Direct Mail Vs
Email Marketing: Which is Right for You

In a growing technological age, email marketing has become a prime tool for promoting one’s business. The instant delivery, links that people can follow, and easily measured results make it an attractive option for many.

In a growing technological age, email marketing has become a prime tool for promoting one’s business. The instant delivery, links that people can follow, and easily measured results make it an attractive option for many.

Despite that, direct mail marketing is still alive and kicking. Furthermore, some businesses may benefit more from it than email marketing. When developing an ad strategy and deciding between direct mail vs email marketing, it’s important to know the pros and cons of each so you can determine which approach is right for you.


In 2019, marketers would make $42 for every $1 spent on email marketing. That’s a crazy return on investment! The platform is also very widely used by most marketers, which means that they have seen great success with it. It’s likely that email marketing is right for you, but it’s important to know the pros and cons first.

Pros of Email Marketing 

  • Email marketing is cost-effective. You can send hundreds of emails to customers without spending very much. Unlike direct-mail marketing, you won’t be spending postage every time you want to send a message to a customer.
  • Email marketing is easily measurable. With popular platforms, such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact, email marketing provides you with all the results and data you need to make informed decisions for your advertising. Where people click, how many recipients turn into paying customers, and more can all be tracked via email marketing.
  • You can automate the process. Want to send a customer a welcome email once they subscribe to your list? You can do that with email marketing. Furthermore, if you want to send a multi-step campaign over a period of weeks, you can create what you need and schedule it appropriately. Email marketing can be automated so you’re left to watch the results.

Cons of Email Marketing

  • Email marketing is easily ignored. Gmail and Outlook can easily filter through the emails you send to your customers and throw them in the Promotions or Junk tabs. Without a guaranteed way to end up in your customer’s primary inbox, the chance of them opening it is relatively low. They can even opt out with the push of a button.
  • You run into technical problems. You never know if someone is reading an email on their desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It’s easy for design issues to slip into the cracks, leading people frustrated and quickly throwing your email into the junk bin.
  • It takes more experimentation. It can be a while before you find your groove with email marketing. Just about everything is important, from the headline all the way down to the margins. It’s hard to determine what makes someone open an email or delete it, and it can take a lot of experimentation to discover it.


While direct-mail marketing might seem a bit old-fashioned, the truth is quite the opposite. It can be up to 8 times more effective than digital marketing! As it turns out, people still love getting mail. If you’re thinking about using it in your own campaigns, here are some pros and cons to know beforehand.

Pros of Direct-Mail Marketing

  • Direct-mail marketing puts your message in front of your customer. Mail is almost always immediately sorted when someone picks it up. Whether they open it or not, they hold your letter in their hand. The key is to make sure you get put in the keep pile and not the junk pile.
  • Direct-mail marketing can be much more personal. One of the reasons direct-mail marketing yields great results is because it can have a much more personal touch. Letters can come with handwritten additions, markings, and freebies included that make customers feel much more special than an email with a first and last name block.
  • The return for direct-mail marketing can be much higher. While you might not reach the same volume of people with direct mail that you would with email, the returns can be much greater. People tend to make larger purchases or become more loyal customers with direct mail.

Cons of Direct-Mail Marketing

  • Direct-mail marketing is difficult to measure. If you’re running a direct-mail campaign, there’s no easy way to track results. At best, you can come up with a rough estimate, but it will never be as precise as using an online system or CRM software. This can make it difficult to adjust a campaign.
  • Direct-mail marketing can be cumbersome. Stuffing envelopes and stamping addresses is a lot of grunt work. It will naturally take longer and require more resources to pull off. You also must consider the cost of postage, paper, and printer ink to get the job done.
  • Direct-mail marketing can target people who don’t care about your business. While email marketing can be specifically targeted, the same can’t be said for direct mail. It is often targeted based on locality rather than interest, which leads to many people becoming irritated, giving your business a bed reputation.

When choosing between direct mail vs email marketing, there are many things to consider. However, a great marketer knows when to make use of one, the other, or both.
At Greenbaum Stiers, we provide years of experience in direct mail, email, and multi-channel campaigns so we can breathe life into your brand. Contact us for your free marketing review today!

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