Innovations in digital technology have revolutionised many aspects of how we work and conduct business, but some more traditional concepts have survived, such as physical post.


In an era dominated by digital communication, the relevance and impact of physical mail might seem to be waning. However, contrary to popular belief, physical mail continues to hold a significant place in both personal and professional spheres. From the tactile experience of receiving a letter to the strategic advantages it offers businesses, physical mail remains an enduring and effective means of communication.

Since the advent of email, much of our business communication with potential customers is conducted through the medium. But with spam messages now accounting for 53.5% of all email traffic worldwide, it’s becoming harder than ever to cut through the noise and deliver your message to the intended recipient. Here’s why physical mail is still as relevant as ever and should be used when it comes to finding business.


A breath of fresh air

With one communication channel fit to burst, how do you ensure that the most important messages reach their recipient? The answer is paper.

Simply put, paper drives action. When a letter is sent to confirm an appointment, it has authority. The recipient will stop and take a moment to absorb the information. Perhaps it will be placed somewhere on view so as not to be forgotten. This is a powerful tool.

Now apply this principle to business invoicing. The invoice is sent as a physical item and when it arrives the recipient is driven to act on the information because it comes with formality, authority, weight. It is a tangible request, not “just another email”. This demonstrates how retaining or adding physical mail to your communication channels drives engagement and can be used as a powerful tool for improving cashflow.

Many companies send important correspondence by email, and with links to booking systems or payment portals can make it easy for customers to respond or engage directly. In a world where digital messages are ephemeral and easily overlooked, the physicality of a letter or package demands attention. It provides a sensory experience that digital communication cannot replicate, from the texture of the paper to the act of opening an envelope. This tangible connection fosters a sense of personal engagement and importance, making physical mail an impactful way to communicate.


Be direct

As well as important customer correspondence, physical mail provides an increasingly unique way to approach a market with company messaging: direct mailing. Direct mail is sending a physical letter or promotional message to a group of people or businesses with a customised or targeted message.

In this world of clogged inboxes and untargeted “catch-all” emails, physical mail provides a number of key advantages over its electronic cousin:

Getting personal – Digital marketing often misses a sense of personalisation. An email may be addressed by name, but there’s always a feeling of artificiality or templating. Physical mail is delivered direct to the desk of the recipient, is often much more visually pleasing and comes across as having more effort put in to its production.

Trust and Credibility – Physical mail inherently carries a sense of trust and credibility that digital communications often struggle to match. Official documents, contracts, and sensitive information are frequently sent through physical mail because it is perceived as more secure and formal. Moreover, in an age where email inboxes are bombarded with spam and phishing attempts, physical mail stands out as a more trustworthy medium of communication.

Tangible impact – Direct mail can take many forms. Different shapes, sizes and media can be used to create more impact. Vouchers, invitations, badges, QR codes are all visually interesting and drive response rates.

Less competition – As the digital space becomes ever more crowded, physical mail provides a gleaming alternative that demands attention and drives more engagement.

Millennial opportunity – The perception of millennials is that they were raised with smartphones or tablets in their hands and would never be interested in anything as old world as postal mail. The reality appears to be very different. Gallup reported that 36% of people under the age of 30 look forward to checking their mailboxes every day. What’s more, 95% of 18- to 29-year-olds have a positive response to receiving personal cards and letters.

Marketing Impact – For businesses, physical mail offers unique marketing advantages that digital channels cannot provide. Direct mail campaigns have a higher engagement rate, with recipients more likely to remember and act upon the contents of physical advertisements compared to digital ads. The ability to customise and personalise physical mail further enhances its effectiveness, allowing businesses to create targeted campaigns that resonate with their audience. Additionally, the saturation of digital marketing channels has led to a renewed appreciation for the novelty and personal touch of physical mail.


The Power of Print

One of the key benefits as it relates to the power of print is the personalisation that one can achieve with this method of advertising. This is an essential reason for the success print has been able to achieve; when customers feel they are being personally spoken to by a particular brand, it has massively positive repercussions for retention and engagement.

It’s important to note that multiple studies have been conducted here to demonstrate which form of advertising is king above all. The results? Print is substantially more trustworthy, reliable, effective and hassle-free as compared to digital marketing. In a vast survey conducted by Marketing Sherpa on which type of advertising channel is most trusted by the public, print came out on top with a whopping 82%!

When you consider the personalised nature that can be taken with any form of print, it should come as no surprise that printed physical advertising also leads to a stronger emotional response amongst the general public. Having something which can be held, touched, and physically handled has been shown to make a substantial difference in the effectiveness of advertising; the results speak for themselves – personalisation impressively boosts response rates by 50%!

Personalised print can be as simple as targeting people from a specific area or demographic, something that is much easier to achieve with print as compared to digital. Since people who are elderly or suffer with visual disabilities struggle to access digital forms of marketing, personalised print provides an effective and easy-to-use way of reaching these demographics.

Personalisation can be also seen as targeting specific customer bases; for example, if you were a car dealership, you might want to target a consumer of a particular car brand of yours. If you were a university, you might want to target students from a particular area or school. By increasing the specific nature of targeting as it relates to your customer base you can drastically propel interest in your business to unrivalled levels.

Selecting offers and deals specific to each customer can also be seen as an effective form of personalisation. When people see a certain discount or deal that speaks to them personally, this is something that instantly grabs their attention. They are going to be far more likely to carry on reading whatever you have written on your advertisement if this opening statement catches their attention.

When you think of the additional digital noise that goes along with online advertisement – from pop-ups, virus risks, flashing banners and ads, notifications and auto-play videos – it makes sense that many consumers, when surveyed, rate forms of digital advertising so lowly as compared to print. Adding a personalised element to this already advantageous position only increases your chances of successfully retaining and gaining customers.

Despite the rise of digital communication, physical mail retains its relevance and effectiveness. Its ability to create tangible connections, convey trust, impact marketing efforts, hold emotional significance, and offer a digital detox makes it an indispensable tool in both personal and professional contexts. As society continues to navigate the digital landscape, the enduring appeal of physical mail serves as a reminder of the value of personal touch and the power of tangible communication in an increasingly virtual world.

So whether you’re a business looking to build an entirely new customer base or retain an established one, choose personalised print as a way to revolutionise your marketing approach today!

Alpha Response are direct marketing specialists offering expert Printing, Mailing and Integrated services in and around Gloucestershire.

If you’d like to know a bit more about how we can help you turn your transactional documentation into highly efficient marketing tools, then take a look at our website or give us a call on 03300 563 980 – we’d be happy to help!