These six attributes explain the power of direct mail

Is direct mail dead? It’s the question on marketers’ minds. At the very least, it’s the question they’re Googling: with 167 million results for the search “is direct mail dead?”

So, is it? Let’s just say you shouldn’t wait around for the funeral procession. In 2018 alone, Canada Post delivered nearly 8 billion pieces of mail and parcels—almost 32 million items delivered daily. Direct mail isn’t going anywhere. Its place in the wider toolset of marketing and sales channels may be changing. But its power to build your business isn’t. Here are six reasons why.

1. Direct mail delights

Those of us old enough to remember when we went to Blockbuster Video for our Friday night entertainment will recall when mail was annoying—the inbox spam of the ’90s. And like the movie rental chain, those days are long gone. 41{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} of Americans look forward to checking their mail every day, including 36{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} of Americans under the age of 30. In turn, a whopping 90{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} of Americans look forward to receiving personal letters and cards… something we know a little bit about.

An enormous number of your potential customers, donors, and stakeholders like mail. They really like it.

2. Direct mail sticks around.

Today’s email inboxes are a blast zone of unopened brand newsletters, sales emails, and spam from that one store you visited on vacation once, and foolishly gave your email address for a digital receipt instead of a printed one. Big mistake trying to save the trees there.

Avoid the digital wasteland that is your customers’ spam folder. Direct mail, in contrast, sticks around. Over an 18-month research study, the UK’s Royal Mail service found that:

  • nearly 40{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} of consumers have a dedicated display area for mail;
  • that nearly one-quarter of mail is shared among members of a household; and
  • mail remains in the home for anywhere between 17 and 45 days after delivery, leaving multiple opportunities for your message to be seen and re-seen.

A strong direct mail piece – potentially displayed publicly – will catch the eye of multiple occupants in one home and will stick around far longer—unlike an email, always buried by the next email to arrive. This boosts message recall, enhances brand recognition, and means more bang for your marketing buck.

3. Direct mail gets responses.

Sure, email marketing can be cheap—but sometimes, you get what you pay for. Canada Post found that postcard marketing has a response rate of 4.4{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57}, compared to digital marketing at 0.12{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57}. That means postcard marketing is 10-30 times more effective.

But why cause a lover’s spat when you can be a matchmaker? Ultimately, email marketing and direct mail are better off together. Canada Post conducted neuromarketing research and concluded that recipients “paid 39{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} more attention to integrated direct mail and digital campaigns than to single-media digital campaigns, and consumers had 40{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} higher brand recall when direct mail followed email.”

4. Direct mail drives customers to your website.

Let’s go a little deeper into the power of integration. Today’s consumers seamlessly move from offline experiences to online ones. We can catch an ad on a subway car, whip out our phones, and search more about what’s caught our eye.

The United States Postal Service commissioned a study into how direct mail directs traffic to senders’ websites. The results will make you smile. Direct mail and catalog recipients were not only more likely to make an online purchase—they were also more likely to buy more items and spend more money. Catalogues were particularly impactful. The study found a revenue lift of 163{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} for websites supported by catalogues, as opposed to those that were not—boosted especially by a greater influence on first-time shoppers, and a discouraging effect on competition shopping.

Direct mail, in this way, can serve as a strong cue for driving a consumer to your digital platforms—a particularly powerful insight for an e-commerce retailer, or other company dependent on-site traffic.

Given this extraordinary website traffic-driving effect, consider one of direct mail’s greatest benefits for retailers…

5. Direct mail can help you control sales fluctuations.

It’s a problem facing many retailers—peaks and troughs over the course of the annual sales cycle. Some are plagued by these fluctuations more than others. For instance, in 2017 many famous American retailers—like GameStop, Best Buy, Kohl’s, and Macy’s—depended on the holiday season alone for more than one-third of their annual revenue. That’s a nail-biting dependency for any business owner, where a bad season can mean downsizing, layoffs, or worse.

Direct mail’s ability to drive consumers to online stores can be strategically leveraged to even out your sales across the year. Consider identifying the period of the year where your sales performance is worst and deploying a direct mail campaign to boost revenue through special discount events and other tactics.

6. Direct mail is emotional.

Put simply: direct mail stimulates all the emotions that can create a lasting, loyal relationship between you and your customers.

That Royal Mail study we mentioned earlier found that more than half of recipients feel more valued after receiving mail, and value something they can touch 24{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} more than something they simply see.

We’re no strangers to the emotional punch of handwritten, direct mail here at Postalgia. We’ve written about how direct mail can turn an e-commerce transaction into a real-life relationship, and have also taken a deep dive into the ways expressing gratitude to customers or donors through direct mail can build lasting, loyal, long-term connections with key market demographics. Creating a genuine emotional connection with your brand is a time-tested way to build a business that lasts.

