Five Must-know Facts About E-mail and Direct Mail
2. E-mail Campaigns: Least Effective, But Most Cost-Efficient
If a prospect raises her hand (permitting further communication) and is moving toward a sale, then e-mail is more effective than direct mail, claims Stein, who mentions that e-mail also works well with customers in a continuing purchase situation (books, music, clothing, etc.).
If that hand is not up, however, then e-mail usually is sent to the ignominious spam dungeon. “In general, e-mail marketing is the least effective means of marketing but the most efficient,” states Bly.
He gives the following illustration. When you send out an e-mail, only a small percentage click the link to go to your Web page, and only a small percentage of those who read the landing page copy order the product. So an e-mail for a $100 product sent to a list of 50,000 e-zine subscribers might produce only 50 orders—a 0.1 percent order rate.
Meanwhile, a direct mail package might pull 10 times more orders, or 1 percent. However, the direct mail package costs $700/M to mail, while the e-mail to your opt-in list costs virtually nothing to mail. “This makes online marketing less risky and more profitable,” suggests Bly.
3. Direct Mail: The Old Horse Holds Steady, But E-mail …
The question, in the fast-moving, high-tech universe, is how long e-mail will hold its value. Neil Feinstein, director of creative strategy at True North Inc.—a New York–based advertising agency specializing in direct mail and Web design—sees its value as already greatly diminished. “Each channel has its strengths and weaknesses. And I think that while the strength of direct mail is holding steady, e-mail is waning,” he says.
“Spam and phishing, of course, are the main culprits [behind e-mail’s declining fortune]. So consumers have found ways to communicate directly without having to force their message through multiple servers and filters,” reveals Feinstein, who names social sites and instant messaging as two significant players that compete with e-mail for playing time.