Last week’s post described some of the serious problems facing the post office. The two biggest issues are an unsustainable cost structure and declining mail volume. As individuals, we can’t do much about the former but maybe we can help out a bit on the latter.
There’s no question that electronic mail and the internet provide a way to transmit information much faster and more efficiently than “snail mail”. I suppose that concept is OK for certain dry and factual communication like your bank statement. But does anyone ever get really excited about an e mail anymore? I suppose the content of the message is key to that question; however, wouldn’t an actual hand-written note make even more of an impression?
E mail overload has become a big problem in many businesses and for many individuals as well. The sheer volume of information available online and the ability of marketers to transmit that information broadly with the ease of a keystroke has led to a daily avalanche of information reaching our inboxes both at home and at work. How many times in the past month have you sat in front of your screen with analysis paralysis trying to figure out what to read, what to sort out, etc? Just think how many possibly useful messages get lost in this pile.
Now imagine you’re sitting at your desk trying to negotiate all this and someone hands you an envelope. Not just an envelope, but one that is addressed to you. Not just addressed to you but actually hand-written. My guess is you would stop what you’re doing and open it just for the sheer novelty of it.
Let’s carry it further and say that the content of the letter is a personally written note of some kind. Think that would make an impression?
In the past couple of years, I’ve begun to send notes to customers thanking them for their business and also to prospects that I’ve been having trouble reaching. The notes are short, to-the-point and always hand-written. (Despite having attended Catholic school as a child and all that implies with regard to penmanship, my hand-writing is not great. I do my best and I think it adds to the authenticity. I imagine the recipient giving me an A for effort).
But the presentation is less important than the message that’s transmitted. And by the message, I don’t mean the information on the paper whatever that happens to be. I’m talking about the implied and more important message that comes with the letter that says, “This person cared enough about me and this information to take the time to actually write it down, put a stamp on it and take it to the mailbox”.
Want to have your message stand out? Try writing it down and mailing it. You’ll get a better response and you can help out the post office at the same time. That’s a win-win in my book.