Email vs. Direct Mail

One of the most controversial subjects in modern marketing is whether email or direct mail is the best way to reach target audiences. Although colloquially, most people assume that digitisation has taken over and email is king, statistics suggest that although EDM is a popular medium, it doesn’t have the kind of traction that a direct mail campaign can produce. This week, we weigh up the relative pros and cons of each medium.


One of the key advantages that email has over direct mail is that it costs next to nothing to design and send. Marketers can send out millions of emails at a time and even if the response rate is abysmal, the ROI is still economically justifiable due to the negligible costs involved. By contrast, it costs money to develop, print and post direct mail, so marketers need to have an iron clad mailing list to ensure a good rate of return.


This is another area where email trumps direct mail, as it not only takes no time at all to create an EDM and send it off, but the recipient gets the email instantly and can respond within minutes. This agility makes email the perfect medium for market testing. By contrast, direct mail takes time to design, print, and mail, so there is no immediate way of testing out material.


The email environment is overcrowded with spam, and recipients are often so overwhelmed by the amount of email marketing in their inbox that they’ll nix anything that looks remotely like advertising without giving it a second thought. Direct mail on the other hand, is much more likely to be read as it comes in smaller volumes, and it’s immediacy prompts the recipient to glance over it, if only whilst sifting through the mail on the way from the post box to the front door.

Creative potential

Email marketing doesn’t give you a lot of wiggle room in terms of creativity. A catchy image and a short, concise message is about all you can do before the instantaneous accessibility of the EDM wears thin and the reader moves your email into the trash bin. Direct mail on the other hand is a medium where you can flex your creative muscles in terms of colour, images, texture and content. This medium is ideal if you want to explain different aspects of your business to the reader as they are more likely to read through the content.

Direct Mail Solutions is an established direct mail marketing solutions provider based in Melbourne.

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