Choosing to use just direct mail or email for a campaign may seem like a good idea. It does cut back on expenses and still gets your message across. However, by only using one channel, you are limiting your campaign’s reach because not everyone uses or responds to a communication channel the same way. In order to reach more people and get a better response rate, it’s recommended that you use both direct mail and email. This combination, in fact, is a fairly underutilized pairing because only 25% of companies integrate direct mail with an email campaign1.

Consistent branding is key

Sending both a direct mail piece and email is one thing, but making sure your branding is consistent is another matter. One key piece to tie both direct mail and an email together is using the same logo, fonts, colors, and tone across both pieces. This will make your communication pieces more recognizable and help build trust with your brand.

Which came first, the direct mail piece or email?

It’s recommended you send the direct mail piece first because it has a longer shelf life, helps build trust in your brand, and has a better response rate2. This is because it takes more time, effort, and money to create and send a mailer than it does an email. Recipients may also leave it around the house or even save it to look at it later. Another benefit of direct mail is it can drive website traffic. Around 44% of recipients who received a direct mail piece also visited that company’s website3. The direct mail piece is just part of the equation, however.

It’s then best to send an email a few weeks later. This will remind the recipient of your brand and provide them with an interactive message. It’s also important to not send the follow-up email right away. That way, the recipient isn’t receiving too many communications from your brand at once. If you send too many communications in a short amount of time, the recipient will likely associate your brand with spam. This will lead to them throwing direct mail pieces away and opting out of emails. To prevent this from happening, a good schedule to follow could be:

Send a direct mail piece two days after a new customer or member has signed up for an account.
Send a follow-up email two weeks after the first direct mail piece.
Send a product offer (print or email) two months after the first direct mail piece.

This is a simple schedule, yet it allows you to reach out to account holders without over communicating with them.

The power of two

With two different communication types, comes a greater cost. However, 79% of recipients who received a direct mail piece acted on it immediately. This is because direct mail pieces are still a trusted medium for recipients. When this is combined with a follow-up email, it will help keep your brand in the recipient’s mind. Your message will also be offered in two different forms, print and digital, which will increase your reach. This is because some people like to receive something tangible while others like to receive an interactive email that they can have on them at all times.

When it’s all said and done, using a combination of direct mail and email will cost more, but it will build trust in your brand, help keep your brand at the top of mind, and increase your campaign’s reach. In order for these communications to be successful, however, you will want to use consistent branding and space out when communications are sent so you aren’t over communicating with recipients.


  1. Blue Fountain Media – Direct Mail Marketing and Email Marketing
  2. Harvard Business Review – Why Email Marketing is King