You might be under the illusion that old fashioned letters are a thing of the past. Perhaps you think all correspondence is by email now. Surprisingly, nearly 16 billion pieces of correspondence went by letter in the United States in 2018.
Many people have switched over to e-mail, but snail mail still has its perks. Read on to learn about some of the advantages of mail and email and the disadvantages too.
Email Versus Mail
The debate about email and snail or conventional mail is not one that needs to be won. There’s a place for both. The important thing is to understand what your objectives are and to know how each of the options meets those objectives.
It’s also important to know what your perspective is. The problem might look very different from the perspective of a direct mail marketing company and a private citizen. Likewise, a huge technology business may have one perspective and a niche business providing a personal service for seniors may have another.
Here is a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of each method of communication.
Advantages for Mail
People complain about receiving piles of junk mail through the post but it’s rarely dismissed with the same resentment as the email version. Spam email is not only resented but it is associated with that other evil of internet technology, viruses.
Direct mail can be helpful and informative. It can be easily checked and useful items selected and stored for future reference. For the direct mail company, it provides a useful vehicle for imparting information and a chance to be engaging.
A physical letter or direct mail flyer requires you to use more senses than an email. The process of opening it, unfolding it, holding it and reading it occupies more time, effort and sensation. Somehow the physical, as well as intellectual involvement, helps us commit to its contents more.
Readers of a letter or direct mail communication are more prepared to take the time to follow a story, or understand an argument or even become emotionally involved than they would with a more disposable email.
If you want to express feelings to a friend or relation, use mail. If you want to convince a potential customer about your commitment to satisfying them, send them direct mail.
Disadvantages for Mail
The major downside to mail is its cost. It is more expensive to print and mail a direct mail marketing promotion. A personal letter takes time to write or print.
Folding a letter and placing it into an envelope is expensive. Sending a letter via a postal service adds further costs compared to email.
Advantages for Email
Email is cheap and easy to execute. If you don’t mind what your response rates are you can send spam emails to thousands of email boxes at no more cost than you would to one.
Email is almost instantaneous so if you need to get something out fast, email wins every time. Once you have sent out your communication the email receiver can respond quickly.
Email can be embedded with links to other information using hyperlinks. This means you can connect people to a huge amount of other content on the internet.
Disadvantages for Email
There is so much spam in your email inbox that it’s easy to miss the really important emails you want to read. Even spam filters sometimes remove important emails from your inbox before you’ve had a chance to read them.
It’s so instant that email feels disposable and unimportant. It has a short life and minimal impact. Email is often unexciting in appearance and has a low impact.
The Future for Mail
Both email and snail mail have a place. The email versus mail argument is not an either-or decision. They’ll both be around for years to come.
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