Email Marketing vs. Print

What type of marketing is best for your business? Affiliate programs? Email Marketing? Good ole print marketing? How about new text message marketing? In this article we review the pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages, of email marketing vs. print marketing.

What Are Email Marketing and Print Marketing?

Email marketing is the use of email for any and all possible marketing functions. Email can be used to advertise to potential and existing customers, to keep in touch with customers, to target groups of customers with special offers, to provide customer service and/or technical support, and to provide shipping and/or appointment confirmations.

Print marketing takes the forms of brochures, newspaper advertisements, magazine advertisements, catalogs, Yellow page advertisements, advertisement in coupon listings, and posters, placards, sandwich boards, menus, business card, and any other document that a business can provide to invite business, maintain relationships with customers, address customer concerns, etc.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Email Marketing?

Like every medium, email marketing has a number of advantages, as well as disadvantages:

Timing: In general, email is delivered shortly after it is sent. It is possible to arrange a send time, which allows the sender to, for example, time the email so it will be available first thing in the morning, when many people review their new messages.

Easy to Review: Using the from field, subject line, and—if necessary—a quick review of contents, people can speedily ascertain whether an email is of interest and act on it.

Recognizable: Your email is likely to be In the stream with many other things, distinguishable only by its from field and subject line, and competing for attention.

Disposal: Email is easy to dispose of with a single click.

Filing: For someone who has a filing system, email does not take long to file.

Feedback: Email may not be read, and you may get no information that this has happened or why this has happened. It could never have arrived (but without providing you with a bounceback message), been overlooked in a spate of email, been mistakenly trashed, been mistakenly junked, or saved for later but then forgotten until the message was out of date or until interest flagged.

Stats: Plenty of studies have been done on email, so you should be able to get helpful and recent information about Return on Investment (ROI), frequency, most effective subject lines, and other helpful information.

Focused/Targeted: By signing up customers for discrete services or streams, you can differentiate the emails based on their choice and/or your knowledge of their buying habits, favorite products, typical ordering schedule, etc.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Print Marketing?

Like every medium, print marketing has a number of advantages, as well as disadvantages:

Timing: Mail delivery is much less predictable that email delivery, and a piece of mail may arrive days later in one place than another, and days later than you expected it to due to weather or other circumstances beyond your control. For flyers, brochures, and catalogs that consumers pick up, it’s even less clear who will get them and when.

Ease of Review: Whether your customer can define their interest in your print materials at a glance or whether they need a good, long time to peruse it.

Recognizable: Your logo, catalog cover, or other branding can help distinguish your print material from that of others, including competitors.

Disposal: Unlike email, print material is likely to need more time and thought for disposal in order to remove any identifying information for shredding, while placing the remainder of the print material in regular recycling.

Filing: Some people have special racks for incoming mail and print documents or for communications from their favorite vendors.

Feedback: Mail and documents picked up by customers may never make it to the point of being read—it may be lost, dropped, thrown out by someone else, mistakenly recycled, or saved till later, but then become out of date.

Stats: Although there are statistics, until you receive a customer contact and a clear identification that it is on account of a printed document, it’s less clear how the print material influenced a customer’s actions.

Cast a Broad Net: Print materials, like brochures, may be targeted for different audiences, while materials like catalogs have target sections to meet different interests, while much of the material in a print marketing document could be broadly useful to many customers or potential customers.

Links to Other Marketing Streams

Both email and print material can feature short codes and keywords, website addresses, FaceBook page locations, and other ways of connecting these media to SMS text messaging, social media, and other forms of mobile marketing.

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