1. Cost Savings

As an agency, we have extensive experience in designing, copywriting and sending direct mail materials. However when cost is a key consideration in the planning of your campaign, email represents an extremely cost-effective option compared to direct mail.

Here’s a great example:

You have a list of 5,000 individuals. You want to send them a newsletter once a month. If you’re sending a printed newsletter, you’re likely looking at what constitutes a 4-page newsletter. Let’s break down the likely costs:

Printing costs: at £0.26 a piece = £1300
Design costs: Anywhere from £160 to £560. For the sake of this exercise, let’s say £320.
Postage: In the case of for-profit companies, standard postage would apply. Postage is currently £0.50 a piece. At that rate, you’re looking at £2500.

So let’s do the math: £1300 + 320 + 2500 = £4120 for one newsletter. The cost per recipient? £0.82!

Let’s turn our attention to email. We can assume that the creative will be a similar cost, however, you’re removing print costs. What you’d pay as “postage” for email are actually sending costs through an email service provider. The “postage” cost per message for email is usually between £0.026 and £0.031 each (at most).
So you’re looking at a fraction of your current costs at a minimum!

Good result already!

2. Speed of Delivery

Email is practically immediate. Direct mail is a process. Email removes the press time and the postal service and allows you to send messages to your list within minutes of finalising the creative.

3. Trackable, versatile data

The big issue with direct mail is that tracking data is only available in three forms:

  1. Calling and seeing if the mailer arrived
  2. Trackable code on the mailer that people might scan.
  3. Return/reply cards which is part of the mailer

Otherwise, unless you get a sale (which is great, of course), you don’t know whether your message was opened, tossed out or ignored altogether.

However emails enable you to track just about everything you can think of, including:

  • Open rates (raw number and percentage)
  • Clicks (through links you place in the email)
  • Conversions (as a result of said clicks)
  • Forwards (sharing with friends, etc.)
  • Unsubscribes (those who don’t want to receive your messages)
  • Spam complaints (giving you an idea of how your messages are being received)

This data gives you a solid impression of how your campaign was received by your audiences. Over time, you’ll be able to get an idea of what types of content work the best.

Also, with that data, you can make better educated decisions about:

  • Content–in terms of deciding who receives which content and when
  • Cadence and Frequency–deciding on what messages are sent at what times in the cycle
  • Triggers–specific steps in a buying process that would change content, cadence, and frequency in kind.

Essentially, with email, the sky is the limit in terms of what kinds of data you can gather. This data can create value out of email campaigns that don’t have immediate sales as a result.

4. Testing

You can use emails for testing purposes. In email, you can test just about everything in your campaigns, including:

  • Subject lines
  • Text-heavy versus image
  • Specific content layout (for example, the order of stories in your newsletter)

These are just a few of the ways you can test your email campaigns. But here’s what makes email such a useful mechanism: The ability to not only A/B or multivariate test, but also the ability to “throttle” (a.k.a. manage how many messages sent at one time). For example you can:

  • See how the versions of the campaign each perform; and
  • Based on performance, have the remainder of your campaign send the “winning” campaign.

This way, you know you’re sending the best message at any given time. It takes a great deal of work to create multiple versions of campaigns and monitor the results, but it’s well worth the effort!

In essence:

With email you can:

  • Cut your “mailing costs” by over half;
  • Test multiple versions of your campaigns and send only the best-performing messages to your customers;
  • Be more reactive to change on both sides of the “conversation,” whether it’s customer data or company changes; and gain access to tons of data to tailor your campaigns to the needs and wants of your customer base.

So the real question now is, what’s stopping you from using email and seeing what doors it might just open for your business?