Once upon a time, when the Internet was young, anyone could collect email addresses from wherever they wanted to and send as many unsolicited emails as they liked. By the early 2000s, spam had become a huge problem, and countries like the U.S. started introducing laws requiring that recipients of marketing emails opt in to receive them.
Over the years since, similar laws with varying levels of control have been introduced in Europe, Canada and other countries, effectively limiting how and when companies could send out marketing emails. Hosting companies, search engines and other industry players got involved, and these days, it’s not uncommon to hear of sites being penalized for spam.
Turning to Old-Fashioned Marketing Methods
As more and more countries join in on the quest to end spammy email marketing, companies are increasingly returning to older styles of marketing. Cold calling, direct mail and even door-to-door sales are all options, but with regulations related to do-not-call lists and the risk of alienating customers by knocking on their door, direct mail is definitely a top choice for companies throughout the U.S. and beyond.
Flipping the Script
Trying to market by email these days is very much a chicken-and-egg situation. You need a larger list to convert well, but you need to convert well to turn web visitors into leads.
That may be why many companies are turning things around, using low-tech, proven marketing methods like postcards to promote online offers and growing their double opt-in email list that way.
Response Rates: No Comparison
Direct mail marketing methods are second only in effectiveness to telephone marketing; direct mail offers an average 3.7 percentresponse rate, where the average for telephone marketing is between 9 and 10 percent. Telephone marketing, however, is time and labor intensive and likely to cost a lot more than an effective postcard campaign.
Email marketing, with response rates at around 0.2 percent, lags well behind those figures, so while it may be cheaper and easier, it’s far less effective.
There Are No Anti-Spam Measures on Mailboxes
The final and most compelling reason anti-spam measures have boosted the use of direct mail has nothing to do with tracking responses or legislation, and everything to do with practicality. As more and more anti-spam systems, ad blockers and other types of software have become prevalent – and ever more sophisticated – mailboxes have remained just as easy to access and receptive as they always were.
When you send a direct mail campaign, whether it’s a postcard or a catalog, you’re guaranteed that it will at the very least be seen. When you send an email, there’s no such guarantee. And chances are good that you’re going to have a large chunk of your emails filtered out by software or rules so that your message will never be seen at all.
A Foot in the Door
While email marketing can be effective in the long term, not much can compare with an old-fashioned postcard or a paper coupon in terms of getting a foot in the door. So if you’re finding that your email marketing campaign is not converting like you hoped it would, it may be time to take a step back and try something old.