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Marketing Speaker, Jim Ackerman Claims Snail Mail Beats Email 6 Ways to Sunday | Marketing Wizard's Alliance

Marketing Speaker, Jim Ackerman Claims Snail Mail Beats Email 6 Ways to Sunday

By Jim Ackerman · Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

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If you’ve shifted to email as your primary marketing medium; indeed, if you’ve switched to almost any form of electronic marketing as your primary marketing channel in your brick and mortar business, you are almost certainly costing yourself thousands.

Here’s the facts…

Email simply doesn’t get opened. I just doesn’t. People who give us permission to email them —

or even ASK us to email them — don’t open our emails. At least nowhere near at the rate they open snail mail.

Yes, you can send an almost unlimited number of emails, virtually for FREE, and at that rate, if you send enough of them, you can generate some sales, even at their pathetic open rates. But beware the motivations of the email buyer. You may get the same number of sales, but will they be for as much, will the new customer convert to a long-term client, and won’t you have spent as much in time, energy, and yes, even money, to get these few, lower volume, less loyal sales?

In addition to the “spam effect,” which causes us not to open email, even when it’s not spam, there is also the inherent difficulty of getting people to open a document with just a few characters of introduction in a “subject line.” Are you that good a headline writer? Humbly, I must say I think I’m a great headline writer, and I’m a long way from consistently cracking the code on this one.

And since the headline is the ad for the ad, if you can’t get people to open your email from your mini-headline subject line, it ain’t gonna get opened at all.

Contrast both of these inherent weaknesses of email with good old fashioned snail mail.

While we largely ignore most of what we get in our email inbox, everybody goes to the mailbox once a day to see what they got. I even have six and eight year-old grandkids that ask me if they got any mail today.

And while little or no formal “sorting” takes place in the email world, every piece of mail that comes into your home commands at least a glance from at least one person in the house. That means somebody looks at and evaluates the relevancy to them of each piece of snail mail. And they decide whether the piece goes into the “must open” or “maybe open” pile. Whichever pile you make, at least you got your shot. Not so with email.

And with snail mail, you’re not limited to a few characters, blandly presented just like every single other piece of mail in your inbox. No limitations on size, font, style length or materials. Each piece of snail mail looks different. Email can’t match that.

With snail mail, you can use color, illustrations or photography, size, shape, dimension and bulk to get your piece opened. What do you think your odds are with that kind of creative flexibility, compared to that dull, boring, email offering?

Not saying email doesn’t have it’s strengths. Economy of delivery is certainly one. And if you can get your package open, you can do some cool stuff with it that’s tougher to do with snail mail. Add video or audio, for example. These things CAN be done with snail mail, but it’s not inexpensive.

Still, for all that, snail mail has a tactile advantage that 2-dimensional email will never have. You can touch, heft, examine, mull, if you will, with snail mail. No matter how compelling the video, it is stuck in the 2-dimensional plain, behind (on) a screen; untouchable.

Now, I understand the expense arguments. I understand that when you’re looking at sending almost unlimited emails for $15 a month, and a single snail mail envelop can cost you 89¢ or more, the temptation is to forget the snail and stick with the e.

And I’m not saying you should abandon email. You shouldn’t.

But snail mail remains a proven winner for business — small business, in particular — and the costs of acquiring transactions through the mail remain very competitive indeed.

So, here are some tips for lowering the cost of acquisition of a transaction, using snail mail.

· Don’t use a #10 envelope. That’s the standard size of “business” mail and open rates will go down.

· Do use “announcement size” envelopes and greeting card-size envelopes. Doing so could increase your open rates by a factor of 10 or more, which, with a good offer, could dramatically decrease your cost of acquisition.

· Do use email and telemarketing as a follow-up, to increase open and response rates. People need to be told what to do, more than once.

· Do focus on your existing customer lists and specific segments of it for specific offers. This is part of the “small ball” approach we talked about in a recent column.

· Use multiple offers to multiple mini-segments of your list, running concurrently. You can send a promotion to one segment of your list, and another promo to another segment, based on your knowledge of what they have, what they like, etc. You could mail to as few as a couple dozen or to as many as a few hundred.

· When you find something that works, keep using it. Don’t make the mistake of doing something successfully and then asking yourself, “what do I do now?” Do the same thing again… and again… and again.

· Test small and scale up when you achieve success. If something works on a small scale it will likely work on a larger one, and perhaps on the largest one.

· Keep tweaking and testing to “genetically engineer” your marketing for ever-increasing success.

These aren’t the only things you can do, but they’re a great start. As you experiment and refine, I’m guessing your shift back to snail mail will put a nice stamp on your success.

THE END

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Ackerman is a Salt Lake City-based Marketing Speaker, Marketing Coach, author and ad writer. For Jim’s speaking services go to www.marketingspeakerjimackerman.com Subscribe to his VLOGS at www.YouTube.com/MarketingSpeakerJimA, where you get a video marketing tip o’the day, and at www.YouTube.com/GoodBadnUglyAds, where Jim does a weekly ad critique and let’s you do the same.

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