Antiquated or especially valuable today? Letter Marketing
An old-world medium or perhaps a valuable marketing tool today for personal appeal?
The history of the letter is long and it goes back several centuries. From personal letters from one's own environment to advertisements to confidential documents sent by mail today - the letter is neither antiquated nor dying out. Even though many companies are moving to a completely online approach, especially when it comes to signing contracts, the letter still exists. Let's take a closer look at why it can be an interesting and, above all, personal alternative in marketing.
What is Letter Marketing?
Letter marketing is also known as direct mail marketing or direct mail advertising and refers to a form of marketing in which companies send physical letters, postcards or even brochures to a selected target group. By mail, with postage and everything that goes with it. Often information about products or services is communicated in this way, as well as innovations, new offers or offers tailored to the target group are sent. Letter marketing can also be used to invite people to events.
In times of Google, AI, VR and social media, many here are now surely asking themselves why people still talk about letters at all and whether and what advantages there are in doing so for companies. Well then, let's take a look.
Benefits of letters in marketing
A small envelope, a bouquet of benefits - letter marketing doesn't come with just one benefit, nor does it come with two - the benefits are many.
By its very nature, the letter offers one key benefit: it is physically present, touchable, and less likely to be forgotten than an email does. Emails can also be clicked away or deleted more quickly, which is not as quick with a letter because it is opened first.
At this point, we'll take a little excursion into economic psychology: traditional utility theory states that the value and utility of an object is always the same, regardless of whether you own it or not. Sounds logical in theory, but in reality it is perceived differently, because this is where the emndowment effect comes into play. As soon as we own a product or object, the individually perceived value increases for each individual. This effect can already be triggered when we take something in our hands. Then it's all about "perceived ownership" and that's the first step in developing an emotional bond. Taking something in the hand changes the value of that "something" - an advantage that a physical object like a letter now brings. You can read more about this here.
What else can letter marketing do?
Targeting: Companies can send their advertising messages to specific groups in order to address their individual interests and needs. This leads to a higher relevance of the messages and thus to a potentially stronger response from the recipients.
Creative potential: there are no limits here, you can go all out. The design of materials can be creative and engaging, and personally addressing recipients can increase the chances of attention and engagement.
Perception: in an age where digital advertising is ubiquitous, physical mail can have a higher chance of actually being noticed. The tangible nature of direct mail can help ensure that messages are less likely to get lost in the advertising chaos.
Measurability: companies can track and measure the response to their campaigns to evaluate success. This allows for continuous improvement and optimization of the marketing strategy. For example, if the letter is combined with a special discount, it can be measured whether and how often it was redeemed.
Building trust: Well-designed and relevant direct mail can strengthen customer trust and promote long-term customer loyalty. After all, as a customer who receives a personal message that can also be physically touched, a bond can develop.
Reactivating inactive customers: Customers who have not bought anything for a while can be reminded with a personal letter that the company and its products are interesting. Information about new offers can also be provided in this way. It can also bridge the gap between online and offline marketing, increasing the reach and effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
So much for the benefits of the letter. Are there also disadvantages? There always are, so here's an overview:
Outdated image: If you position yourself as particularly young, you could possibly at least trigger astonishment among customers regarding image and perception with the choice of the letter.
Costs: Even if the costs remain manageable, since postage is less than €1 for a normal letter, especially in Germany, the costs can still rise, especially for a large number of letters.
Resource consumption: Sustainability is becoming increasingly important. This is a fact and in times of limited resources, the choice of a letter made of paper is of course to be considered comprehensively. This is because it requires limited resources and therefore it is more advisable to send a small but well-planned and targeted quantity of letters when opting for this form of marketing.
What's more, with letters you always run the risk of them ending up unopened in the wastebasket, despite the many advantages. So it needs to be well thought out whether the letter is an option. We recommend here: Class, instead of mass.
What is letter marketing suitable for?
We know the pros and cons of letter marketing, but what can it be used for in a marketing strategy?
If you know your target group well and there is a small, narrowly defined target group, you can use a letter to address this target group very specifically. This requires addresses or an address to which such a letter can be sent. But if this is available, then it is virtually nothing other than a personalized newsletter, only as a physically touchable letter.
Such a letter can also be used for cold calling. Here one should inform oneself in advance only about the legal basic conditions of the cold call. Because straight unsolicited telephone calls are controversial here whether it is really in order or not.
Who has new offers or would like to offer also a target group a purchase incentive, which can make that wonderfully also by letter. Similarly, samples or specimens of a product can also be used as an incentive and sent by letter.
Letters are suitable as invitations to trade fairs, events, etc. In addition, there are other ways to use letters. So if you're wondering whether letters aren't completely antiquated or even extinct in the age of social media - no, they're not. They can still be used as a crucial and, above all, cost-effective tool.
Originating in another century, still part of our lives: the letter has a long history and still has its importance today. But as companies increasingly strive for online and also social media, doesn't the question arise whether it might not sometimes even be just right to swim against the tide and address one's own target group in a very targeted and, above all, personal way?
Letters certainly offer enough advantages, and they have not died out. Perhaps even in times of information overload, the letter will experience a real comeback and, along with newsletters, become a reviving variant of personal marketing. It's definitely something to keep an eye on.
You can find more exciting articles in our blog - feel free to take a look.