Direct Mail vs Email

Direct Mail vs Email

We are living in an increasingly digitalised world. It appears that as our lives become more consumed by digital media, we start to give less time and attention to the messages we receive. The average lifespan of an email is now just 2 seconds and brand recall directly after seeing a digital ad is just 44%, compared to direct mail which has a brand recall of 75%.

Much has been said about the efficacy of direct mail and email marketing. However, the truth is that the only risk to email marketing and direct mail is the misuse of each channel by marketers who don’t take advantage of everything each channel presents.

Let’s look into the pro’s and con’s of each channel.

Email Marketing

Direct Mail





Time saving
Brand retention
Time consuming
Real- time marketing
Undelivered emails
Highly trusted
Requires testing
Easily shared
Size issues
High open rates
Less affordable
Reach millions
Creativity can be
Perception of not being environmentally friendly*
Immediate response
Low open rates
Highly personalised
Highly targeted

With the right data, each channel can make the other better. Here are some ways to align and combine the strengths of email and direct mail.

  • Send direct mail to email non-responders. If you have postal address data on your customers and your email is flagging, mail may bring them back.
  • Follow up a mail campaign with email. Again, it’s about reaching customers where they may be more comfortable engaging your brand.
  • Sneak preview a high-value print piece using email. When you’re about to mail a special offer, or maybe a high-quality personalised mailer, let your customer know it’s coming, to build anticipation.
  • Prospect with direct mail for email. Ask your prospects to opt in to your email mailing list on your landing page, send a mail piece offering something of value (e.g., a discount) for responding.
  • Respond to cart abandonment with both channels. When a customer exits your ecommerce website and leaves items behind in their cart, launch a follow-up reminder to bring them back and recover the sale.

Key takeaways

Direct mail and email marketing are both very effective channels when used correctly. Using a multichannel approach develops a unique strategy and helps to take advantage of each channel’s strengths.

Want to learn more about a multichannel approach? Get in touch with us today for additional guidance on direct mail services. Please email us at or call us on 01905 621 118.

*Direct mail and print in general are often perceived as not being environmentally friendly. However, this is not the case, we are proud members of Two Sides who promote the sustainability of paper and dispel common environmental misconceptions, by providing verifiable information on why print and paper is a sustainable communications medium.

Did you know that in 2016 alone, 44.7 million tonnes of e-waste were generated globally, of which 435 thousand tonnes were mobile phones, representing more than the mass of the Empire State Building?!

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