Are high tech solutions costing you audience?

by Smartie on September 2, 2010

Even with all the high tech gizmos and solutions out there, low tech outreach could be the way to go.

Even with all the high tech gizmos and solutions out there, low tech outreach could be the way to go.

Over the past 12 – 18 months, I have seen more and more companies eschew traditional marketing methods in favor of online solutions. In other words, no postcards are being created, or mailed. Season information is left to email alerts, Facebook and blog posts.

One of my clients, however, still funnels a fair amount of money into brochures, postcards and snail mail. We have quarterly brochures that cover three months of programming, and each production has a postcard that gets snail mailed at the very least to our member base. To us, snail mail is still an important way to reach our audience.

In this Business Insider piece, Charles Nicholls of SeeWhy (a shopping cart abandonment consulting company–yes they have those!) points out that their reasearch shows that nine of the top 10 converting websites (sites that convert visits into sales) have physical old school catalogs. Of course, there’s more to it than that. But Nicholls points out, “Visitors that arrive at their websites are not cautious and in need of convincing because they have probably already been warmed up by an old-fashioned direct mail campaign and a catalog that arrived in their mailbox.”

A lot of new media marketing hinges on the word “trust.” Does your audience trust you enough to buy from you? Gurus often say that you can build trust over Twitter or Facebook, or from your blog. So I think it’s interesting that trust is also established, and in some cases, more so, by a direct mail campaign.

I still use snail mail. I am one of the only publicists left that snail mails releases. While I do send out information via email, I follow up those sends to key media with a snail mail release. They could be dealing with email overload, and a piece of mail may actually be an attention getter, since no one is sending them that way anymore.

Yes, it’s expensive. But perhaps it’s worth the expense.

Tell me, are you still snail mailing? Why or why not?

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September 2, 2010 at 6:39 pm

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Joe Basile September 3, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Karen,

Your post is a good reminder of the effectiveness of snail mail. I may not open all of my emails, but I always sort through all my mail. Things I want to be reminded of get put on my cork board and then, I’m constantly reminded of it every time I pass it.

The downside is the cost which can easily add up if you’re printing materials and the time commitment to maintain an updated database. Especially in NYC with everyone moving so often!

If you’re working with a tight budget, I think snail mail works well with small groups of targeted people.

If you’re a big organization with a team of people who can manage lists and a larger budget, snail mail can continue to complement marketing strategies.

Sears was totally revolutionary back then!

Smartie September 4, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Thanks for the comment, Joe! I completely agree! (And I love looking at the old Sears catalogs that have the pre fab homes pages!)

Said client above usually sends snail mail to an extremely targeted list of names, often no more than a few thousand. The quarterly brochure often goes to larger lists, and is clearly a major expense. But if the mailings can be small and uber targeted, I think they are very much worth doing.

Plus, if the art work on a postcard is beautiful, it’s easy to get someone’s attention with it! A very pretty piece of art/reminder to hang on a cork board!

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