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Email marketing vs traditional mail

Traditional mail is expensive, takes longer to be delivered, and offers very little to no form of tracking the results. Traditional or snail mail or smail (from snail + mail) - named after the snail with its slow speed - refers to letters and missives carried by conventional postal delivery services. The phrase refers to lag-time between dispatch of a letter and its receipt, versus the virtually instantaneous dispatch and delivery of its electronic equivalent, e-mail. It's also known, more neutrally, as paper mail, postal mail, land mail, or simply mail or post. An earlier term of the same type is surface mail, coined retrospectively after the development of airmail. This happened not too long ago, between 1970s to 1990s.

I think it was Shakespeare who once said "to e-mail or to direct mail, that is the question! Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrow of outrageous web page hits, or to take arms against a sea of expected low direct mail response, and by doing both - see results.'' Maybe it wasn't him. In any case, it's certainly one of the marketing questions of the day. In this digital marketing age, too many marketers are forgetting the value of a letter or a postcard in the big picture of developing "fans" and converting them to customers.

It's much quicker to design and launch an e-mail campaign, which means you are able to respond to fast-changing opportunities. At low cost, you can lead a highly targeted prospect to your website. There are several great e-mail tools that allow you to track the results of your campaign to see exactly what worked best. There are both advantages and disadvantages to using email marketing vs traditional mail.



Advantages

Email marketing (on the Internet) is popular with companies for several reasons:
Polls
  1. An exact return on investment can be tracked ("track to basket") and has proven to be high when done properly. Email marketing is often reported as second only to search marketing as the most effective online marketing tactic.
  2. Email Marketing is significantly cheaper and faster than traditional mail, mainly because of high cost and time required in a traditional mail campaign for producing the artwork, printing, addressing and mailing.
  3. Advertisers can reach substantial numbers of email subscribers who have opted in (i.e., consented) to receive email communications on subjects of interest to them.
  4. Almost half of American Internet users check or send email on a typical day, with email blasts that are delivered between 1 am and 5 am local time outperforming those sent at other times in open and click rates.
  5. Email is popular with digital marketers, rising an estimated 15% in 2009 to £292m in the UK.

Disadvantages

A report issued by the email services company Return Path, as of mid-2008 email deliverability is still an issue for legitimate marketers. According to the report, legitimate email servers averaged a delivery rate of 56%; twenty percent of the messages were rejected, and eight percent were filtered.

Companies considering the use of an email marketing program must make sure that their program does not violate spam laws such as the United States' Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM), the European Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, or their Internet service provider's acceptable use policy.

Snail mail is also a term used in reference to penpalling. Snail mail penpals are those penpals that communicate with one another through the postal system, rather than on the internet which has become the more common medium. Some online groups also use paper mail through regular gift or craft hot topics. In some countries, services are available to print and deliver emails to those unable to receive email, like people with no computers or internet access.

Similar terminology was used in the 1840s to contrast the already-operating postal mail with the new telegraph. The Philadelphia North American stated: "The markets will no longer be dependent upon snail paced mails".


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