Direct Mail Marketing vs. Email Marketing

Direct Mail is said to have become a thing of the past or already dead, however studies still show that direct mail is still the favourable means of marketing to consumers with the higher return vs. email marketing. When it comes to prospecting new clients, in my opinion Direct Mail still comes out on top. It has many more benefits than going digital but of course comes with the one major down side which is the up front cost.

If you were to calculate the return rate however, you will find that direct mail marketing far surpassed email marketing. That’s not to say you should stop using email marketing and switch completely to direct mail, you should be using a balance of both methods in my opinion. When it comes to promotional events, prospecting potential new clients, direct mail will always come out on top.

In a study performed by the DMA (Direct Mail Association), it was found that direct mail generates more new customers and proven to be more effective than email by 10-30 times.
This Graph by the DMA illustrates the differences between all marketing avenues in closing new prospects.

Consumers prefer Direct Mail over Email Marketing

Studies performed by Epsilon also indicated that approximately 50% of US and Canadian consumers paid more attention to postal marketing vs. emails. Also in the same study, 73% of Americans and 67% of Canadian consumers said they preferred Direct Mail for brand communication as they can read it in more detail at their convenience as emails would be skimmed through quickly, which is also another reason why Direct Mail is far more effective at closing the sale and bringing in more new customers.

Quality or Quantity, Direct Mail Wins

Whether its quality of the email list you are getting or the quantity of correct emails, direct mail tends to win with more accurate mailing lists as you have a 99% accuracy rate with direct mail vs 80% accuracy rate of emails. Most people have an email address they tend to use just for signing up online in order to reduce the spam in their personal email account, which also means they do not check it as often. For those that only have the one email account, they are usually overwhelmed with emails and spam that the click through rate is very low in email marketing which is why you need so many email addresses, usually 10-30 times more than direct mail to get prospects into your business.

Less Competition

Now more than ever, consumers are bombarded and overwhelmed with email marketing that direct mail is now the less cluttered way of advertising. You will get higher response rates by using direct mail now more than the last few years.

It’s not often that you receive the quality postcard or special offer in the mail anymore and they feel special now if they do receive one which creates excitement and a response.


The quality of email addresses is very poor as email lists do not provide you the top quality filtering and demographics breakdown one is looking for such as Smart Targeted Mailing list.

Delivery Rate

The delivery rate of direct mail marketing is usually in the 95% – 98% rate whereby email delivery rate is usually in the 50% rate. Nowadays most email providers and ISP’s have built in filters to key phrases such as “Special Offers” “Great Giveaways” “Promotional Offer” etc… where as if you have the address correct for their home, they will get it and they will look at your ad with a 95% view rate with direct mail.

Direct Mail and Email Combined

One way of getting your email marketing working for your is to send out a postcard to your already customer and notify them that they will be receiving a great email offer in the next week and to keep their eye open for it. This will create the anticipation and excitement while helping you build your rapport with the client and your email campaigns. Using them in conjunction will help increase sales. The email they now will be waiting for can also push them to your other online social marketing sites and links.
The USPS shows Direct Mail marketing as the highest form of ROI in advertising, see graph.


To summarize, email marketing is losing it’s ground fast when it comes to prospecting new customers and direct mail has proven to be the best form of advertising for prospecting new customers. Once you have gain the new customers, email marketing is a great and affordable way to communicate and stay updated with your current client database but reality is, you need to find those customers first! As i always say, “if you build it, they will come….only works for baseball fields and dead people, not businesses”.