Innovations in digital technology have revolutionised many aspects of how we work and conduct business, but some more traditional concepts have survived, such as physical post.
Since the advent of email, much of our business communication with potential customers is conducted through the medium.
But with spam messages now accounting for 53.5% of all email traffic worldwide, it’s becoming harder than ever to cut through the noise and deliver your message to the intended recipient.
A breath of fresh air
With one communication channel fit to burst, how do you ensure that the most important messages reach their recipient? The answer is paper.
Simply put, paper drives action. When a letter is sent to confirm an appointment, it has authority. The recipient will stop and take a moment to absorb the information. Perhaps it will be placed somewhere on view so as not to be forgotten. This is a powerful tool.
Now apply this principle to business invoicing. The invoice is sent as a physical item and when it arrives the recipient is driven to act on the information because it comes with formality, authority, weight. It is a tangible request, not “just another email”.
This demonstrates how retaining or adding physical mail to your communication channels drives engagement and can be used as a powerful tool for improving cashflow.
Many companies send important correspondence by email, and with links to booking systems or payment portals can make it easy for customers to respond or engage directly. The downside, however, was highlighted in a study of email analytics by Litmus, which revealed that more than half of emails are deleted within two seconds of being opened. And the actual open rates were only 21% and 29% for acquisition and retention respectively.
As well as important customer correspondence, physical mail provides an increasingly unique way to approach a market with company messaging: direct mailing.
Direct mail is sending a physical letter or promotional message to a group of people or businesses with a customised or targeted message.
In this world of clogged inboxes and untargeted “catch-all” emails, physical mail provides a number of key advantages over its electronic cousin:
Getting personal – Digital marketing often misses a sense of personalisation. An email may be addressed by name, but there’s always a feeling of artificiality or templating. Physical mail is delivered direct to the desk of the recipient, is often much more visually pleasing and comes across as having more effort put in to its production.
Tangible impact – Direct mail can take many forms. Different shapes, sizes and media can be used to create more impact. Vouchers, invitations, badges, QR codes are all visually interesting and drive response rates.
Less competition – As the digital space becomes ever more crowded, physical mail provides a gleaming alternative that demands attention and drives more engagement.
Millennial opportunity – The perception of millennials is that they were raised with smartphones or tablets in their hands and would never be interested in anything as old world as postal mail.
The reality appears to be very different. Gallup reported that 36% of people under the age of 30 look forward to checking their mailboxes every day. What’s more, 95% of 18- to 29-year-olds have a positive response to receiving personal cards and letters.
It is wise to remember at this point that this generation will wield a combined £1.4tn in spending power by 2020.
Value for money
It is easy to see the opportunities that direct mail provides to savvy marketers and business owners alike, but is it a cost-effective approach?
We do need to be honest – postage is expensive. Since 2009, prices have increased by 71% for 1st class mail and a staggering 93% for 2nd class 100g piece of mail. Even with these increases, there is a solution to make physical mail a competitive option.
Franking is the ideal solution for offsetting some of this expense, not only by providing a cheaper alternative to stamps. And with the Mailmark service this saving is even more significant.
Mailmark was introduced by Royal Mail in April 2014 as part of an impressive investment of more than £70m. This service, exclusive to franking users, offers even more discounts on postage prices and is currently the cheapest way to send mail.
Franking your mail will save 14.3%* on a 100g 1st class service and a massive 32.7%* on 100g 2nd class letters when compared with the standard stamp price.
Who wouldn’t want to be saving more than a third on the headline rate?
SOURCES: ACCENTURE, FRAMA UK LTD, GALLUP, LITMUS, MAILMEN.CO.UK, ROYAL MAIL, STATISTA.COM
*THIS IS THE SAVING MADE VERSUS THE COST OF POSTAGE. THE INITIAL COST OF THE FRANKING MACHINE MUST ALSO BE TAKEN IN TO CONSIDERATION.