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Has Online Marketing Made Direct Mail Obsolete?

Has online marketing and its potential to reach prospects around the world and convert them into customers made direct mail marketing obsolete?  The short answer is no.  Direct mail is an important part of effective marketing.  To understand why, let’s look at the impact of direct mail marketing on your prospects.

The Emotional Power of Direct Mail Marketing

Consumers enjoy receiving mail in their homes.  According to the United States Postal Service 98% of us bring our mail into our home the day it is delivered and 77% of us sort it immediately and open every item.  Apparently there’s something about physically receiving mail that triggers our curiosity and interest.

Add this information to the fact that greater emotional processing is involved in physical media than electronic content.  The one to one connection of personally addressed mail with a compelling message is difficult to replicate with email marketing appeals.  Your prospects read your message, even if it ultimately lands in the trash.  Compared to an email that can be deleted automatically, a postcard has obvious benefits.

The personal nature of direct mail combined with appealing branding and an emotional message make it an enduring and effective way to get results.  Over time, direct mail can build brand recognition and a relationship of sorts with your prospects just by a consistent pattern of contact.

Advantages of Direct Mail over Online Marketing

  • Targeted Prospects: A direct mail campaign delivers your message to specific prospects and allows you to tailor your appeal to meet the target group’s specific needs and buying patterns.


  • Quick Results:  Unlike online marketing, direct mail delivers results without web development.  You don’t have to wait for your SEO strategies to draw prospects to your message.


  • Additional Demographics:  Believe it or not, there are still some people who don’t use the internet much at all.  Direct mail reaches demographic groups, like seniors or rural residents, who don’t spend a lot of time online.


  • Delivers Lasting Results:  While it may sound silly, direct mail pieces do not disappear at the click of a mouse.  That piece of mail sits in the office or on the kitchen table until someone moves it along.  The result?  Your message reaches more than one person in a company or family multiplying its power.

The Best Approach – Integrating Online and Direct Mail Marketing

Combining direct mail marketing with your online efforts is really the best approach for getting the results you need.  Direct mail is an effective way to drive traffic to your website and generate interest for products and services that are ultimately purchased online.

For example, catalogs are a one of the most effective marketing tools for online sales.  Prospects who receive catalogs they can review offline are much more likely to go online to make selections and place their order.  The catalog remains available as a reference when they need an additional item or service from your company.

Postcards are an effective way to collect emails to build your contact list.  The card points your prospect to a landing page where they exchange their email address for the promised offer or information product.  Postcards are an effective way to distribute coupons as well.  A simple discount code sent on the postcard can compel your prospect to visit your site.

Direct mail marketing is a powerful part of your marketing toolbox.  Integrate direct mail marketing with your other strategies like online marketing, email campaigns, and search engine marketing.  You will reach more prospects and drive more revenue than by any one strategy alone.

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