Five Must-know Facts About E-mail and Direct Mail
Direct mail and e-mail have much in common. As part of the direct response media arsenal, they try to do many of the same things with their efforts. They seek to attract attention, stimulate desire, build credibility, generate involvement and, ultimately, ask for action, says Lee Marc Stein, a Philadelphia–based direct marketing consultant, copywriter and author of “Street Smart Direct Marketing.”
How they get there, however, is another matter altogether. “While they require the same understanding of direct marketing principles, there are differences in creative tactics—and e-mail requires even more emphasis on the offer than direct mail,” explains Stein.
Maybe you’re about to launch a new combo campaign of direct mail and e-mail, or you want to tweak the effort and need some pointers. Maybe you’re uncertain about which channel to invest time and money into, especially with competing new media existing as alternative options. Here are five cutting-edge facts, provided by three of the top copywriters in the direct marketing industry, about the relationship of e-mail and direct mail that will help.
1. Separate Channels Often Go Down Separate Streams, But Not Always
“It is unpredictable,” says Bob Bly, a Dumont, N.J.–based copywriter and author of “The Copywriter’s Handbook, Third Edition: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells.” “Often, I am tempted to say direct mail does not do well at driving sales online, and that if you want to get somebody to click onto your Web site URL, usually the better way to do it is generate the click online—via e-mail, banner ads, co-registration, viral marketing—and not offline (direct mail, print ads, postcards).”
At the same time, Bly admits to having written many successful promotions for online trading and investing services that were print magalogs, driving the prospect to a Web site to order. “When in doubt, though, online marketing is best for getting people to click on a URL, [and] direct mail is best for getting a reply card or order form returned, or a call to an 800 number,” he asserts.