Snail Mail vs. Email: Which Do Customers Respond To?

Considering using traditional mail or “snail mail” to reach your customers? Here are some startling statistics about direct mail in the U.S. According to, the average adult receives 40 to 167 pounds of junk mail a year. That’s 560 pieces each year your postcard or brochure has to compete with. Of that, the US EPA estimates that approximately 44% of direct mail pieces go into landfills unopened.

Not only could direct mail be a waste of advertising dollars, but it wastes the planet as well. The US Forestry service estimates that more than 100 million trees’ worth of bulk mail arrives in American mailboxes each year. Additionally, nonprofit groups like New American Dream and Northwest Recycling Outreach are making it their mission to encourage potential customers to “opt out” of receiving solicitations by mail. For companies who want to present a “green” image, these statistics are worth considering as environmentally conscious prospects may not receive your mailers at all.

Other downsides to direct mail include the high cost of printing, mailing and postage cost. Mailing lists can cost companies as much as 3 to 20 cents a name, and when sending to a business address, print ads may be intercepted by assistants and other gatekeepers, never finding their way into a decision-maker’s hands. Even in the hands of qualified postal workers, they can end up smudged, torn or lost between the pages of a magazine or catalog.

Additionally, unexpected delays in printing or delivery can cost even more. If a flier arrives late, customers might learn of a promotion after the fact, or too near the deadline to take advantage of a sale or special event.

Email ads cost far less to send. The click of a button sends the same message to multiple prospects and, most of the time, it lands directly in their inbox. Unlike “snail mail,” (a nickname coined in the 1840’s to contrast the paper mail with the speed of the telegraph), the delivery of electronic mail is almost instantaneous.

Email also may be read more than traditional mail. According to the Pew Internet and American Life project, based on data from September 2009, 77% of American adults use the Internet and 89% send or read email. Not only is your electronic message more likely to be read; it has no environmental impact, doesn’t get chucked into landfill, and won’t get lost in the folds of a magazine or catalog. With today’s emphasis on being “green,” electronic messages make a lot of sense.

If you’d like help getting started on an successful email campaign to your customers, contact Search Optics at 888-509-9911 today.

The post Snail Mail vs. Email: Which Do Customers Respond To? appeared first on Search Optics Blog.


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