How many marketing emails do you get each day?

10? 20? 50?

Email marketing is one of the original forms of digital prospecting. Though it has grown far more diverse since the early days of the Internet, its basic premise and structure remain the same.

For companies committed to email marketing, the statistics might be troubling. The average web user of today is immeasurably more sophisticated and savvy than the average web user of 1999. The mark of that savviness is the steady decline in open and response rates: today, the vast majority of marketing emails are discarded or marked “done” without so much as a glance past the subject line.

It’s a stretch to say that email marketing is no longer a viable strategy. There remains a place for email marketing, especially as a lead nurturing and customer care tool. But it can’t serve as the primary or secondary component of your lead-building strategy. It’s more likely to be an adjunct.

If you’ve been using email as your primary means of reaching out to new prospects, what should you replace it with?

That depends. Your marketing strategy could probably benefit from multiple alternatives to email. Start with these four:

  1. Direct Mail Marketing

Before email, there was…direct mail marketing.

It sounds old-fashioned, but it’s actually surprisingly effective. Take it from someone who knows.

“Direct mail marketing is among the most under-appreciated forms of prospecting and lead nurturing, not to mention a key driver of overall marketing efficiency,” says George Otte, a Miami-based entrepreneur with more than a decade of experience in various consumer-facing industries, including direct mail and fulfillment.

  1. Pay Per Click Advertising

Pay per click advertising, or PPC advertising, has been around almost as long as email marketing. Even when users fail to click on ads, PPC advertising generates valuable impressions that boost brand recognition and can indirectly lead to conversions down the line.

It’s important not to overstate the value of PPC advertising, as certain terms are many times more valuable and popular than others. But if your company occupies a secure niche, PPC advertising could be far more cost-effective than spraying out thousands of emails each week.

  1. Event Marketing

Event marketing combines the contagious excitement of trade shows and conventions with the power of targeted marketing. If your company relies on long-term client relationships, there’s no better way to find new customers — nor to reward current, paying customers — than to deliver stunning results at industry events.

If you don’t have the resources to support an event marketing operation internally, don’t worry: there’s a whole sub-industry devoted to professional-grade tradeshow booths, slick presentations, and viral gimmicks that grab attendees’ attention.

  1. Promoted Giveaways

For early-stage companies, social media and product giveaways are a match made in heaven. Like in-person guerilla marketing, promoted giveaways put your products in front of consumers who’d likely never take action in response to other forms of advertising. Though it can be costly to give away product for free, the back-end return — assuming a quality product, of course — can be enormous.

What’s Your Email Alternative?

These aren’t the only four viable alternatives to email marketing. Your preferred measure(s) will likely depend on what your company does, the customers it serves, its available marketing spend, and its long-term marketing goals. There’s no right or wrong answer: your ideal marketing arrangement is sure to look different than your competitors’, and that’s okay. The most important thing is reaching the right people, at the right time, without using up too much good will.