Internet vs. Direct Mail, What Will Generate Better Leads

‐ December 31, 2013

With more than 200 million houses in the United States connected to the Internet, many business owners have shifted their marketing budgets toward digital channels. You may be one of them.

So with this shift in marketing strategy, how is it working? For some businesses it is working fine for others not so much. While businesses may be able to reach a broader audience over the web, they are finding that they are not getting the same quality of leads from the Internet. By quality I mean interested prospects, not tire kickers or price shoppers.

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In today’s market, which is a better way to generate leads for your business? Should you buy Internet ads? Or, would it be better to buy postcards or some other form of direct mail?

With millions of potential customers browsing the web, business owners can potentially generate thousands of leads per month. However, a majority of those leads don’t convert to sales. Online ads are often a passive shopping experience, and even if a customer clicks an ad, they only spend a few minutes or seconds with the ad on average. People are resistant to giving personal information out via the Internet, so seldom can you capture the identity of the person who clicked on your online ad. This means you pay for the click and have no way to follow up later.


The fact is that most people use the Internet to shop or research. Shopping does not equate to buying, for most ads people click on. The most valuable thing to a business is capturing the identity of the interested prospect. The idea is you want to do a drip marketing campaign to them. The fact is with most products or services people shop, research or look around for several weeks or months before buying. The larger the ticket of the item the longer they shop. The other rule is people tend to buy from companies they are familiar with. The more often they see an ad or hear about your business the more they are familiar with you. The more comfortable they are with you. The more likely they are to buy from you. This is why it is important for you to capture the identities of interested prospects and conduct drip marketing to them.

The other liability in using Internet marketing as a sole method of promotion is that it is a little like being a gunslinger in the old west. No matter how fast on the draw (low on the price) you are, there is always someone who is faster (selling cheaper than you).

With direct mail, a customer has to take specific action to respond to a postcard or brochure thereby increasing their involvement. This extra effort expended on their side means they are less likely to be a tire kicker and they’ll be more likely to convert to a sale. It also means you can capture the identity of interested prospects more easily. When using direct mail there is also a less likelyhood that your competition will be in the mailbox with you.

Letters can often create a personal connection with your target customer. Internet ads are intangible and often do not illicit any interaction from the customer. However, physical letters are tangible, giving the customer “the undeniable perception that you put more time and thought into your message.”

Analyzing why certain offers worked and why others didn’t will allow you to craft a more effective message. Companies can often achieve radically different results by altering different variables, like the promotional offers or language used in the marketing copy.

Wilson Printing can help you design a direct mail piece that will capture attention and generate a response. We always have specials going on for direct mail programs so you can save money too.

I am not saying that Internet marketing is a bad thing. By all means you should use email and other forms of Internet marketing. What I am saying is that the rest of the marketing world seems to be zigging right now toward the Internet. Maybe you should consider zagging.

The only real question is can you make more sales by following the pack or by leading and taking an old established road that presently has less traffic. People go to the mailbox everyday to get their mail. There are no spam filters at the mailbox, no pop up ads from your competitor. You can’t catch a virus from your mailbox. It is just you and your prospect.

You can also use direct mail and the Internet to create more sales by using landing pages or PURL’s (personal URL’s). Direct mail in the form of lead letters, postcards and self-mailers are very effective. Sure direct mail is not glitzy or glamorous like the Internet, but it works and that is what you want, right?

If you would like more information please give me a call at 727-536-4173.

Mark Hale


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