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  • Writer's pictureSync Digital Solutions

Direct Mail vs Direct Online

I rarely check my mail anymore. The first reason is that I get anything of importance online now. The second reason is the above picture. This is 3 days worth of direct mailers. To put this in perspective, this is just from my mailbox. They've added 2 recycling bins next to our mailboxes for people to throw out this type of mail.

So, the question I ask is, does direct mail actually work? The answer is ... those 2 recycling bins are always full. Now, I know that there are exceptions to every rule so I decided to conduct a small experiment to see if I was the exception or the rule.

I mailed a flyer to 50 condos in my building. That flyer had their name and address on it, and I offered a completely free movie ticket to anyone that sent a short code message. The ad said, "Get a Free Movie Ticket ... No Strings Attached." It was designed by a professional graphic designer, and catered to residents of the building. I know there are movie fans in the building as I've seen residents out at theatres.

Guess how many responses I got back in 2 weeks? 0. Guess how many of my flyers were in the recycling bins? 42 of 50. I'm guessing the other 8 people just haven't checked their mail or their suites aren't occupied.

Wasteful Spending

Why do I bring this up? Well, there was a cost to designing the flyer, time to come up with the campaign, and if I had sent out a direct mailer, I would have spent thousands of dollars on distribution. In fact, I know of one auto dealer that spends nearly $20,000/month on direct mailers. He's done it for years, and is firmly stuck in his ways. His business is thriving off of referrals, but has no idea what his ROI off of mailers is.


That brings me to my next point. If you're going to spend thousands of dollars on an ad, why would you spend that money on something you can't even accurately measure?

This is why direct online ads and content are hijacking media buys. With online advertising you know who saw your ad, how many people, where your dollars went, who interacted with your ad, and most of all who was a lead as a result.

This is why I haven't done any real world marketing in years.

I love ROI! You do too ... don't be shy about it.

What Is a Business Owner to Do?

First, don't waste your money. Second, sit down with a professional to discuss your online marketing (even if it's not me). Third, if you're going to compare the two mediums, make sure you give both an equal budget. You want to be testing apples and apples, of course.

Perhaps you're sitting there saying, I have an online strategy, but I have no idea what my ROI is. Well, that just means you have to sit down with your team and figure out why, because there's no good reason for it.

The long and short of this is, all those businesses on top of my mailbox and in that recycling bin just wasted a collective ten's of thousands of dollars. Don't let that be you.

If You'd Like to Talk

If you want to catapult your brand into the future, let's talk. We are a full service agency, and we offer a terrific online marketing course. It's up to you how involved you want to be. However, know this. If you work with SYNC, you'll know what your ROI is, and you'll know where to put your advertising dollars. That's just not something the mailman can offer you.

Written by: Jay Hall - Chief Strategist

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