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Why Snail Mail is Back in Style

By: Steena Hymes, Program Coordinator

How many marketing emails did you receive today? How many of those did you read and how many did you send straight to your deleted folder?

When email marketing first appeared on the scene, it was a revolutionary step that gave brands a convenient and interactive way to reach hundreds or thousands of people at once – not to mention cost-effective and environmentally friendly! We are leading paperless lives from online banking statements, emailed grocery receipts, e-books and more!

However, in an effort to purge our physical mailboxes, we have now cluttered our digital inboxes. But in doing so, we have now cleared the way for direct mailing materials to hold value again.

Most organizations opt for email marketing because of the reasons mentioned above, and while I certainly do not suggest abandoning the strategy altogether – you may want to consider supplementing your efforts with direct mailings.

Bypass the Clutter

Email promotion blasts are still effective! This is proven every time we see a spike in meeting registrations in the 24 hours after a registration reminder is sent. Email blasts are great for demanding specific action like paying dues, registering for a meeting, or reserving a hotel room. But, as our inboxes become cluttered, it’s getting more and more difficult to reach folks. Consider direct mailing campaigns if you notice your open or click rates are low. It’s possible that you have valuable information that your members want, but it’s getting ignored among the endless amount of email clutter. Or your email could be literally getting lost, never even hitting the inbox. With the increase of spam, our email servers are working harder to block these messages, even if it means automatically junking something misdiagnosed as spam. And how many of us ever actually check our junk folder? Not to mention, recent GDPR laws may be a new obstacle for reaching people through emails.

A personal touch

Because direct mailings are rare, there is something about it that delivers a personal touch! A postcard or letter requires us to physically hold it in our hands. Rather than our brains automatically shuffling out email after email, we tend to pay closer attention to that which we can touch and feel. Even if someone is reading your email – it either gets filed away or shuffled towards the bottom of their inbox. If follow-up action is required, it’s easy to become out of sight, out of mind. A physical mailing piece allows the receiver to keep it on their desk or hang it on a bulletin board as a daily reminder.

Reaching the non-tech world

It’s hard to imagine a time when we didn’t have unlimited access to the entire world via technology. There is literally almost nothing we can’t do via our digital devices! However, beware of neglecting your audience who are not tech savvy. Depending on your demographics, there is still a large pool of individuals in your industry who may not respond to digital campaigns. One of the associations I work with still has a significant number of people who prefer to receive a paper registration form and mail it in as opposed to online forms. Direct mailings ensure you are reaching all corners of your audience or membership. Sending something tangible will reach those types who rarely check email – or possibly do not have email at all.

Weigh the cost vs value

Email marketing has taken dominion over mass communications because it’s cheap! Direct mailing involves printing costs, postage costs and not to mention the manpower and time it takes to individually address each mailing. It makes sense that most organizations are opting for email communications because it saves time and money! If you are considering direct mailings, you are going to have to weigh the benefits and if your return is worth a little extra time and money!