Even in the current ‘era of technology,’ we continually see campaign after campaign that proves that direct mail and/or telemarketing still rule over emailing when prospecting. Yes, emailing can be used effectively for keeping in touch with past customers or past prospects you’ve had contact with, but direct mail or phone marketing virtually always brings a higher conversion of sales rate than prospect emailing does. Time and time again, as list brokers, we have our clients tell us that no one responds to direct mail or the phone anymore and that people only want to communicate via email. We understand that. We too live in the ‘world of technology’ where 70% of our communications with our clients are done via email instead of even by phone conversation. However, we do want to keep our focus on the phrase ‘when prospecting for new customers’ in this blog.

To further explain, I’d like to give you a short example. If a small business owner decides to purchase a third-party email list and deploy a basic HTML creative advertisement to that audience, whether this business owner was told this list was an ‘opt-in’ list or not, the list was purchased and this audience has not opted-in to this business owner’s company (as it was a purchased list). This is considered a cold email prospecting approach, where even getting a prospect to open an email from an unknown sender can be tough, much less get them to click-through to your site or even further, actually make a purchase. It can be a long process to build up enough credibility and rapport with the audience via email to get them to even open your email. Many people even find it annoying or questionable about how they even ended up on your list, which then starts your relationship with them ‘off on the wrong foot.’ Compare this with direct mail, where a prospect is used to receiving tangible pieces of mail in their mailbox from companies they are not familiar with. There is no boundary broken between the advertiser and the prospect, and the other keyword here is TANGIBLE mail piece. This is an advertisement they can either throw away or keep in a drawer, which they can see at a later date and remind them to contact you.

Telemarketing lies somewhere in the middle between direct mail and email. Although less costly than direct mail, it can certainly annoy certain prospects and can ‘cross a boundary’ with some. However, if it was annoying enough to a prospect, they would have taken the time to put themselves on the Do Not Call registry (if prospects are consumers) or if it’s a business to business phone call, you may just get hung up on. Or perhaps they just won’t answer the phone, if they prefer to not take the call. However, it’s almost guaranteed that much like the direct mail approach, telemarketing willo show the advertiser a conversion rate of higher than 0. If the source of the list is quality and there are competent employees to answer questions, conversions/sales are guaranteed with direct mail or telemarketing lists. This is not always the case, however, with email lists.