Is there a case for a return to snail mail? In a world of digital overload, there may be. With multiple devices giving constant notifications, and more people working at home because of the pandemic, many people are increasingly feeling overwhelmed and fatigued.
That sense of fatigue may be compounded by the fact that email saturation continues to increase year over year. According to Statista, we send and receive about 320 billion emails each day. By 2025, that's expected to reach 376.6 billion. And we can't switch off from it, either. A 2019 "Adobe Email Usage Study", which surveyed 1,002 U.S. adults, found that consumers spend around five hours a day checking email, and they check it in bed, while watching TV and even in the bathroom.
That doesn't mean they're reading every email, though. According to Campaign Monitor, the average open rate for a business email is between 15-25%, which means most of the people you send emails to aren't going to read them. For many, email hasn't been special for a long time. This reality may make sending snail mail to some of your customers a unique way to stand out amid the influx of digital noise.
Pros and Cons of Snail Mail
According to Litmus, email campaigns have a high ROI, and they outperform other campaigns, like social media marketing campaigns. They're also pretty cost effective, while snail mail incurs the costs of printing, envelopes and mailing. But don't write off snail mail just yet.
While it's difficult to argue with the convenience of digital campaigns, snail mail offers some advantages:
- It's seen as trustworthy, since many younger consumers associate the word "spam" with email.
- It's lasting: Instead of disappearing down the inbox never to be seen again, a direct mail campaign can hang around and be seen by multiple people, reaching people beyond your original target audience.
- It's effective in getting people to act.
Best Practices for Using Snail Mail
If you're going to use snail mail effectively, then some of the best practices from other marketing campaigns apply.
1. Identify your target audience.
For example, don't send your campaign to everyone on your database. Not only will that cost a fortune, but it will be ineffective. Snail mail campaigns work best when they are targeted to a specific audience, so work out who your target market is before you get started.
Instead of disappearing down the inbox never to be seen again, a direct mail campaign can hang around and be seen by multiple people, reaching people beyond your original target audience.
2. Segment your audience.
In addition, segment your audience. Like other marketing, the more relevant your snail mail campaign is, the more likely people are to act on it. So use demographics, location, interests and more to make your campaign stand out.
3. Create the right offer.
Have a unique offer that resonates with that audience. You can send free trials, special discounts, and coupons. You can also do something more innovative, like send a swag bag, give away free samples, give access to exclusive content or send a thank you note. Do that, and you help increase the chances that people will read and act on your mail.
4. Think outside the mailbox.
Don't limit yourself to regular snail mail, either. You can innovate to get more attention. Some of the most effective snail mail campaigns include:
- A postcard promoting an assisted parking system
- A flat pack side table demo
- A cardboard record player
Giving recipients something they can see, touch and even play with makes your snail mail even more appealing and builds brand awareness and goodwill.
5. Nail the call to action.
As with other marketing, you should have a clear idea of what you want recipients to do next. Make that as easy as possible. For example, you'll probably want to encourage recipients to visit your website. Including those details, or a QR code, can make this process simple. It also makes sense to add your social media handles so recipients can connect with you there.
How to Use Snail Mail With Digital Campaigns
To integrate snail mail with your digital marketing campaigns. Forbes suggests that you:
- Enhance the efficacy of your snail mail campaign with online ads
- Use mail tracking to help you synchronize digital messaging with mail delivery times
- Send people to personalized landing pages
You can track the effectiveness of these offline campaigns with Google Analytics by using custom URLs for recipients. Another option is to use coupons specific to the campaign so you can figure out how the snail mail campaign is doing in driving conversions.
While digital tools are taking over, snail mail still gives you the chance to be unique. Use the guidance in this article to take advantage of the opportunity to wow your customers in their own mailboxes.
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