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Making Letterbox Marketing Relevant Again

By: Annie Button


Man receiving letters and bills in mailbox in front of house, mail delivery

We all know and subscribed to the benefits of digital marketing a long time ago. Carefully targeted email marketing campaigns were able to reach more customers, more effectively, and for less money than mailshots or leaflet drops, and that’s without even looking at social channels. Nowadays, inboxes can be exposed to hundreds of emails per day and that number is only going to rise further. 

The inevitable consequence of such digital overload is digital fatigue. Look at your own inboxes – how many marketing emails do you get on a daily basis, how many go straight to junk, and how many do you actually open and read?

In a world of non-stop communication through computers, tablets and smartphones, good old letterbox marketing can cut through the digital noise and, ultimately, drive better sales.

Trusted information

Research has shown that the printed word is considered much more trustworthy than digital adverts or messages. The data shows that a staggering 74% of people find online ‘fake news’ a worrying trend. “The results suggest that having a printed copy […] is generally perceived to be a more secure and trusted way of receiving information than its digital counterpart.” There is a clear opportunity here for businesses employing printed marketing collateral and advertising campaigns to take advantage of these perceptions.

Awareness and engagement

Well designed and printed flyers and leaflets can be incredibly engaging. Handling any printed document is a multisensorial experience that the digital sphere simply cannot provide. A recent survey found that “89% of consumers remember receiving a door drop mailing – more than any other marketing channel.” And with the latest technology at your disposal, designing and printing leaflets couldn’t be simpler. “Upload your artwork, choose your printing options, we coordinate, pre-flight, communicate and deliver your files to your door with automated precision,” as one expert in the field put it.

Exposure and longevity

The enjoyment that comes from handling printed material also means that customers spend longer reading a leaflet or flyer, often returning to it at a later date. In sharp contrast to an email advert that is quickly deleted, a physical document can easily be kept in the kitchen drawer or on a pinboard or future reference. The average length of time for doing just that in the UK is 38 days, according to a Royal Mail Survey. That’s a lot of marketing exposure.

High response rates 

Reports suggest that printed flyers are highly effective in getting people to engage and respond. “Direct mail response rates are actually anywhere from 10- to 30 times higher than that of digital,” says a recent Forbes article. The positive emotional reaction to printed mail relative to digital means that adverts in physical form are remembered for longer. What’s more, they are seen favourably in terms of the value and desirability of the product, which can in turn signify an enhanced intention to purchase.

Keeping it real

Door drops and advertising mail can communicate easily with households who may not have online access, as well as older/vulnerable demographics who may struggle with technology. Importantly, while the current ongoing pandemic requires lockdowns and social distancing, physical letterbox deliveries help to retain a sense of groundedness in the real world for all of us. In a world where communications and shopping transactions have largely gone online, physical mail instils some normality.

Attracting millennials

The spending power of millennials was due to reach $3 trillion this year, according to a recent financial survey. This is a demographic that no business can ignore. Interestingly, and contrary to the popular belief that this age group is not receptive to anything but digital, millennials respond exceedingly well to old-school mail. A third of under-30s look forward to checking their letterboxes daily and display a positive response to receiving letters.

A boost for digital 

Realistically speaking, no business now is going to replace its digital marketing strategy and go back to the ‘dark ages’. However, combining a print campaign with online advertising could well enhance the performance on both channels. For customers who prefer to verify your business online before making contact, your web presence and activity remains key. But leaflet marketing, digital marketing and social media marketing can work in tandem to promote all your online and offline channels, happily bridging the gap between the two.

Published: July 24, 2020

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