Direct Mail vs. Email: Which Channel Should You Focus on in 2018?

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With the New Year now here, it's the perfect time to plan ahead for an effective new campaign this year. Take a step back and re-evaluate which marketing channels are giving you the most bang for your buck.

Harvard Business School finds the most effective advertising strategies combine multiple advertising channels to reach a larger audience. Fifty-one percent of consumers specifically prefer companies to communicate with them using a combination of mail and email. Knowing how and when to use direct mail or email will be crucial to your success in 2018.

Direct Mail

People are already speculating about technological advances this year: advanced self-driving vehicles, augmented reality and robots that are eerily similar to humans. With our increasingly technological world, why would marketers take a step back by continuing to send direct mail pieces?

In this digital era, it may be hard to believe, but 79 percent of consumers will act on direct mail immediately. Furthermore, for every 5,000 targeted customers, direct mail receives 175 responses.

Advertisers use direct mail for a number of reasons:

  • It’s Targeted — Direct mail pieces are the only way to accurately reach the demographics of your specified market. After you’ve analyzed who you’re trying to reach, you can easily target that demographic within specific ZIP codes, but that’s not so easy with radio or TV.
  • It’s Cost Effective — You save time and money by creating a strict target market and sticking to it. The majority of your advertising dollars will be well spent with this approach because while email is significantly cheaper at first glance, the cost per sale is much cheaper with direct mail.
  • It’s MeasurableUSPS has Intelligent Mail Barcodes, so marketers can track every piece they send out to prospects. Another way to easily see which campaigns are successful is to place a unique toll-free number (TFN) on the direct mail piece and track the number of phone calls it generates.

Not everyone will respond well to receiving direct mail, but with all the benefits, it’s worth a shot!


By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll probably have an email waiting for you in your inbox. With 269 billion emails circulating daily, email is definitely not dead — that number is only increasing. How can you benefit from using this channel?
  • It’s Inexpensive — For every dollar marketers spend on it, email marketing generates $38 in ROI, which is the highest conversion rate across all channels. If you don’t use email, your bottom line could be negatively impacted.
  • It’s Easily Accessible — On average, Americans check their phone every 12 minutes, and 91 percent of them check their email every day. It’s one of the easiest ways to deliver your message to your prospect.
  • It’s Measurable — Email is easily tracked, and email marketing platforms have granular analytics to help you fine-tune your email marketing strategy. To drive and track offline response rates, you can add a Click To Talk button to your emails.

Email is clearly here to stay, but to maximize your reach, be sure to combine it with direct mail and other channels.

Integrated, Multi-Channel Marketing

After discussing only two of numerous options for marketing channels, it’s clear why these specific mediums will continue to be beneficial to your 2018 plans. Using direct mail and email together — and monitoring your results with call tracking — strengthens the effectiveness of your marketing. Plus, 72 percent of consumers want an integrated marketing approach.

How do you plan on achieving a successfully integrated marketing campaign for 2018?