Email versus direct mail

If you are thinking of doing a marketing campaign you will have probably tried to weigh up which will be most effective, direct mail or email.

Having recently run a number of small email campaigns ourselves we are now in a position to be able to share our thoughts on the results.

We used our own organic data, clients, prospects, and anyone that has interacted with us over the last couple of years as the source of the mailshot. It’s been drilled in to us for years that quality data is the key to a successful campaign, so we figured this would be as good a place to start as any!

The email mailshot was designed to try and encourage more people to view our blog and to link with us on social media.

It was constructed using mailchimp which allows you to load in upto 2000 subscribers, and to dispatch up to 12000 emails per month, completely free of charge.

Mailchimp is a moderately tricky tool to get your head around, but once you’ve done it the first time it’s not too difficult to master.

The mailshot was designed using a pre-made mailchimp template, specifically designed with mobile phone opening in mind, as this now accounts for a major percentage of the email market. If it’s difficult to read on a mobile, then you’ll see a significant drop in the open rates.

The reporting on mailchimp is very good, giving you figures for pretty much anything, even the one sad individual who complained to the spam cops about receiving it. If we’d have sent this mailshot off our own server, just using blind cc’ing then it is fairly likely that our sending service would have been suspended (and not for the first time!).

So, in terms of results, not spectacular, and that is using a database of people that really do already know us. We got a few extra clicks on our blog, a couple of linkedin requests, twitter followers actually dropped strangely enough. Maybe coincidence, maybe to do with the photograph on the email mailshot of Rob Fry frightening people off!

Will we use email again? Yes, we will. Would we recommend it to try and get new business? Maybe not, depends on what you are trying to achieve. The inbox is a very crowded market place. It is free, but then you get what you pay for, which in this case was nothing, with not much in return!

How does it compare again direct mail? One of our clients who is in manufacturing recently switched from DM to email, thinking it would save him money. He ran a series of email campaigns over a 6 month period, to the same 10,000 prospect database that he usually sends a mailing letter and leaflet to. Whilst his initial results were ‘OK’ he noticed a massive decline with subsequent campaigns, to the point that hardly any of them were even being opened, never mind generating any new business. Was he in the SPAM box?

Needless to say he has now returned to the “letter and leaflet in an envelope” method and is seeing his enquiries rise again. Maybe this was industry specific, maybe his prospects just prefer some nice shiny print in their hands, that we can’t account for.

So which is best? There’s only one way to find out… FIGHT!…. ¬†or you could try testing them both out against each other, tweaking and testing again…