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Direct Mail vs. Email Facts

Using direct mail vs. email marketing is a choice that every business has to face. Direct mail and email marketing go hand in hand, but many companies are replacing their direct mail campaigns with email marketing. Out of all of the companies that take advantage of marketing automation, 95% use email marketing (1). This high percentage of use leaves an ever bigger need to fill in the direct mail campaign. Direct mail might be seen as an old way of marketing, but here are some modern day facts that you may not know about direct mail:

Happy woman reading received letter standing among mailboxes

1) Direct mail has a lower Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) than email

While the cost of customer acquisition may be close, direct mail is actually slightly lower at $51.40 per lead vs. email marketing at $55.24 per lead. Email marketing’s low initial costs can seem appealing, but direct mail has been shown to be more effective for acquiring customers (2).

2) Direct mail has a higher response rate than email

Direct mail drives a higher average response rate of 4.4% compared to email at 0.12% (3). This is most likely due to higher engagement in email marketing as companies adopt digital marketing. The result is an email inbox full of spam where your company’s message gets lost. This makes the next fact even more important.

3) Direct mail is more likely to drive behavior than email

Direct mail surpasses the motivation-to-cognitive load ratio of 1 or higher. What does this mean? Anything that has a motivation-to-cognitive load ratio of 1 or higher is most likely to trigger action from the customer. In a study from the Canada Post Corporation, direct mail achieved a motivation-to-cognitive load ratio of 1.31 while digital media came in at just 0.87 (4).

chart showing the effectiveness of direct mail vs. email in motivating behavior
Graphic made by Canada Post.

While the use of email marketing rises, neither medium can completely replace the other. Direct mail is formal and gets attention while email is informal and quick. Because of their differences, companies should take advantage of both in order maximize their benefits.

Research shows that companies that added direct mail, while previously engaging in email marketing only, saw a 21% increase in consumers who made purchases (5). This shows how direct mail can be combined with email to drive responses in today’s digital world.

If you have questions about direct mail, reach out to an expert at MDD and we’ll guide you through the process!

Post written by Keenan Rice

Direct mail vs. email graphic by Canada Post

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