Why Snail Mail May Be Better than E-mail for Marketing

traditional marketing vs. e-mail marketingE-mail used to be considered the new frontier of marketing. It was once considered to be the latest and greatest idea to come about for a long time and as such was thought to be the thing that would sound the death knell for traditional “snail mail” marketing. The reality however is that today, e-mail has become so saturated that we’ve actually come full circle to the point where traditional marketing may be a better choice. Here’s what you need to know:

Don’t Get Me Wrong

Now before I say anything else, let me be clear – I do like e-mail marketing and I believe that it does have its place in the marketing arsenal. In fact, here at List Guy, e-mail marketing lists are a big part of the business and we definitely do see success for certain kinds of products with e-mail marketing. That said, there are some other products that tend to lend themselves more to traditional marketing, especially these days.

Retail for Example

There was a time when sending out e-mails to people in your neighborhood was considered to be a great way to drum up new business for a retail store. That was back when the concept of e-mail marketing was still fresh and new. Today however, it doesn’t make sense to do this because people are so inundated with e-mail pitches that you need to send out massive numbers of e-mails to make a good return.

Product Samples

Another place where traditional “snail mail” marketing shines in comparison to e-mail is when you want to send out free samples of a physical product. I mean sure, you could send out a coupon for a free sample in e-mail, however a coupon requires people to take the thing down to the grocery store, find it and purchase it. When you physically mail a free sample to a potential customer however, they’re that much more likely to make another purchase because they’re much more likely to actually try your product out.


Another place where you have total control with traditional marketing is with presentation. In an e-mail, you can send out an HTML e-mail message. However, these often don’t get received well and don’t look the way you wanted them to look when they arrive. Many people also have graphics turned off in their e-mail to protect against malicious software.

However, when you mail a physical mailing to people, you are in total control of the presentation, from what the envelope says to what they see when they physically open up the envelope. In other words, you can put your best foot forward and know that everyone will experience it the same way.

Bottom Line

Yes, e-mail marketing has its uses. It is especially useful when you are providing a product which would offer “instant gratification” (i.e. a downloadable product). However, in many cases, for a physical product, you really do need to consider doing traditional marketing either as a supplement to your e-mail marketing efforts or even in place of them.


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