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Can "Junk Mail" Help Grow Your Business?

July 22, 2009
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I miss “junk mail.”

It’s true. Even though I sometimes complained when digging out from a pile of mail, I actually enjoyed opening it.

For me, it was never “junk.” Where else can you receive, at no cost and no hassle, countless offers to experience new products and services, often at discounted rates? (Yes, I know and love the Internet, radio and TV infomercials, but those experiences are far less fulfilling tactilely.)

True, some of my mail was irritating, but much of it was fascinating. My favorites included catalogs with tools or gear splashed on the covers, letters with teaser comments daring me to peek inside, self-mailers die-cut and folded in ways that demanded my attention, and any kind of bulky or bumpy mystery package.

And of course, there were magazines that I always scanned to see if another publishing company had come up with a clever technique for improving the reader experience.

All of that engaging mail has slowed to a trickle and could become extremely scarce. The USPS is projecting a 2009 net loss of $2.67 billion and is likely to close thousands of local post offices, cut Saturday delivery and charge a lot more for its services for years to come.

While the global recession is heavily to blame for the severe reduction in mail volume, the Internet is the real game-changer. Marketers feel promoting their goods and services via the Internet is faster, cheaper, and easier to manage.

Sometimes it is. You are reading this blog online after all.

Because I work for a media company providing print, e-media and direct mail solutions, I love the variety of mediums we offer to marketers and readers. I am especially geeked about our innovative digital tools that improve engagement and instantly connect readers with the products they need.

But I also sense opportunity for businesses that incorporate snail mail into their plans. Here’s why.
  • It’s hard to beat the tactile feeling of a direct mail piece, especially if a little creative design has been applied.
  • Magazines, catalogs and brochures offer a 3-dimensional visual experience not available via other mediums.
  • Many people still prefer to curl up or sit down with a printed product vs. a laptop.
  • I find spam in my e-mail inbox far worse than unwanted mail.
  • I save printed material longer than digital materials.
  • It’s easy to target a message to specific zip codes or demographics.
  • But the No. 1 reason businesses should incorporate mail into their marketing plans is that it can truly stand out from the clutter – because there is no clutter.
Right now, we get so little mail we can spend more time looking at the magazines, flyers and brochures that we do receive. The opportunity to connect with buyers hasn’t been this good since the Pony Express.

So as you consider all the cool ways to connect with your prospects via the Internet, consider adding postcards, brochures, or (shameless plug alert) magazine ads to your plan. Savvy marketers know that combining print and e-media produces the best results.
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