail rather than a digital advert. 

  1. Direct Mail Generates Better Response Rates

Research shows that direct mail actually generates better response rates than email, in terms of motivational responses such as making a purchase, donating, getting in touch or whatever the call to action was on the direct mailer.

Research conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) states that direct mail generates a response rate of 4.4% compared to the average 0.12% response rate of email. It is suggested that this could be due to the longer shelf-life of direct mail and the general household reach it has compared to email. Additional research from RetailWire shows that direct mail stays within a home for an average of 17 days, compared to just 2 seconds for email.

  1. Direct Mail is a Less Saturated Marketing Channel

Much less direct mail is sent a day than marketing emails. The majority of email inboxes are oversaturated with marketing messages and many companies find it difficult for their voices to be heard, especially from just a subject line.

However, the direct mail channel is a much less saturated one, meaning companies and brands can really get noticed and grab the customer’s attention. This, in turn, will result in increased engagement as well as help to build a positive relationship with customers, who will feel acknowledged and special for receiving a mailing through the post, especially if it is personalised to them.

For more information on direct mail and how it can benefit your marketing strategy get in touch online or call us on 020 8492 5858.