These are only six examples of how direct mail packs a powerful punch for any organization, whether you depend on new leads, donors, customers, or lasting loyalty. And no direct mail is more impactful than handwritten letters produced at scale—an incomparable personal touch for thousands of your stakeholders. Click here to learn how.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Turn e-commerce into an IRL relationship with handwritten letters

E-commerce is everything for entrepreneurs in 2020. The NASDAQ estimates that by 2040, 95% of purchases will be facilitated by e-commerce. But we are already seeing that shift happening now. Consider: An Adobe report found that American consumers spent more than $50 billion on their smartphones during the 2019 holiday season—accounting for 84% of the holiday season’s spending growth that year.

E-commerce represents an amazing growth opportunity while also being plain scary. Why? Two words: frictionless and spontaneity. E-commerce sales represent a nearly frictionless experience for consumers. Today, a customer can see an ad for a watch, feel an instantaneous emotional connection, and make an impulse purchase under a minute from their phone with pre-loaded credit card information. The time between initial awareness and purchase decision can be less time than it takes for a freshman to microwave a bowl of instant noodles—a food that literally has the word “instant” in its name.

But a spontaneous purchase decision is also an easily abandoned one, and that’s a scary thing for online retailers. That Adobe report we mentioned above found that 50% of smartphone shoppers abandon their carts—half of online shoppers! You can lose them as quickly as you get them, and you can lose them as soon as they click off their browser to open a text from the ex they weirdly still talk to. Distractions abound. But as long as these distractions continue to negatively impact the bottom line—letting checkout carts collect dust in your backend—online retailers are left with a critical challenge.

How do you create a personal relationship online with an easily distracted customer you’ll never talk to?

You see, back in the good ol’ days…  (Narrator: “They weren’t that good.”)

Customers would come into your store, and you would talk to them. Over time, you could build a relationship. They would recognize you and your expertise. And you had opportunities to persuade them about the value of a product or a purchase.

Today, persuasion is happening over ad images and tight copy. And as much as you’re competing with others in your product category, you’re also competing for customers’ attention as they scroll through the device in their hands. Insert The Simpsons’ “Old Man Yells At Cloud” headline. Your enemy in this scenario is a calendar notification as much as a competitor.

To win the fight, get off the digital battlefield onto winning ground. Go analog. Handwritten letters can be a surprising but effective counter-measure in the battle for customers’ online attention.

E-commerce retailers think everything about their customer experience has to be digital. Flip that thinking on its head.

Here are six specific ways an e-commerce retailer can use handwritten letters to outsmart the competition—not to mention that pesky calendar notification.

1. Send a handwritten thank-you note along with a shipped product.

A thank-you note is just an incomparably personal and simple way to build a connection with a customer. You’re shipping to this customer anyway—why not include a personalized, handwritten note thanking them for their purchase? There’s so much research to support the conclusion that expressing gratitude is a powerful way to build trust and relationships. Telling a customer how much you appreciate their business is just one effective way of making a one-time customer a loyal and long-term one.

2. Send a follow-up letter months after a customer has purchased a product…

There’s an impactful generosity to giving a customer free information before they become a customer.  In turn, to check in on a customer’s experience of your product months after they’ve purchased shows how deeply you care. Consider including your phone number or email address so they can follow up personally with feedback. This is also a great way to keep you top-of-mind with a previous customer, and an encouragement for them to come back.

3. …And up-sell in that letter.

Use that follow-up letter as an opportunity to up-sell the customer on new products. This is especially true if you’re in a product category where certain items can complement your customers’ purchases, like a new hamper for a towel set, or a travel bag for shampoos and other bathroom items.

4. Drive direct mail targets to your website.

One InfoTrend survey found that more than half of customers who responded to direct mail either went to the brand’s website or visited their offline store. Once you’ve piqued a potential customer’s interest with a piece of mail, they’ll visit your website and start browsing. Worst case, they are sharing data through their clicks, allowing them to be targeted with paid ads. The boundary between online and offline is gone. With handwritten letters, you’re sending recipients straight to your website—right where you want them.

5. Try special discounts for letter recipients.

Send handwritten letters at scale with the help of Postalgia to a new market segment in a certain geographic area. For any new customer receiving your letter, include a QR code or a special checkout discount code. Like the thank-you note mentioned above, a personal invitation, combined with the opportunity to save a little money on their first purchase, is a great way to create a relationship.

6. Send a newsletter with product tips, along with a handwritten introduction.

People love getting things for free. Especially when those things are valuable. And whether it’s fashion tips for a new season, the most up-to-date info on local real estate prices, or the hottest trends in home furnishing, a colourful, visual newsletter can deliver high-value information to potential customers that might inspire them to buy from you. Even better: with today’s direct mail targeting, it’s easier than ever before to micro-target a newsletter right to your best consumer demographic.

