Direct Mail Marketing Vs Email Marketing: What’s Best for Your Small Business?

Small businesses cannot ignore the power of direct mail marketing and email marketing. Of course, both have their advantages and disadvantages. But, both are an efficient and costeffective way to find new customers, make new sales, up-sell to current customers, and stay connected with existing customers. And best of all, both of these marketing methods can be easily implemented into the marketing plans of even the smallest business on a very tight budget. Here is a quick overview and comparison of both methods.

Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is not dead. It is still as powerful as it has ever been. One of the best things about direct mail marketing is that it has the ability to get your message into the hands of your prospects.

1. Recipients More Receptive

Many people are still not using email. Plus the fact that people will most likely spend more time reading a post card or letter than they will an email. Getting a beautiful post card or envelope into the recipient’s hand can be a powerful tool. As long as you design your marketing material so that it catches the reader’s eye, they will read your message. So much of the mail marketing pieces that arrive in a person’s mailbox is so poorly designed, that much of it gets ignored. Make your piece stand out from the rest, and they will read your message.

2. Can Become Expensive

If you are not targeting the correct audience, you will be wasting time and money. Sending marketing materials directly to specific people at specific addresses will keep your costs way down, and greatly improve your chances of making a sale.

3. Can Be Time Consuming

Building a mail list, and designing amazing marketing materials to send out, takes time, thought, and money. But as a small business, you must always be adding to and improving your mail list and marketing materials. Right from day one. Many small businesses, home-based businesses, and professional practices will live or die based on how good their mail list and marketing materials are.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is amazingly cheap, quick, and easy to implement, but it will not be replacing direct mail for a very long time. One of the best things about email is that it is trackable. This data can be used to analyze open rates, clicked links, and conversion details. All of this data can help you fine-tune your email content and message.

1. Very Inexpensive

You can easily start an email list and not spend one cent. But getting email addresses from anyone beyond your current customers can be very time-consuming. But eventually you will build a larger list. Then you will need an email service company to manage and send your email messages. Many of these service companies have a free plan to manage up to a certain amount of addresses.

2. Very Fast

Once your emails are designed and set-up, you can send out a mass email in a few minutes. Your recipients will start opening your email message a few minutes after you sent it. You will start to get hits on your website a few minutes later. Amazingly fast.

3. Very Convenient

Providing clickable links to your products and services makes an email very convenient for the recipients. These links allow the recipients to quickly understand what your email is trying to tell them, and sell them. This speed is one of the major reasons most of us enjoy emails.

What’s Best for Your Small Business?

Don’t be afraid to use both methods at the same time. Direct mail might work better for some of your prospects and current customers. Email might work better for the others. Each method has several similarities, and several important differences. You will need to decide which method, or both, is the best for your small business. The reality of the situation is that direct mail and email marketing are a perfect match for each other. Each method makes up for the shortcomings of the other. Used together they create a powerful tool to use in your marketing plan.

Here Are Some Questions To Ask Yourself

Is your communication time-sensitive? Do you have a budget to work with? How much explanation do your prospects require? Do you have a good mail list for one method or both? Have you already asked your current customers to join your mail and email list? Are some, most, or all of your customers online?

Direct Mail Marketing: A Better Way?

It’s often called “Junque Mail.” And with good reason! Why the fancy spelling? Because any way you spell it, “junk mail” is often very expensive – and not always profitable.

Actually – and take it from someone who was once responsible for upward of 50 million pieces of direct mail a year – the return on investment (ROI) is often marginal at best.

First off, there are no guarantees of success. In most cases the advertiser will be lucky if even two people out of 100 who receive a particular piece of direct mail buy what’s being offered. That means 980 recipients out of ever 1,000 who receive that direct mail “package” or “kit” as they’re known, will throw it out.

At a cost of between $500 and $800 per thousand kits to produce, that’s a lot of precious advertising dollars ending up in the trash bin. For the uninitiated, a “package” or “kit” includes a variety of items in the envelope reaching a home.

There’s the traditional sales letter, usually from one to four pages long. Then the brochure describing in words and pictures what that sales letter could describe only in words. There’s also a “response device.” Never call it an Order Form. Heaven forbid! It can be called a “Membership Application,” a “Certificate,” a “Response Card,” but never an “Order Form” because people baulk at ordering.

“Ordering” anything instantly communicates the expectation that the person ordering will have to pay for what was ordered. But “joining” or “responding”? Well, it may take a little longer to realize, but that, too, must be paid for.

In addition to the all of the above, there’s also the postage-paid “BRE,” short for Business Reply Envelope. Or the no-postage-paid, preaddressed “CRE,” Courtesy Reply Envelope. Gotta have something to put that “Membership Application” in, right?

Oh, and most kits also include the infamous “lift note,” a little piece of colored paper that says in essence, “If you’ve decided not to accept our offer, but before you throw our expensive direct mail package in with the trash, please read this.” It’s a last ditch attempt to get you to do what? To order, of course!

And did I mention one of the major roadblocks to using direct mail kits? Getting people to actually open the envelope in which all that stuff is stuffed. Unless there’s a “grabber” printed on the front of that envelope, a few choice words that make a recipient want to instantly tear open the envelope, that recipient, along with 98 percent of the others, will pitch their unopened envelopes in the waste basket. And, yes, there are specialists who get paid big bucks to right effective “grabber” words.

Is there a better way, a less expensive way, a more effective way to use the mail to sell an individual product or service? My suggestion, based on how well they seem to be working for a growing number of companies, is postcards. No, not those dinky little old-fashioned ones. I’m talking about really big postcards, giant postcards, living color postcards, even die-cut postcards, ones in the shapes of cars, or trucks, or cuddly kitty cats.

With these kinds of postcards, there’s no envelope that most be opened before an offer can be read. The message, whatever product, service or idea is being sold, will be right there in gorgeous living color for the world to see. And, because of limited space – a smaller “canvas” on which to paint a rosy word picture of the product or service – there will be fewer words for the recipient to read. Strange as it seems, people seem to avoid reading these days. They do, however, like colorful pictures.

Mailing list costs are the same for postcards or kits, but the cost of printing postcards will be significantly less. No longer in that $500 to $800 range. Less than half of that. Much less. So, if you want to be a real standout in someone’s mail box, testing several types of postcards could be worth your effort. Testing, after all, is a large part of what marketing is all about.

Direct Mail and Direct Mail Marketing for Window Cleaning Services

Do you own a window cleaning and weekly washing service? Are your crews operating at a maximum? Do you have spaces in your schedule on certain days? Would you like to add crews and do more business? There are significant customers who currently are not using your services; do you want them to start using your window cleaning services? There is a way you know? How so you ask?

A robust yet inexpensive marketing and advertising program might do the trick. Let me explain; you see, direct mail and direct-mail marketing coupon packages for window washing and window cleaning services makes sense to attract new customers and build up your scheduled routes. It is recommended that you send out direct-mail marketing to zip codes within a 15-mile radius of the area you wish to service.

It is smart to concentrate on zip codes that have high net worth individuals and businesses. These direct-mail marketing packages should be sent out three to four times per year. It is unwise to send them out every month as you will be over saturating the area and perhaps even cause concern with current customers who are paying full-price?

Indeed, if you own a window cleaning service or a weekly the window washing service you should consider this in 2006 as an excellent way to advertise and market your business.