Why Mail, Flyers and Door Hangers Still Work in the Internet Age

In today’s world of online marketing, printed promotions may seem out of date, but they still work – sometimes even better than e-mail.

The e-mail inbox is over-saturated. Between personal and business messages, subscriber newsletters and – of course – SPAM, there are hundreds of

Image via Flickr user AJmexico.

messages to sort through.

Now think about your regular mailbox. Unless you are obsessed with catalogs or donate to hundreds charities, you’re probably collecting only a handful of mailings daily. While e-mail messages are less expensive to send than printed promotions, marketers generally get more exposure and a higher response rate from printed pieces.

Then there’s the sheer physical nature of mail as opposed to e-mail. In a second, you can click and the e-mail message is deleted permanently. Throwing away mail takes a walk inside the house, then over to the trash can and may even require some tearing or shredding. Sometimes its just easier to bring the pile of mail inside and put in on the kitchen table, isn’t it?

Let’s say your promotion does make it safely inside the house and it’s sitting in a stack of mail. What happens next? Well, according to a U.S. Postal Service study of 1,500 consumers, conducted in 2004 and published in 2005, 77 percent of recipients will sort through their stack of mail immediately. It is usually the head of the household that manages this task. This person probably has an unconscious ritual, a place where he or she sits to sort, keep and throw away the mail. According to the study, the person managing the household usually reads the mail in one of these locations:

  • Living room: 36%
  • Kitchen: 22%
  • Den/study/office: 15%
  • Bedroom: 8%
  • Dining Room: 8%

As the prospects are going through their mail, think about all of the distractions – family members, a knock on the door, the telephone ringing, internet browsing – that they might experience. Amidst all of these distractions, they will judge, sometimes in a split second, whether or not they’ll even look at or open your mailing. Postcards, flyers and door hangers have an advantage here, in that they don’t need to be opened to be seen. With any format, to avoid the trash pile, you need to put your offer up front, make it clear and make it resonate.

Now, one more fact to reassure you that a printed promotion is still a great way to reach prospects. The U.S. Postal Service, in its study, determines that due to the majority of personal correspondence being conducted online, consumers are anticipating marketing-only messages and not personal messages in their daily mail. Here’s what the study found:

  • 67% of consumers overall do not expect any personal correspondence in their mail
  • 88% of consumers under the age of 40 do not expect any personal correspondence in their mail

So when you reach out with a printed piece, you’ve got an audience who is ready to hear your marketing pitch. No need to pull the wool over their eyes. That’s why its important to make your offer up front, loud and clear. If your offering something relevant to their needs, then they’ll be ready, willing and able to respond.

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