Direct Mail vs SEO

Posted on by in direct mail, SEO

So, should you spend $1000 on a Direct Mail campaign, or should you spend $1000 on being number one? There are a lot of things to consider, and it shouldn’t necessarily be an either/or proposition. However there are some cases when it is clearly worthwhile spending the money on one or the other. Both Direct Mail and SEO can delivery targeted measurable results.

However, SEO can be a bottomless money pit. It can be hard to know how much time or money will need to be spent on the work to get you to number one. Mainly it depends on the industry, your product and what the competition is like online, however here are some things to think about.

The case for Direct Mail

  • If competition online is fierce, Direct Mail is going to be far less costly.
  • If you are launching a new product or creating a new market, you probably wont have any online buyers yet, so you will need to do offline marketing to create customers
  • SEO is not an engaging marketing technology. You cannot brand a company or product using SEO.
  • You cannot target individual households or prospects with SEO.
  • Direct Mail is an engaging medium. You can give away DVDs, Books any sort of in depth marketing material.
  • There is no lower limit to direct mail in any market. A single hand-typed letter to the right person will get you the right business.
  • Direct Mail works in the short term. You could launch and analyse a Direct Mail campaign in an afternoon.

The case for SEO

  • If competition is low online, you could get away with spending less money to get to number one
  • SEO has a complete set of analytics available. With a click you can find out where your customers are coming from, which links generate the most traffic etc.
  • You know you can target people who are ready to buy, and people looking for more information. Every dollar spent on SEO will go towards targetting the right people.
  • SEO can create long term results. Whilst it is true nothing online is fixed permanently, the right work done with on-page optimisation, and creating the right links to your site, can last a long time.

Do you have any thoughts one way or the other?

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4 Responses to “Direct Mail vs SEO”

  1. David Bain 27 January 2011 at 4:22 am #

    While I think that this is an interesting post, I’m not sure that I agree witht he statement “You cannot brand a company or product using SEO”. Surely if you use the page title format “Keyword Phrase | Brand Name” then this is branding using SEO? 🙂

    • Marketing 27 January 2011 at 7:17 am #

      Well I would say that most branding processes would require more than one line in a title tag, but I suppose in theory you could promote some aspect of your brand.

  2. David Jenyns 28 January 2011 at 8:11 am #

    I would give my vote on doing SEO.

    As for the “SEO can be a bottomless money pit”, I can say that yes, it depends on the niche or the market that you would like to target. But given the right way of doing it, meaning doing proper keyword research and thorough study of the market, I should say these are all worth the effort to rank a site.

    Also, it is in SEO that you can be very flexible with your ranking strategies and you have the tools ready to evaluate results accordingly. That’s what makes SEO a prime way of moving your online business forward today.

    Cheers,
    Dave

  3. Michelle 19 June 2012 at 8:38 am #

    I too would like to make a comment against your statements:

    “SEO is not an engaging marketing technology. You cannot brand a company or product using SEO.” and “You cannot target individual households or prospects with SEO.”

    I don’t agree with that, you can easily brand a company using SEO and it exactly targets the people looking for your product. Where I believe SEO falls down is finding the people that are not looking for your product because they don’t know it exists or hadn’t thought about it. Where direct marketing comes in handy is putting the idea into the customer’s mind, which you can’t do with SEO. If your branding and SEO strategy is good, then when the product is in the mind of the customer and they go searching for it, then it will be easily found.

    I think both direct marketing and SEO compliment each other, so you target both set of potential customers – (1) those looking for what they already know (your brand or product type) and (2) those who don’t know but may be interested.

    For example: You are selling a product that is in high demand, such as ‘iphone accessories’ using your online store. You can reach customers looking for iphone accessories using search, but how do you reach those customers that don’t even know you can buy quality iphone accessories online and much cheaper than the local shop. You have to tell them, using direct mail and other forms of advertising.

    Cheers
    Michelle Pavel – Profit Strategist


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