Call me crazy (you won’t be the first), but I look forward to the mail every day. Last week’s snowstorm here in the Boston area kept the mail carrier from our door – although the UPS guy made it up the front stairs through 10 inches of “why I long to live in Florida.”
I missed the mail.
So I sat down to figure out exactly why I love getting direct mail. Here’s why:
- It has the power to delight me. Whether it’s a flyer, catalog, or postcard, I am often impressed by design, printing process, good copy (that I wish I’d written), or some amazing technique that stops me cold. I don’t register “delight” with an email.
- I can enjoy it later at my own pace. I put aside some mail, like catalogs from favorite retailers (Anthropologie, Williams Sonoma, J. Crew), to look thorough carefully when I have more time. Usually it’s over lunch. Leisurely perusal – how sweet it is.
- Direct mail is portable and easily shared. Flyers about upcoming concerts, plays, movies, or other special events come to mind. I put them in particular spots in my office or home. Maybe they’re pinned to a bulletin board. If family or friends are interested, I can share mail pieces with them. This “in your face” quality makes mail more memorable than email.
- Direct mail is unobtrusive. It may (and should) attract my attention, but it sits quietly in a pile until I’m ready to look at it. No audible alerts and no annoying pop-ups on the bottom of my computer screen announcing I’ve got mail.
- It’s easier to sort through than email. Maybe it’s just me, but I get hundreds of emails daily, in two different email accounts, and managing them all is stressful and a nuisance. If emails fall “below the fold” on my monitor, I occasionally forget about them and fail to act on them. I get less real mail delivered; it’s a breeze managing it.
- It has dimension. Though lots of basic #10 envelopes all look and feel the same, my mail is generally a stack of different shapes, sizes and hefts. Handling mail is physical. It registers an impression no matter who it’s from or what shape it takes. Email is just more of a passive thing. And it’s so easy to scan a subject of an email message and hit delete in a nanosecond.
- Direct mail can surprise me. Clever offerings, stunning design, exquisite paper or specialty finishing – all of these can result in my responding to a direct mail piece. “In living color” comes to mind. That’s what good direct mail is. I love it when something smart convinces me to open a piece of mail.
- It often inspires me. Is it because I’m in the business? Maybe. But I save a lot of special pieces that are exceptional, in ways both good and bad. For example, I keep samples of mail with QR codes and PURLs, mail printed on unique substrates, mail that screams “great copy!” or “I can’t believe they sent this out with typos.”
- There’s comfort in touching it. It seems more “real”….does this make sense? Having a physical interaction with direct mail (or anything), makes it just seem more real to me.
- It’s unexpected. What I get delivered in the mail each day is a total surprise to me. Color me juvenile for this, but it’s fun to be surprised.
Direct mail can be produced using lots of dimensions and sizes. Tons of printing techniques. Special inks (like scented). Fabulous and fun folds. Then there’s the paper, which gives you endless options.
There are more ways a business can be creative and outstanding with direct mail than it can in an email.
That’s why I love direct mail.
© 2014 Margie Dana.