Snail mail vs. email

An observation and some data inspired a post today.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working with a batch of new beta clients. Things are going really well. I feel like we are attracting some really smart, inquisitive online retailers – the ones who know how to spot and work on things way before they become mainstream.  A lot of them have been in business for some time and have accumulated significant customer followings.

One thing that stands out is the respect that each store owner has for not bombarding their lists with email marketing.  The common thread is “I don’t want to receive a million emails – so why send my customers a million?”.  More importantly, they are very aware of SPAM rules and abide by them.

As a result we see that a lot of stores have significant customer lists but much smaller opt-in email lists.  What happens to all those customers to whom the retailers no longer send emails?  Well, right now, nothing…

Small Biz Labs points to a press release from Pitney Bowes that outlines research on the effectiveness of snail mail vs. email. The press release claims “the majority of consumers (73 percent) prefer mail for receiving new product announcements or offers from companies they do business with, as compared to 18 percent for e-mail.” As an advocate and believer in email marketing, those numbers should scare me. They don’t. It just means that marketers who grew up during the internet revolution need to remember their traditional brethren AND learn from them.

With the advent of simple to use online services like Vertical Response and Vista Print, doing direct mail is now as simple as sending an email.  With the use of promo codes, it’s trackable so measuring ROI is possible – A MUST for any retailer.

So, if you have a big house list and aren’t sure whether you are hitting customers, drop us a line, we can help out.

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