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Examining the Prevalence of Physical Mail in 2017

You may think that email has destroyed the art of writing letters. Yet, here we are in 2017, and physical mail thrives.

However, mail has been on a consistent decline.

USPS reports a 61% decrease in volume for First Class Mail between 1995 and 2013. The decrease is also found in the annual shipment statistics released by FedEx. Similar numbers are represented with UPS.

But if mail is dying, then why are so many marketers turning to snail mail? Read on to find out.

The Prevalence of Physical Mail in 2017

Society has relied on digital documentation since the birth of the Internet. Businesses and consumers are encouraged to go paperless.

Physical mail is making its comeback for two three main reasons:

  1. It’s cheap and effective
  2. There’s less competition
  3. It has functionality

Consumers are so used to digital messages and documentation, that we now place a real value on mail. Some even go as far as praising snail mail.

Most businesses today operate and advertise online. The cost of PPC & email campaigns have skyrocketed due to the high levels of competition.

Many businesses are now finding it cheaper to turn to parcel post as a vehicle for branding and lead generation.

How Businesses are Using Direct Mail in 2017

Imagine a wide open playground to reach your market that costs little and have few competitors. This is where you (and smart businesses) find yourself with physical mail campaigns.

Here are some of the interesting ways businesses are using mail in 2017:


Catalogs are easy to create because most (if not all) media and copy is made by packaging the website content into physical form.

Businesses that use catalogs have found that 30% of recipients visited the physical store to shop.


Improvements to direct mail offer personalization. This could be the inclusion of a name or referencing order history. This customization results in increased engagement with the recipient.

Creative Formats

Digital transmissions are restricted by size and formatting.

Large file sizes are difficult to deliver on slower connections. Improper formatting can ruin the appearance (and goal) of the piece.

Plus, ad blockers are prevalent and will put a stop to all campaigns. That’s not something that happens with a residential mailbox.

Mail can take on any form, which gives a business an edge when it’s time to draw attention and express a message.


Postcards are the physical embodiment of ads.

The recipient will give it a once over-even when it’s on the way to the bin. Within this fleeting moment the goal of branding is complete: the message put in their mind.

Still not convinced?

Integrating the Physical with Digital

Direct mailing pairs well with digital options in ways we’ve already covered.

Mainly, that the media and copy is already available through online efforts. All that’s needed is to condense the items into physical form.

Perhaps it’s time to reassess your relationship with direct mailing campaigns. It’s a great time to use your business mailbox to its full advantage.

Do you plan to use mail for business purposes in 2017?

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