Nothing quite matches the thrill of receiving a physical letter, so why don’t more brands capitalise on the advantages of mail communications?
There has been a pervasive idea among marketers that to generate short-term profit, marketing budgets should be almost exclusively invested in digital communications. While digital does have unique advantages, it is not the only route for connecting comprehensively with customers.
In fact, a multi-channel approach is an important route to business success. Mail is particularly advantageous for brands looking to build their reputation and establish a firm emotional connection with consumers.
Despite popular belief, mail also has a central role in short-term sales as well. For those looking to implement a multi-channel approach, mail not only has unique advantages as an individual format, but can also be used to complement digital strategies too.
To explore these possibilities, Australia Post looked to Accenture to develop the white paper ‘Mail’s Role In The Digital Age’.
One of the core findings of this research was the higher rates of engagement inherent to physical mail.
74 per cent of respondents gave their complete attention when reading physical mail.1 That is more than 10 per cent higher rate than those who gave their full attention when reading an email, which was 61 per cent.1
One of the respondents, a twenty-six-year-old man, wrote that when he gets a letter, he is “probably a lot more likely to actually read it and probably engage with it. Whereas, when I receive an email, I’m probably a lot less likely to go to the effort of actually reading it in proper detail.”1
In terms of driving short-term sales – an area where it might be assumed that digital comms are superior – Accenture found that 43 per cent of respondents had made a purchase directly because they had received physical mail.1
For small businesses especially looking to grow in a post-Covid world, nailing that hybrid of online and offline strategy is core to driving sales. Last year taught us that e-commerce was essential for any company, regardless of size. Securing that direct response and sale also complements the brand-building benefits of mail to ensure customers return.
This is one of the core instances where a multi-channel strategy is optimal, as consumers who receive marketing information in the mail then often make their purchases online.
In fact, almost three-quarters of the respondents, at 74 per cent, had made a digital purchase after receiving physical mail.1
There are three core factors to why mail is so appealing to consumers: the fact that mail communication feels more trustworthy, the sensory, tactile experience of receiving something physical in the post, and the emotional relationship and affirmation developed between brands and customers.
The physical experience of receiving a piece of mail highlights the individuality of the specific consumer, as opposed to receiving a mass email. It communicates that the brand is taking a higher level of care in their correspondence.
Mail campaigns can be executed simply and effectively with the help of Australia Post, which can assist with the crucial element of targeting. Initiatives like redeemable coupons or voucher codes can be used to measure response rates.
One respondent, a female aged 19, described receiving physical mail as “similar to receiving a gift.”1
Mail also helps boost the trustworthiness of brands, particularly in our current era of spam emails, clickbait, and dodgy backlinks.
Perhaps unexpectedly to marketers, physical mail is also an innovative way of connecting with younger consumers.
It may be assumed that the only way to reach younger generations is through the internet. They are, of course, labelled ‘digital natives’. But it is actually that 18 – 34 bracket that is most receptive to mail marketing. 56 per cent of 18-34 year olds trust mail, as opposed to 30 per cent of over 35’s.1
Part of the reason behind these statistics is the aforementioned excitement and sense that effort has been put into the communications.
46 per cent of 18-34 year olds surveyed have made a purchase as a direct result of being sent mail, as opposed to 40 per cent of over 35s.1
A male respondent, aged 26, reflected that, “I like the physical nature of the mail because it feels
like it’s a more, I suppose, genuine, authentic experience.”1
To find out more about the benefits of mail communications, contact Australia Post.
This article is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice for your business needs.
1Accenture, Mail’s Role in the Digital Age, 2020
Featured Image: iStock/Kerkez