Including a handwritten introduction with a newsletter is a great way to personalize the information shared—include an email or phone number so a potential customer can reach out to you and learn more.

These are just six examples, but any creative entrepreneur can think of occasions than fit their sales process. The lines between the offline and online worlds haven’t just been blurred—they’re gone. Take advantage.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

12 Tactics for Using Handwritten Letters in Your Sales Funnel

Sales funnels. If you’re an entrepreneur or salesperson, you’ve heard the term enough to make your ears bleed. Yes, those YouTube ads by teenage sales “gurus” are torturous. (“Here’s how my 15-year old daughter made six figures in two months as an Amazon reseller,” she says. Ok, Karen.) But they’re right about one thing—you need a sales funnel, and well-defined tactics for every stage of the funnel, to succeed in your business.

But first, a quick refresher on sales funnels. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need them: customers discover our store or website, take a close look, decide to buy—no questions asked—and then tell their friends and family.

We don’t live in that world. We live in a world where companies go to war for the attention of their customers’ over-extended brains. And even when we get a flash of that attention, we have to get them interested enough to learn more. Then we need to convince them to buy something. Even when we’ve done that, we actually need them to click the “Confirm purchase” button to complete the sale.

That’s the traditional sales funnel: how we move a potential customer from awareness of our offering to interest in it, to making a decision to buy, to taking action.

Proven tactics for each stage of the sales funnel are helpful when you are putting one together. Handwritten letters—of the kind Postalgia can produce in spades—fit into any stage of an effective sales funnel. Here are just some examples to get you thinking creatively about how handwritten letters can build your business.


  • Many companies use direct mail targeting through their postal service. Consider leveraging this tactic with a handwritten note to introduce yourself to potential customers. For instance: a realtor could send ageing homeowners in a local neighbourhood a handwritten introduction. It could include the realtor’s history selling houses in that neighbourhood, and how the realtor can help any family looking to downsize. It’s a friendly way to introduce yourself and build credibility in a new market with a targeted segment.
  • Starting a new business? Why not send a letter to all your professional and personal contacts, letting them know you’re hanging your shingle? You’ll find no greater advocates than your closest friends and family. The human touch of a handwritten letter may inspire them to share your info with others.
  • Mail your list of loyal and past customers, letting them know about a new line of products or a major sale you’re launching. Consider connecting your letter to their previous purchase. “Sarah, if you loved the fall scarf you purchased from us last year, you’ll adore the new fall scarves we’re releasing this October!”


  • Many companies keep subscription lists for branded newsletters. Consider surprising subscribers with a handwritten letter. For instance: if a non-profit or charity offers a regular newsletter, that organization could mail their first edition to a new supporter with a special handwritten letter thanking them for their support.
  • Consider sending a letter with a timely call-to-action related to a topical news event. For instance: Let’s say meteorologists are predicting a chilly winter. If you sell outerwear, send a letter to local residents, letting them know about the cold to come and offering a discount on coats. Connecting your product to a top-of-mind challenge is a great way to clinch a purchase decision.
  • If you offer product samples, especially online, accompany those samples with a handwritten letter thanking the potential customer for their consideration and explaining the many benefits of your products. It’s a great way to create a personal connection right when a potential customer weighs whether they want to go further.


  • There’s nothing an e-commerce entrepreneur dreads more than seeing a user with a full shopping cart, who hasn’t hit the “Checkout” button. Worry not—if you have their shipping information, send them a handwritten letter reminding them to complete their purchase. You can even offer a special discount as an incentive to finish.
  • Do you host informative webinars for potential customers exploring your product or market? It’s easy to connect that experience to a handwritten letter. Whether you use EventBrite or another event management platform, require that attendees share their mailing information. Follow up with each attendee by letter after your webinar, thanking them for attending and providing your phone number if they’d like to learn more. That personal touch will take the sometimes-impersonal experience of a webinar and make an attendee feel valued.
  • If you provide personal consultations to potential customers—say, the way a realtor will offer a free, no-obligation house appraisal—you can offer to follow up that consultation with a one-page summary of your recommendation for the customer. Helping customers for free—and encouraging them to purchase your services along the way—is a great method for building loyalty.


