Is Direct Mail a Dying Medium

By Justin Hitt, Professional B2B Copywriter

The US Postal Service is losing more than a billion dollars a year, Royal Mail's ‘one price goes anywhere' is losing money too, while other European services aren't doing much better. Is direct mail as a marketing medium dying?

You'll find a lively discussion at Hubspot on the failures of the US Postal Service, it however missing a fundamental point. This point is the value of copy writing that you are learning here.

If you copy sucks in print, it will suck on-line. There are just as many failures in marketing on-line as there are with direct mail, it just doesn't have as many direct costs.

Because you don't pay for mistakes on the Internet with an upfront investment as obviously as you do for direct mail doesn't mean mistakes don't cost you. It also doesn't mean they don't hurt the relationship you have with a prospect, in fact, making it more difficult to make a sale in the future.

It's the copy writing fundamentals people are missing. If your copy fails to connect a reader with a compelling offer, then in any media you have failed to do marketing. Let's examine the real costs …

Many think Internet and email marketing doesn't cost anything because they aren't being billed for middle transport service providers. When mailing by post, you pay for the paper, the envelope, ink, and postage. Online you just pay for hosting and e-mail (which can be free in many cases, or at least cheap.)

Because you aren't paying for the entire network from point-to-point, the Internet seems a lower cost medium for marketing. The Internet also provides many low costs tools to make marketing easy. Conversely, with the postal service you are paying the majority of costs associated with the transport of your message.

Most miss the bottom line here, it's not how much you paid to send the message, what matters is your return on investment on marketing investment. Advertising Agencies (or Consultants) pitching one medium over another are usually getting better commission or paid for related services. Don't make this mistake for your clients by teaching them about cost per lead, profit per sale, and other reliable measures of marketing success.

When you are able to write copy that sells, you could send your message by the Queens Guard, or Carrier Pigeon to the right audience to make the sale all the same. The determining factor of which method works best is how much that sale cost.

As long as your carefully crafted message reaches a buyer in a medium they use, using language they understand, and a story to which they can relate … you'll get the sale. Direct mail isn't dying, there is just a bigger need for qualified copywriters than there was every before.

A poorly implemented e-mail campaign is just as big a flop as direct mail in both it's cost and lack of production. Unfortunately, the bigger cost of marketing only on-line is losing a prospect forever due to short attention spans on-line, being blocked as spammer, or being missed by those millions who aren't on-line today.

If you want better success with your copy efforts, then use several mediums for testing your message. Deliver your copy with a mix of direct mail, Internet and email marketing, telephone, and any other method you can test. It's about reaching customers where they are, with copy that sells, in multiple channels with the right message.

© 2009 AdBriefing Copywriting Tips, All rights reserved.

Justin Hitt is a business copywriter who specializes in the technology services field, providing clients copy that sells. For more about his services, visit

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About Staff Writer

Helping copywriters attract top earnings with words that sell without struggling for years. Transforming frustrating jobs into extraordinary freedom with sales persuasion insights. Inspired by world-renowned copywriter Patrick Quinn.