Direct mail or email: Which prospecting method is right for you?

By David Shields

WealthMark Advisors, Inc

​Ideally, a comprehensive marketing approach that includes both traditional and email marketing it your best bet, but what if your resources are limited? Here’s a comparison of the two that may give you insight on where to focus your efforts.

Be sure to consider your audience. For senior market sales, determine whether your insurance prospect is likely to even be able to open an email. On the other hand, will younger prospects spend half of their free time shopping on Amazon and connecting with old pals on Facebook?

Direct Mail

  • Less annoying: People may hate direct mail, but they hate spam more.

  • More engagement? One theory is that people can touch and feel a colorful mailer, which better captivates their attention.
  • Better lists? Because direct mail has been around longer, you’ll likely have better access to solid lists, as opposed to email lists that are collected online.
  • Price: After design, printing and postage costs, you’ll be digging pretty deep in your wallet. And don’t forget the cost of ordering that list.
  • Response rate: The average response rate for direct mail is 1 percent to 2 percent. If done correctly, you very well may have better results with email (see analytics below).
  • Not so green: Direct mail causes huge waste when it comes to all the paper that is required and often not recycled. This could turn off insurance prospects.

  • Cheap: If response rates are low, you’re taking less of a hit than if you were to launch a direct mail campaign.
  • Fast: Not only can prospects receive messages as soon as you think of them, responses could start pouring in immediately. You also can deliver quotes, white papers and other offerings to an insurance prospect in a more timely manner.
  • Analytics: Change up subject lines, experiment with delivery times; whatever you do, you can receive helpful data through analytics that can improve your campaign.
  • Will they open it? Thanks to spam protection, it’s hard to be seen and people are more reluctant to open messages from those they don’t know.
  • Lists: Email lists are often hard to find and you never know how reliable they are. (To be fair, you run this risk with direct mail as well. Choose your vendor wisely).
  • Slippery slope: Abiding by the CAN-SPAM law is of utmost importance. Make sure you’re following all the rules if you go this route.