Should you still be using direct mail for your ONLINE business?

As an online business owner, you are probably aware of various advertising methods such as banner ads, Google AdWords, email marketing and search engine optimization (SEO).

These methods have one thing in common: they are online.

But have you ever considered a traditional advertising method such as direct mail? Should you be using direct mail for your online business?

In this article, we’ll cover the pros and cons of using paper direct mail to grow your online business.

But first, what is direct mail marketing?

According to marketing expert Philip Kotler, direct marketing is direct connections with carefully targeted individual consumers, to both obtain an immediate response and cultivate lasting customer relationships.

So direct mail marketing is the use of mail such as letters, circulars, or flyers, to connect directly with a potential or current customer.

You may also know direct mail as “junk mail.”

We’ll talk about that in a moment…


Set your business advertising apart from your competitors.

Not many online business owners use direct mail. Instead, they tend to focus more on Internet advertising and email marketing.

By using direct mail to advertise your online business, your advertisement will stand out among your competitors.

Send direct, targeted letters to interested prospects.

The direct mail industry is a $44.4 billion dollar industry – and there’s a good reason why.

When done properly, direct mail letters really can bring in more business than all other types of marketing and advertisements.

Direct mail, by definition, is targeted mail. So you only send the advertisement to people who are already interested in your product/service.

Or, you only send the mailing to persons whose previous buying habits have proved them to be a likely prospect for what you’re offering.

Measure results.

Direct mail gives you the opportunity to reach buyers offline and drive them online when you ask them to take a specific online action.

For example, they can visit a specific website URL only revealed in your advertisement, mail in a pre-paid postage card, or respond to an offer for a free gift.

Because you’re asking your prospects to contact you as a result of reading the ad, you can directly measure the response rate and success of your direct mail campaign.



Direct mail advertising can be expensive. Consider the following costs:

  • Postage.
  • Paper and envelopes.
  • Printer ink.
  • Copywriter.
  • List broker and rental – In order to find a list of good prospects, it’s of utmost importance to have or purchase a quality list. An old direct mail formula says 40 percent of your success is in the list.
  • Cost of any free gift offered.
Junk mail image.

Let’s face it: most of the direct mail we receive ends up in the trash before it’s even opened.

We call this junk mail.

More than half the battle of direct mail is getting the envelope opened. Your offer must be compelling enough to grab their attention.

This is where a direct response copywriter is worth the money.

Requires more work.

It’s pretty easy to set up an Adwords account and start running ads.

Using direct mail correctly, however, requires hard work.

From finding a list and writing a letter to coordinating the mailing and measuring response, the entire process can take several months to complete.

Every online business is different. Depending on the type of product or service you sell, direct mail may or may not be for you.

But if you do decide to use direct mail for advertising your business, be sure to plan carefully before spending money and sending out those letters.



Christine Blythe A fifties' child, mom, wife, avid genealogy researcher, web contributor and author/owner of two blogs Empty Nest Ancestry, Feathering the Empty Nest, and our extensive family genealogy database site at Blythe Genealogy.

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