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Lead Generation: Direct Mail or Email?

Okay, so we’re a direct mail company…which means we’ll naturally tell you that direct mail is better than email for lead generation right? Not quite. While marketing studies are now showing that direct mail response rates are MUCH higher than email response rates, using direct mail alone is a bad idea for lead generation. Then again, so is using email alone. The marketers who are getting the best results from direct mail are the marketers who remember and who practice one of the most important rules of marketing…

One is the Worst Number in Marketing

In any kind of marketing, one is the worst number. If you depend on only one marketing method to generate leads, you’ll lose opportunities and you’ll probably waste a lot of money. Think about the last direct mail campaign you launched. How many response options did you give your prospects and what other methods did you use alongside direct mail? How many forms of media did you incorporate?

      Did you invite your prospects join your mailing list?


      Did you invite them to connect with you via Facebook or LinkedIn?


      Did you invite them to call a phone number and to listen to a free recorded message?


      Did you get them to sign up for a free report (printed, not emailed)?


    Did you follow up with a phone call?

If you didn’t offer at least one of these response options, you definitely missed out on a lot of potential leads. The most successful direct mail campaigns we’ve seen are those which incorporate other types of media and which give the customer multiple options for responding. Also, we’ve found that direct mail campaigns which are followed up with phone calls generate three to five times as many responses as those which aren’t followed up by phone calls. Why can’t you simply send out a direct mail campaign and give your customers a compelling reason to call your company?

People Love Options, AND They Hate Being “Sold”

Using multiple forms of media does more than increase your visibility. It also puts the customer back in control of the interaction, and people like feeling that they’re in control. Direct mail is still one of the most credible forms of media, but it’s important to remember that people are afraid of contacting companies. They’re afraid that if they call a phone number that they’ll end up talking to a sales person; someone who will pressure them to buy right away. In general, people don’t trust themselves around sales people.

Even if they want what you’re offering, people are naturally resistant to being sold. This is why it’s important to give your prospects a few low pressure response options. When it comes to customer service, most of us would prefer to speak to a real person. But while we’re still checking out a company, let’s face it, we want to gather information on OUR terms. Inviting your prospects to join your mailing list or to join you on Facebook or to call in and listen to a free recorded message allows them to access more information without the added pressure to buy. This is how you apply persistence in your marketing without creating resistance in your prospects. But there’s one more, very important, reason to use multiple forms of media in conjunction with your direct mail campaigns.

What Media Do Your Prospects Prefer?

When you give your prospects more options for responding, you get to know the type of media they prefer. Marketing studies show that some age groups are more responsive to mailed newsletters than they are to emailed newsletters. Others prefer to connect via social media instead of having your information in their email box. DO you know which form of media your prospects use most often? If not, offering multiple response options is a great way to find this out. For example, the next time you send a direct mail campaign, test a few response options and see what your prospects respond to.

Do you get more responses when offering a free recorded message or are your prospects more responsive to social media invites? Are they more interested in getting follow up information by email or by snail mail? Once you find the best form of media for your target audience and start using it to connect with them, your response rates should go up. Just try it when you send your next direct mail campaign. Let your customers decide that for themselves, test the feedback and use it to create more effective direct mail campaigns.

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