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Email vs. Direct Mail Marketing: Which Is Better for Your Toronto Business?

Is email or direct mail marketing better for your Toronto business?

Effective marketing comes down to one thing: choosing the best channel possible to promote your Toronto business. While email is often the first choice for some marketers, it’s important not to underestimate the power that direct mail has over prospective consumers.

Although it’s become somewhat of a novelty these days, direct mail offers a guaranteed personalized experience. At the same time, email campaigns can provide your business with instant results, though they still run the risk of getting lost in the oversaturation of online content.

To determine which strategy is better for your Toronto-based business, let’s take a deeper look at what each one involves.

Knowing the Difference Between Email and Direct Mail Marketing

Living in the digital age means it’s easier than ever for marketers to reach their intended audience. The question then becomes: which method is best?

Email has been around since the dawn of the internet. Once recognized as a top communication tool for back-and-forth conversations, it’s since undergone a drastic evolution. Email marketing offers a direct online channel to promote your business’s products or services with ease.

Automated systems make it possible to inform customers of the latest sales or offers at what seems like the click of a button. It also has the added benefit of contributing to lead generation, brand awareness, customer engagement, and relationship building through different types of email models.

Direct mail, on the other hand, offers a more intimate and personalized experience for recipients. Almost as old as postage itself, direct mail marketing involves printing and mailing out physical materials (such as letters, postcards, brochures, or catalogs) to members of a targeted audience.

This method allows businesses to target current and prospective customers directly without any additional intermediaries. Offering more personalized marketing tactics, direct mail can be customized with appealing brand graphics, lettering, product offers, and distinctive CTAs (call-to-action).

Why have a debate?

While email and direct mail marketing are similar channels, a debate still remains over which is better. Both are known to boost customer engagement, drive conversions, and increase brand awareness. Still, there are some areas where they differ.

Billions of emails get sent daily around the globe. This typically leaves marketers to believe it’s a more effective promotional channel. However, direct marketing is often considered to be more reliable and trustworthy given the individualized nature of each mail-out.

When deciding which channel to use, it’s important to consider the difference in how customers interact with email as opposed to direct mail. For some customers, clicking on an email offer can seem impersonal and slightly forced, whereas receiving a direct mail package comes across as more personal.

Choosing the Right Channel


Running an email marketing campaign can allow your business to reach a large number of customers quickly at a low cost. While personalizing these messages has been shown to help improve response rates and ROI, it is very difficult to individually target audience members through mass distribution.

With direct mail campaigns, it is easier to curate an individualized experience for each recipient by adding unique features, handwritten notes, or other customized items. You can also include additional elements that allow the customer to connect with your business, like a printed QR code that leads to a personalized landing page.

Measuring Performance

Tracking the performance of an email campaign is incredibly straightforward. By monitoring open rates, click-through rates, and subscriptions, the data can easily be analyzed. These results can be collected instantaneously once the customer interacts with the email, minimizing the time it takes to determine the ROI.

Although the results of direct mail aren’t as immediate, the long-term outcomes are quite significant. Unlike email marketing, you don’t need to get permission from customers before sending them direct mail. This means that even if they have yet to subscribe, or have unsubscribed from your email list, you can still reach them.

Direct mail also has increased longevity through the benefit of physical letters, gifts, or products that are kept by the recipients. Over time, your business can monitor deliveries, website interactions, donor sign-ups, etc. that come directly from these campaigns.

Increasing Engagement

Through volume and automation, email marketing campaigns can reach a large number of customers at any given time. This ability to engage directly with your audience instantly means they can constantly remain up-to-date on promotions, sales, and other offers.

However, unless done properly, these messages are sometimes missed or accidentally sorted into the spam folder. Due to oversaturation online, some contacts are bound to disengage with your brand over time, and you’ll need to find a different way to connect.

Direct mail offers a two-fold benefit for customer engagement. As a business, you can directly mail materials that demonstrate gratitude towards their contributions so far, while simultaneously appealing for additional support.

By crafting a specially curated experience for each individual recipient, the chances of continued engagement increase drastically. Including links to your social media channels, website, and other branded content on the printouts can help drive traffic online.

How Email and Direct Mail Can Work Together

Both email and direct mail marketing are effective means of connecting with customers. Although there are some areas where the two strategies differ, the greatest benefit for your business can be found in their overlap. By aligning every aspect of your marketing campaign, you can combine their strengths and leverage them to reach every customer in the target audience.

Direct mail can be used to connect with contacts who don’t respond to emails, have unsubscribed from your list, or are bouncing back in the system. On the reverse end, following up a direct mail campaign with an email will help extend your engagement through additional channels.

It’s important to always consider the bigger picture when attempting to reach both current and prospective customers. You want to reach them at the place where they are most comfortable before branching off through other avenues. Use adjacent or similar channels in tandem with one another to reinforce your messaging and ideally increase your customer or subscriber base.

Where to Find Direct Mail Services

Troi Mailing Services is a premium provider of Canadian, U.S., & International Direct Mail and Fulfillment Services. We offer expertise in postal regulations, document personalization, lettershop processes, and distribution.

To learn more about how our direct mail services in Toronto and the GTA can help improve your business, call us at 1-866-486-9350.

About: Seamus Barton
Seamus Barton - Author
Seamus Barton joined Troi Mailing Services in 2014 after graduating from York University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Writing. As a manager of print and direct mail solutions, he sees how words play an important role in personalizing any experience. Seamus’ passion for writing motivates him to provide frequent direct marketing content that supports each Client’s individual needs. Please chat with Seamus about commercial printing and direct mailing campaigns, or about how to marry digital and physical strategies for optimal Smartmail Marketing success.

You can connect with Seamus on LinkedIn or by calling Troi Mailing Services at 1-866-486-0423 or via email at Read his latest article featured in Direct Marketing Magazine on “Dimensional Mail: Marketing’s Buffet Lobster

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