July 11, 2022

Direct Mail Vs Email: See What The Statistics Prove

direct mail vs email

Why is there the battle of direct mail vs email? Marketers often argue which is better among these two top tactics. Which have you put your money on?

Some choose only one because of budget limits, or a lack of time or resources. Yet there’s a bigger reason: most people have written off one of these tactics as ineffective.

Here’s an important question: What do the numbers prove?

Knowing the statistics may change your mind. In fact, acting on these facts can open up great opportunities for you.

Email marketing vs direct mail for list building

One DMA study shows it costs $22.50 to acquire a customer with email, while direct mail costs $43.90 to gain a customer. This looks like it’s twice as expensive to use direct mail to get new clients. However, there is more you should consider. The study also reveals that 4.4% of people respond to direct mail while only 0.12% respond to emails.

A Royal Mail Research Report indicates your success with either will depend on what you are sending. According to their study, twice as many people prefer direct mail for brochures, catalogs, welcome packs, bills and statements.

Email and direct mail are nearly equal for sending reminders, issues and complaints. However, consumers strongly prefer email for receiving info about new companies, getting a list of products and services, or for confirmation messages, news and updates.

Of the 2,375 people surveyed, people want emails for whatever is quick, informal and spontaneous. What they said about direct mail is also very revealing. They associate direct mail pieces with items that are official, formal, reliable, important and personal.

Why should you consider using email along with direct mail for list building?

Royal Mail Research indicates that 65% of people, when given a choice, prefer to browse a catalog as well as online before they buy something. Can you use both? This study also shows that both methods used together will improve your brand awareness.

Direct mail vs email marketing for personalization

direct mail vs email

Years ago, people were astounded to see their own name in an email. Now they barely notice. Your email text immediately needs to spark an emotion, such as curiosity, joy or humor to get people to take action. Yet personalizing an email is easy. Templates allow you to use anything you know about the customer to add personal touches.

Personalizing direct mail is also easy. In addition to the obvious – using their first and last name – you can include images of previous purchases. Promo codes can also be personal. You can also use events such as webinars your prospect registered for.

The important thing is that you personalize your messages. McKinsey & Company says: “Our research shows that 71 percent of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. And 76 percent get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.

How can you use direct mail along with email to improve personalization?

Use the strengths of direct mail for your initial contact with people.

A study by the Data & Marketing Association reports that 79% respond to direct mail immediately, while only 45% act quickly on emails. A GLW Media study shows direct mail has an average lifespan of 17 days while email only lasts an average of 2 seconds. A Small Business Trends survey declares that 70% of consumers feel direct mail is more personal than online interactions.

Include a QR code on your mail piece. A ComScore Mobile 2019 study announced that 11 million people in the US now use QR Codes to get the following:

If your objective is to deliver one of these three, why not use direct mail to deliver your message with a QR code? Then you can further personalize your communication with follow-up emails. Reach out to those who scanned the code but didn’t buy, sign up or download.

What do direct mail vs email statistics prove about engagement?

Engagement really means consumers take the action that you want them to. This is all about Return On Investment (ROI). In an ANA survey of 1250 people over the first half of 2021, direct mail has a 112% ROI while email has a 93% ROI.

Does this mean that direct mail is a clear winner here? Keep in mind these numbers are averages. There are ways to raise your ROI for email as well as direct mail. The same study explains that 53% of respondents plan to increase their use of email over the next 12 months.

How to help email reach your audience?

How can you use direct mail along with email to improve engagement?

Let’s say you have someone’s email, but not their physical address. Why not offer an incentive? Ask them to give their address in exchange for information or a gift they want that’s not available in your emails or on your website. Then you can use direct mail in your marketing with them.

direct mail vs email

The Royal Mail Research study shows both methods used together will improve the customer’s experience and increase your ROI. In fact, customers will spend 25% more when companies use both email and direct mail in their marketing. Several studies report how using more than one communication channel multiplies your effectiveness.

What direct mail vs email mean for you?

Which is better – email or direct mail? The numbers say this is the wrong question. Both are profitable, winning marketing methods. Here is the right question:

How can you use both of them together to increase your profits?

When comparing direct mail vs email, statistics reveal the strengths and weaknesses of each. Use this knowledge to create a lasting impression with direct mail, then reinforce your message with emails.

These are your new marketing strategy key elements.


We enjoy helping businesses succeed with their email and direct mail marketing.

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