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Today’s customer may receive any number of communications from companies and in several different ways. Modern communications go beyond the physical, reaching consumers via email, social media and text messaging (and drone). There is no doubt that digital communication is a fast and effective means of getting your message across to customers. But physical communications are still held in high regard, according to a Royal Mail report (who some may say have a particular view on this subject), in which a whopping 92% of physical mail recipients had enough of an emotional response to physical mail received that they took some kind of action.
The key to ensuring physical mail remains on top in terms of effectiveness is to keep it relevant to the recipient. One way to achieve this is to make it personal. Mail that addresses a recipient specifically will not only cause it to be more appreciated, but will increase the likelihood of a response. Mail of this kind can include anything from a product recommendation based on a previous purchase to appointment reminders, behaviour-led customer offers, etc.
Physical does what digital cannot
Although digital is now an integral part of most organisations, and digital communication like email is certainly a great way to reach prospects and customers in a timely manner, it’s ROI continues to be less than physical mail. Where it comes to evoking an emotional response, physical mail still reigns. It provides the recipient with a tangible means of attaining ‘ownership’ something digital communication simply cannot achieve: When a consumer feels like something belongs to them, they are more likely to share it.
Mixing it up
A common trend with many organisations is that once they go digital, they go entirely digital. While this can indicate innovation and forward thinking on the organisation’s part, to abandon physical mail completely can actually prove detrimental. In fact, by continuing physical communication at least to a point, a company can realise even more popularity with its consumers. This may be true more of certain market sectors, and demographic splits, than others. And will this be the case in 5, 10, 15 years time?
This is not to say that digital cannot be responsible for a company’s rapid growth; indeed, digital is being named as the prime reason for the success of many businesses. But in continuing to communicate with customers via physical mail, a personal connection is more likely to be made. Unlike email which can be deleted without the reader absorbing the message and deleted with one click even it has it’s been read, physical mail may spend many days hanging around on the family’s kitchen worktops before it ever reaches the recycling bin!
It’s what’s inside that counts
Of course, simply having a physical piece of mail is only the beginning of reaching the customer. Whatever its composition, a physical piece of mail must be able to communicate an appropriate message to the recipient. Content is still ‘king’.
Using digital to improve physical mail management and delivery
Many organisations are unsure how to merge the digital with the physical. For those utilising manual processes for physical mail management, things can be taken to the next level by instead relying on digital means. Maintaining accurate customer related databases in combination with digital printing can make all the difference and allow organisations to maximise the value of their physical customer communications, while continuing to deliver a personal message to the consumer.
Starting, growing and maintaining productive and profitable business relationships are all objectives that can be successfully reached through physical mail. Also, physical mail continues to be an affordable means of reaching customers on a personal level, at least in terms of client responses per pound spent. Therefore, it’s important that this communication method remains at the top of the priority list for businesses.
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