  • We know the extraordinary effects of gratitude on the human psyche. It’s not surprising then how effective a simple thank-you letter for a new customer can be. Sending a thank-you letter with any product you ship, or after service you provide, will leave a memorable mark – particularly among new customers whom you hope to keep for the long-term.
  • Handwritten letters are also a great way to upsell a customer in a non-pushy, friendly way. Let’s say you sell furniture. If a customer buys a new coffee table, you might attach a handwritten letter to their shipment, letting them know your recommendations for rugs, side tables, or chairs that would perfectly match. Connecting your helpful suggestions to their purchase shows that you are offering personalized advice tailored to their tastes—and may convince them to buy more.
  • Show customers how much you care about their experience with your company. An appropriate period after their purchase, send them a follow-up letter asking about their use of the product. Are they fully satisfied? Do they have any questions? Are they enjoying the product as you hoped? Provide your email or phone number—show the customer you care deeply about their enjoyment of the product, long after they have paid you. It’s an excellent way to build a relationship and earn a customer’s loyalty in the long-term.

These are just a few ideas for every stage of the sales funnel. Handwritten letters are an effective tactic, no matter where your customer is at in their journey. And with the power of Postalgia’s robots, you can produce handwritten letters on mass for any sales campaign. Click here and learn how.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Long Live the Concierge – Personalizing the E-Commerce Customer Experience


The transition for the brick and mortar storefront has been hugely exciting for a whole host of reasons:

The need to pay top dollar to rent space in a mall or heavy-traffic area, hire full-time staff, and catch window shopping customers eyes with immaculately curated glass displays presented an impossible barrier for most aspiring brands and entrepreneurs to overcome.

The e-commerce revolution has democratized the economy in a way thought impossible 30 years ago, using technologies that were unthinkable 20 years ago, at a scale unimaginable even 10 years ago.

The nosedive in operational costs has allowed e-commerce brands to focus their efforts on customer acquisition, product development, and excellent customer service.

What is often overlooked, however, is what has been lost from the traditional retail – and particularly luxury retail –  experience.

E-commerce has allowed small but mighty emerging brands to punch far above their weight, putting out exceptional products, and selling the customer new high-end and luxury purchases – a transaction that would have previously been impossible without tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars of marketing, PR, and brand awareness efforts.

Think about Gymshark, Allbirds, or Colourpop.

The luxury retail brands that used to dominate shopping malls across America have woken up, and gotten the memo. Tools like Shopify have empowered retailers of all sizes, big and small, to compete for online traffic in the way that they used to compete for foot traffic.


If e-commerce brands want to continue to capitalize on the new, online economy, they need to take lessons about what was right about the old, brick and mortar economy.

A Place Where Everybody Knows Your Name

One thing that kept customers coming back to their favourite brick and mortar stores was the feeling that someone at the store knew them personally, and would take care of them personally.

Some of the functions of a friendly sales associate can be replaced by a chat-bot, or live-chat agent, but the feeling that a human being – rather than a faceless company – stands behind the purchase is much more difficult to replace.

E-commerce brands that want to keep their customers coming back need to find a way to make a human connection, and trigger the psychological feeling of comfort that comes from buying from another person, rather than a machine.

E-Commerce brands are also missing opportunities for up-sell and cross-sell. 

The deluge of data now available to retailers when they sell to you online has allowed them to better target their offers to you, but it has also rendered them totally apathetic to the negative effects of spamming you.

Advantage: Brick and mortar.

Personable, commissioned sales representatives knew that once you were in their store, the hardest part of acquiring a customer was over, and that the longer they kept you in the store, the more likely you were to buy something else.

Bought a shirt? Here are some matching ties. Bought a guitar? How about an amplifier? A tuner? A set of replacement strings?

E-commerce companies have a massive edge at their disposal when it comes to the data that they have about their customers purchasing habits, but they waste that rich data by emailing you over and over until you unsubscribe, or running ads that you rapidly scroll past to get to pictures of your ex-girlfriend’s dinner.



Not my ex-girlfriend’s dinner.

They know that those emails have an abysmally low open rate (when they make it past spam filters, that is), and an even lower click-through rate.

They are basically saying “you’ve purchased from us once, and in the case of 99% of our customers, we’re satisfied with the relationship ending there.” Why would these marketing managers ever aim so low?

Can you imagine a commissioned salesperson deciding that it was totally fine to let 90% of customers leave the store without even hearing their pitch for a cross-sell or up-sell? Neither can I.

Big mistake. Big! Huge!

The last thing that you want to do, when running an E-commerce retail store, is turn your advantages into disadvantages, or accept that with the benefits of automation, data, and low overhead must de facto come the sacrifice of impersonal customer experience, low retention, and poor customer stewardship.

The days of strolling through a mall and window shopping while taking in the smells of the food court and sounds of the toy stores may be behind us, but the customer acquisition, retention, and engagement strategies that served big brick and mortar retail so well for so many decades shouldn’t be.

With data and automation at your fingertips, margins are higher, everywhere is local, and the opportunities for high-touch personalization are endless.

Get in touch to learn how you can turn your data into personal, handwritten cards that will get opened, read, and activate your customers.


Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.