Guest Post: Why Snail Mail is Still Effective in the Age of the Internet

Now that brands can reach consumers through emails, texts, and social media, the idea of sending a physical postcard or promotional letter is obsolete, right?

Actually, the above statement couldn’t be more wrong. It’s precisely because of the prevalence of emails and social posts that physical mail has become a more effective marketing tool than ever before. With the average worker receiving 121 emails a day and nearly half of their inbox considered spam, it’s no wonder that many use instant deletion to clear out messages without ever opening a single communication.

Phishing scams pretending to be from secure sites like Apple or Paypal have also led consumers to assume emails are yet another attempt to steal their information. A pause inside the distracting world of electronic messages, mail is a more personal—and trustworthy—way to communicate.

Even though adults under 40 under the age of 30 grew up in an era of smartphones and texting, 36% were still found to enjoy their checking their mailbox each day, according to a Gallup Poll. The number for older demographics is even higher—up to 56% for ages 65 and over.

The U.S. Postal Service conducted a survey that discovered, although participants process digital ads quicker, they spend more time with physical ads, and remember their content better. Survey participants who interacted with physical ads were more emotionally engaged and interested, allowing them to retain the information for much longer. Items promoted in these ads were seen as more desirable and valuable to the consumer.

The tactile quality of touching a piece of direct mail can lead to a deeper level of engagement, making a stronger impact than sight or sound alone. A recent Eagleman Lab study discovered that paper quality heightened this impact. Simple elements such as a handwritten font, physical stamp or unique packaging can make your message feel important. To elevate your offerings above the competition, consider including a sample or small gift that promotes your business.

But don’t think of snail mail as the only way to reach your customer base—consider it as a crucial element in a series of channels that relay your message. Direct mail can push traffic to your website, highlight a special promotion or coupon, even serve as a well-designed, personal way to engage your customers and keep your brand top of mind.

image by TimothyJ via Flickr

Brianna Long

View posts by Brianna Long
Brianna is the Marketing Director of Thomas Printworks and has more than 20 years of experience. Thomas Printworks is a family-owned reprographics company and a provider of digital print solutions.


  1. Mike Cane4 January, 2019

    That’s interesting. But what are First Class postage costs these days? I haven’t bought a stamp in ages. And while there are bulk mail permits, ramping up something like up means starting with the expense of First Class Mail.

    1. Xavier Basora4 January, 2019

      And what are the costs of sending a print book in the mail as part of a giveaway or as a thank you?


  2. Tired5 January, 2019

    Physical ads are from stores in town and are relevant, unlike the spam and phishing that are sent by email.

  3. Allen F8 January, 2019

    Paper you have to at least glace at to filter it from the bills and whatnot, emails I can tell the spam filter which ones to grab and never even see them.

    Those that do hit my email inbox get to show their ‘from’ and ‘title’ only, I’ll open the ones that look interesting, those that might carry a payload I drop in junk and open in there. As most of my mail (and sites like this one) is hitting a little Raspberry Pi and most ‘traps’ are made for the windows/apple fans I’m not real worried. 😉

  4. […] “Guest Post: Why Snail Mail is Still Effective in the Age of the Internet” on The Digital Reader […]


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