Updated: Nov 4, 2022
Think about how it feels when you’re sorting through your mail, and you come across an envelope that is clearly not a bill or a coupon. Do you get a little jolt of curious excitement as you slip your finger under the edge of the envelope?
Yeah, we feel it too. And we’re not the only ones.
The art of sending physical mail has largely gotten lost in the digital age. We’ve forgotten the childlike glee that comes from opening a card or package.
But…isn’t that happiness and childlike glee exactly how we want our clients to feel when they interact with us?
DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT: UNDERSTAND THE SCIENCE
There have been numerous studies and analyses to understand why physical mail has a more significant psychological impact on recipients than other forms of marketing and advertising communications. This means that regardless of how much time we spend looking at screens, subconsciously we’d rather be physically holding a letter or a postcard in our hands.
Study #1: “A Bias for Action,” by the Canada Post Corporation explored the neuroscience behind the response-driving power of physical mail.
The conclusion: Physical mail is quicker and easier for us to process, and more likely to drive an action.
The numbers: Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process and elicits higher brand recall, leading to a motivation response that is 20% higher than digital media.
Study #2: Kantar Millward Brown (leaders in brand strategy consulting and advertising development) conducted a case study related to physical mail and our brain responses.
The conclusion: We connect with, and relate to, physical mail on a deeper and more emotional level than digital. This is important because purchasing decisions are primarily emotion-driven.
The details: “Tangible materials” leave a “deeper footprint” and are more real to our brains, so people are better able to relate physical mail information to their own thoughts and feelings. Printed mail “involves more emotional processing, which is important for memory and brand associations.”
Study #3: USPS in collaboration with Temple University’s Center for Neural Decision Making, studied consumers’ subconscious responses to three buying process phases through survey questionnaires, eye tracking, biometrics, and neuroimaging.
The conclusion: People would rather spend time looking at physical ads than digital ones. Also, because we can have tactile interactions with physical mail – rip, open, unfold, handle – we are able to better remember, and show a greater desire for, the products or services advertised on the printed material.
The details: Among other things, physical ads had a longer-lasting impact than digital, with study participants able to recall printed ads quicker than digital a week later. Participants also exhibited greater subconscious value and desire for products or services advertised on physical material, because it enables customers to use multiple sense, which we are unable to do with digital media.
There are many other studies too, including some that focus on a target age group, such as Gen Z (born 1997 - 2012) who are “notoriously saturated in digital media” yet love to receive personally addressed print mail, and Millennials (born 1981 – 1996) who prefer print ads and find them to be more reliable than digital.
SEND SOMETHING HAPPY
Happy mail is anything you’re excited to see in your mailbox:
Thank You Notes
Birthday and Holiday Cards
An unexpected package or unusually sized envelope with a small item tucked inside
SEND SOMETHING HELPFUL
Content that solves, or helps to solve, a problem they have
Content regarding product or service updates, or necessary information that your clients need (particularly effective with B2B clients)
HOW TO SUCCEED IN THIS SPACE
Use your recipients’ names (nicknames if you know them).
Let us create your own handwriting font to make personalizing your messages a breeze!
Segment your recipient list so you can create special offers or suggest new items based on past purchase history.
Set off emotional triggers
Use copy and imagery that connects with your audience, fills a need, and shows you understand them.
Humans are social. Using images of people or animals making eye contact with the recipients grabs their attention and draw them in - particularly successful when sending postcards.
Keep it interesting
With the current rapid pace of technology and innovation, we’ve trained ourselves to always be looking for what is “new” and “cool.”
Our brains love physical mail – and they also love to laugh and solve puzzles.
Keep it simple
Leave plenty of whitespace and be concise.
Write your copy so that it is straightforward and easy to understand.
LET’S SUMMARIZE THE FACTS
We love physical mail more than digital communications, and we've got the science to back it up.
Physical mail triggers brain activity associated with greater recall and intent to purchase than digital does.
We’re starting to experience digital fatigue, which means physical mail is becoming an even more important part of long-term marketing and sales strategies.
Physical mail is ideal for both building relationships with prospects and solidifying relationships and increasing customer loyalty.
You can succeed in the physical mail space by becoming a trusted resource and sending communications that are unique, targeted, eye-catching, and relate to your audience on an emotional level.
WONDERING WHERE TO START?
We make adding physical mail to your marketing and sales strategies really easy! Visit our send a card page to learn more, or give us a call at (860) 676-1121.