As the internet and e-commerce has exploded in the past 20 years, advertising and customer outreach has been revolutionized. Rather than having to send out a mailing to a household it has become easier and cheaper to simply send an email. However, after years of electronic messaging in our inboxes, is it possible we’re all getting tired of email?
It started quietly; we found ourselves deleting email coming from addresses we didn’t recognize, and the trickle of specious messages soon became a torrent of the unwanted. Once scam messages started being introduced into the mix, this magical new form of communication became little more than a nuisance; the computer equivalent of an annoying car alarm outside your house at 3am.
The problem with email can so often be that even though it’s instant, and apparently cheap, it still isn’t able to rival the small thrill of an envelope addressed to you – an envelope that can literally have come from anywhere in the world, all the way from there to here, passing through so many faraway places and taken care of by so many strangers before finally you grasp it in your hand. No child remembers their first email, but almost everybody can remember a glorious day when somebody sent them a birthday card in the mail, and even now receiving something worthwhile in the mail has resonance.
Furthermore, despite the very best efforts of internet security firms everywhere, there still remains that lingering doubt as to email’s security. Every few months there is a story of a new computer virus transmitted by email. A letter in the mail never sent suspicious links to everybody you know, or messed up your mailbox so that you couldn’t open it any more.
It is against this background of ‘email fatigue’ that traditional mailing efforts manage to retain their value. A personal, hand-delivered message to customers remains a powerful promotional tool, and yet still manages to stay competitively priced. In fact, a 2013 DMA Study showed that the cost per lead for direct mail is less than is the case for email.
As with any form of communication, direct mail works best when the information it contains is of value to its intended target, and it is therefore incumbent upon the sender to understand what its customers want. The best campaigns are not necessarily the ones with the glossiest print or the thickest envelope – indeed, increasingly, postcards are considered the most effective message format – but rather, it is those campaigns that best able to find people who are most likely to generate leads or sales.
Direct mailing lists have been around for significantly longer than email lists, and subsequently are frequently more robust collections for lead-generation purposes. Using outside direct mail lists from a good vendor in addition to your own carefully curated house lists are an excellent way to both retain existing customers and generate valuable new relationships.
In summary, it is still not yet time to abandon a multi-channel marketing strategy in favor of email alone. As ever, crafting the message is more important than the medium you choose to present it in, and with the direct mail services industry taking large strides to make management of campaigns easier, there has never been a better time to remember –
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night can stay these couriers”
To find out more about how Pitney Bowes can help you in your direct mail efforts, visit the Direct Mail Solutions website.