When businesses are more contentious about their ROI, marketers are looking for new avenues to try to find the next silver bullet. Email marketing has emerged as the new darling in the marketing world but not without its pitfalls. While a larger or specialized business may have immediate success with email, this is not necessarily the case for the traditional small to medium-sized business.
Often email marketing is an area ventured into casually – but without the strategy or the time investment – this can be a disastrous decision for a critical time in a company’s marketing calendar. And this new ‘experiment’ usually comes at the expense of other much more profitable areas of their advertising – such as direct mail.
While on the surface email marketing may seem like a fantastic and affordable option – most small to medium-sized businesses have little experience or the technological resources readily available to create and target their digital creative in a way that will not only ensure readability but ensure deliverability. Having one email template not compatible with a particular email reader or not adhering to delivery standards and ending up in a SPAM folder are all too frequent occurrences. Even generating or purchasing a qualified email list to send an offer to is an increasingly difficult proposition. People change email addresses quite frequently, and more often than not, they have more than one. Hitting your target recipient and having them read your message and act on it is more complex than you imagine.
Direct mail works because it’s designed to reach potential customers during their time not spent online. It’s a controlled message that’s delivered right into the hands of your targeted market. Best of all, it works because your direct mail piece isn’t fighting or competing with pages of websites links or keywords, just your bills or mortgage payment. And who wants to read those? And big business knows this – even big digital business.
Look at Google. There is no better example of a corporate giant in the digital space. Google owns one of the largest email platforms globally – Gmail – and can talk to and target virtually anyone they want at any time. Yet interestingly enough, a very large part of Google’s Global business acquisition strategy for AdWords, AdSense, and even businesses utilizing Places/Maps uses both print and direct mail advertising. They do this because direct mail is targeted, it is measurable, and it is producing results. It gets suitable to business owners and decision-makers.
Direct mail works because there are specific direct marketing rules that have been so finely tuned that any experienced marketer would cry if you took away their DM budget for a ‘chance at going digital’. Google has a few experienced marketers on its staff. The next time someone tells you that direct mail doesn’t work – ask them if they’ve ever heard of a bit of a company named Google.