Online or offline? Email or mail?

By Ellie Revell

5 minute Read


  • Insight

Communication is the key to gaining new and loyal customers. Ideally, you want your message to be heard by as many people as possible. Sometimes, email is the best way to communicate, other times, mail is needed. Here’s how to know when to use online, and when to go offline.

When to use mail

Mail is absolutely necessary when you need to communicate to a wide array of people, this is why the Prime Minister chose to use mail to update the country about COVID-19. When you’re trying to communicate to people of different ages, different incomes and different mosaic groups, mail is the common denominator. For example, when you access a service that the whole public uses, such as the council, the HMRC, the NHS or a bank, you’ll notice you always get communications through mail.

Partially, this is because mail builds trust. Communicating through mail is one way to verify that your database is who they say they are. Plus, the public tend to trust mail more than email (Two sides source). The trust building aspect is important to note because it makes mail the best way to communicate important and vital changes to the way you operate. Around 80% of adults in the UK open all or most of their mail, so if you need your message to be heard, mail is a necessary investment.

Mail is a worthwhile investment if your marketing mix needs a boost. Email marketing can fall flat if not used in conjunction with other marketing tools. If you’re not seeing the results or return on investment that you need, using mail can turn it around. Simply sending a postcard with a call to action or promotion code instead of an email blast can earn drastically different results and get your ROI to the place you want it to be.

Mail is more personal, so you’re more likely to get an action out of someone through mail. It’s a great tool to engage lapsed customers or irregular clients and turn them into loyal advocates. Regular communication and exposure to your brand in a personal way will build a good reputation and keep you in their minds.

When to use email

The best reason to use email is because your message is highly time sensitive. Usually, this can be avoided by planning and managing your content effectively. However, some urgent messages need to get out as soon as possible, such as an order confirmation. Mail can be delivered in 24-28 hours, but if you need your message sent immediately, you should use email. If it’s a message of high importance, it should follow with mail so that more of your customers are actually reading the message as, according to MailChimp, 95-99% of marketing emails are ignored.

Another important aspect to consider is the content of the message. For example, video content is infinitely more suited to email than mail. However, with the use of QR codes and AR, there are few online things that can be integrated with mail to help drive consumers online.

The main reason people choose to communicate through email isn’t because it’s better, it’s because it’s perceived cheaper. If you don’t have the budget yet, email can keep you in regular contact with your database. Make sure you’re doing what you can to build a mailable database so that when you have the budget, you can allocate some to mail. We love trying out test and learn campaigns, if you would like to hear more please get in touch.

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About the author

Ellie is an enthusiastic and driven member of the team and approaches all situations with a can-do attitude. Ellie has worked across a variety of industries and clients, providing efficient and successful solutions for clients, anchored by 4 years of experience, the JICMAIL Silver Award and DMA direct mail qualifications. Ellie particularly loves working with charity clients, knowing that the success of a campaign goes towards the amazing work they do.