Hmm this question is important, but it looks like another one: radio or TV advertising, which is best?
The question would be: how to make email work?; and, how to make direct marketing effective? Smart business would divide their budget and use both approaches to target their audience and grow their customers database.
What about you? Do not think you should at least try both methods and come up with your own conclusion instead of merely reading one or more articles and reaching a conclusion they have formed maybe through other readings instead of personal, extensive testing and statistics?
Do not you think that marketing is all about tracking, testing and measuring your advertising in order to be able to turn a profit?
Way too many businesses are running their venture blindfolded, advertising here and there, not knowing with 100% accuracy where their customers are coming from, so they could advertise more often in that particular area, or using that specific channel. What a waste of time, money and effort!
With email marketing and direct marketing, you want to be sensitive, and granular. Get into the nitty-gritty, strategic marketing. It is not time for playing aside particularly in todays Economy when crisis is driving us nuts and people are not tracking their business activities like this is normal.
You are not running a common business, your clients are not common (but special), and your marketing should not be common (but remarkable).
Direct marketing has been used for hundred of years by mail order catalog companies to sell their magazine subscriptions, products and services. It is an old approach, yet, email marketers are still overlooking it, and running their business like email is something new.
It is a new platform, but it is based on the same old direct marketing principles. Brands and companies who are trying to reinvent email and not take into account direct marketing fundamentals are shooting in dark.
Because direct marketing is here to stay for as long as people will buy from other people and companies that they like, know and trust. And the top three main principles one should integrate in their business are:
1. Never email to people you do not know, or do you do not have permission to email. Thus, your email list should be double-optin and CAN-SPAM compliant.
2. Always track your email campaign in terms of open rates, clickthroughs, and sales conversions. Use autoresponders like AWeber and GetResponse and analytics for your site/page.
3. Never mix mailing lists, but segment your email marketing. One list should be made up of prospects. Another list of first-time customers. Another one of hot buyers, consisting of people who bought from you at least twice. And cross-promote to each other, advancing prospects to customers, and customers to hot buyers, and hot buyers into raving fans.