In a previous post, Telemarketing: Why You Should Start Using the Telephone, we talked about why our Small Business Management course includes telemarketing as an important strategy to incorporate in your marketing plan. This then got us thinking about another form of marketing that is being under-utilised in today’s social media and SEO-driven society: mail.
Good Ol’ Snail Mail
No, that wasn’t a typo; we are, in fact, talking about good old-fashioned snail mail. While you may think the days of the letter and stamp are numbered, sending a piece of mail through the post is still a powerful marketing tool — think about how many emails you receive on a daily basis, each vying for your attention, versus hard-copy mail; this is exactly why hard-copy mail can be so effective.
Just as you would with any other marketing strategy, you need to first set an objective and then tailor your letter around that — I’m not going to spend much time on this as it’s something we cover in our Small Business Management course, but you need to determine what things your letter is aiming to achieve: maybe it’s a customer service strategy, for example.
Then make sure you phone each company you’re targeting and get the correct contact person, their job title and address. Sending unaddressed mail to “the marketing manager” or the “managing director” is the equivalent to sending an email to a generic email address: it won’t make it past the first gatekeeper. A piece of mail addressed to John Citizen, marketing manager, however, will make it to John’s PA, or better still, to John Citizen himself.
At this point you’ve got a captive audience; conventional wisdom says that the content of your letter must be absolutely amazing if it’s got any chance of being passed onto John or to get John to act on it, but I would say that’s not entirely true.
The thing about human nature is, when it comes to a tangible object like a letter, a newsletter, magazine, or the like, we’re more likely to read it straight away because it commands our full attention; it’s right there in our hands (plus we’ve already read half of it just trying to figure out who it’s from!)
But even if we don’t read it straight away, that doesn’t mean we’re not going to read it. Human beings long to be distracted and at some point our eyes will wander. It might be while we’re having lunch, or when we’re on the phone, but we’re more likely to read something on our desk, than we are likely to go through the unread emails in our Inbox.
As long as the length of your letter isn’t on par with Lord of The Rings and it’s not rife with spelling and grammatical errors, you have just succeeded where hundreds of email newsletters have failed.