Email newsletters are like iPods. Everybody has one. But remember the old days? When you used to get real, paper newsletters in the mail? They’ve virtually disappeared, replaced by their e-counterparts. As it gets more difficult to stand out amidst email clutter, might it be possible to stand out by returning to an old favorite?
Brands are reverting back everywhere we look.
Mountain Dew has a “throwback” version with real sugar. The drink stands out because everybody is using high-fructose corn syrup. Maybe print newsletters are the old-school sugar? Let’s look at the benefits of sending a printed newsletter in today’s email culture:
- Distinctive from bills. The ability to stand out depends on what you’re trying to stand out from. It seems like all I get in the mail is bills. Rarely does the postman deliver anything with value. The occasional personal thank you note or card is special. Last week, I got a newsletter from the local health food store—and I read the whole thing while I drank my coffee.
- More than a subject line. For people to see your email newsletter, they have to click through a 35-character subject line. This means some audience members only see 35 characters. With print, they can’t help but see more. By mailing your newsletter with immediate visibility in mind, more headlines have a chance to stand out. So do vivid colors, images and compelling design.
- Longer attention span. It takes a lot more time to open the mailbox, flip through incoming mail, and walk to the recycling bin than it does to hit “delete.” Real mail means more time, which means more opportunity to pique a reader’s interest.
- The surprise factor. Goodies in the mail are few and far between. I think most people still feel excited when retrieving the mail. Did I get something good today? When something new or unexpected does arrive, it’s received with more appreciation.
- Tangibility touches. Call me a throwback, but in our digital world, tactile has power. When your audience feels the paper, and holds your value-packed outreach in their hands, they are more likely to reward your effort with their attention.
Yes, print has its cons. Printed newsletters cost more, and they take more time to produce. Click-throughs aren’t possible, and instant coupons don’t work. But maybe the benefits are worth it? Does print have a place alongside email? A combination of wide-reach emails and value-rich tangibility might just hit the right note.
Maybe old-fashioned is the new way to show our customers we really care. What do you think?