"D or E? mail... (direct mail or email?)


Direct Mail (letter), Direct Mail (postcard), or email?

I'm starting a series of web directories for some specific white collar service professionals (lawyer, accountant, consultant, etc.)

As I'm small, local, personal, boutique, as is my website design service which dovetails into the directory subscription offering, at present I feel a direct mail 'old school' approach (letter? postcard?) would best reinforce my trust message albeit each mailing will perhaps cost 50-100 cents.

Do you agree?
(And there certain categories/models where direct mail is always the best avenue?)

Marketing Email

asked Feb 25 '11 at 05:13
249 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

5 Answers


I personally am pretty numb to email blasts. I especially ignore ones that offer services such as SEO and web design. Within my own industry, I get direct mailers of people trying to recruit me. I take the time to open them up and at least look at them even though I'll never leave my company for them.

I guess I'm trying to say that if the person believes the direct mail is somehow targeted at them (is relevant) direct mail might have more impact b/c they have less noise there.

What do you think would resonate more with your target audience?

answered Feb 25 '11 at 06:03
468 points
  • I think direct mail letter is by far the most effective but wanted to hear some other opinions. – Randy 13 years ago
  • I also was thinking about this on my way into work today. I received a hand written envelope from the American Heart Association. I took a double take to see what it was. Anything hand addressed I will open up and look at or at a minimum stop to wonder who took the time to do it. – Scott 13 years ago


Email blasts work. THe reason they work is because they are extremely cheap to send out. Direct mail can work depending on the campaign. I would invest heavily into design, or go with a basic "official" looking envelope where the prospect thinks its a bill or notice (Not mail fraud, but dont put your logo on the outside of the envelope.

Here is how I would approach it.

  1. Send an email.
  2. Call the prospect
  3. Send Email again (different)
  4. Call to get feedback from the email.
  5. Once you have a connection send a letter (with something worth having).

To apply this with a business such as groupon
1. Send email telling shop owner how groupon can build them customers. With a free PDF about the restraunt industry
2. Call to follow up and get feedback on the email.
3. Send email again asking for feedback
4. Call to get feedback or offer a service
5. send a welcome kit with groupon decal for shop's window

Bottom line when you include all 3, there is a big multiplier attempt

answered Feb 25 '11 at 08:18
2,079 points
  • I don't quite understand why cheap equals effective and why it's cheaper to send, call, send, call, and then send a letter. – Randy 13 years ago
  • Email is cheap for the money. You can reach 100k people for as little as 5cents each. Next cheapest is mail, after that phone calls. My point was email is the best on a poor mans budget, but a healthy way to approach marketing is an all of the above. The only marketing i dont subscribe to is brand building (billboard, tv, and other expensive media buys). Works if you are huge, but not the best bang for direct results, unless you are very clever like godaddy.com – Frank 13 years ago
  • I never mentioned anything about a budget and obviously what counts is the cost per lead. – Randy 13 years ago


In my opinion you might want to partner with a company that already has a good following. Make sure that this company indirectly can relate to your company to show a need for your service. This will add legitimacy as well as prevent the "numbness" stated above. You might even want to get a site to speak of you or have people contribute to sites such as this.

answered Feb 25 '11 at 15:23
1 point


your BETTER bet is to do an adwords or similar targeted advertising campaing, instead of random emailing. the only emails (or mails, or cards) i'd sent is to my already existing customers (if any) who have received such a package before - mail, if mail, card if card, etc... for all else - adwords (you do know you can target a specific location or region with adwords :).

adwords.google.com < it's very easy to get started

answered Jun 10 '11 at 10:19
316 points


The problem with Adwords is that it's pull, not push ... people aren't searching Google for my service (at least not in the way I'm offering it and the ads are too small to quickly clarify so I'd likely be paying $5 a click for 1/100 leads).

Erito, I am that company.

answered Nov 1 '12 at 18:05
Randy Zeitman
41 points

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