For a long time, marketing has relied on the postal service. Some of the first methods of advertising were in the form of postcards in the mail or catalogs delivered to people's mailboxes. However, the internet has made it much less practical for companies to solicit business from items and marketing materials that have been physically delivered to homes and businesses.
The importance of email, text messaging and social media is finally taking its toll on the Postal Service, which is expected to severely cut back on its services by the end of next year. According to USA Today, a $2.1 billion budget shortfall needs to be met, and one of the only ways to do that is by placing restrictions on what services post offices are able to provide.
The Postmaster General has already openly spoken about eliminating mail on Saturday, a move that is expected to happen soon. A new development is that by next year, overnight shipping will not be an option for most first class letters and packages. This complete reduction in services can affect small businesses that still rely on the Postal Service for the delivery of products as well as marketing materials.
Organizations that consider regular mail integral components of their business should start to determine the best ways to meet the new challenges they'll soon face. While it may seem difficult for companies to rally from cutbacks and rising costs related to their promotional tool dispersal, there are a number of opportunities available to reduce the burden that new postal regulations will place on them.
Embrace the internet
Most companies that use traditional mail might consider it an integral part of their marketing efforts, but few businesses actually interact with customers in a wholly offline manner. Even the most mail-centric organizations are going to have some online presence. Shifting one's efforts and resources toward the internet should begin soon and quickly. Before rates go up, send out postcards to regular customers or a target audience that asks for email addresses and other electronic contact information. Even suggesting that clients and consumers get in touch via Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms can help to mitigate some of the losses that mail reductions will incur.
If the cost of sending a postcard, letter or pamphlet is going to rise, companies might as well make more of a sound investment in physical promotional materials. For example – companies that once sent out limited reminders about sales can expand their offerings. Postcards can be upgraded to flyers that contain more information, or flyers can be upgraded to booklets or catalogs. The marginal cost of producing larger and more detailed marketing materials will likely be nothing compared to increased postage rates, so if the resources are available, such a switch can be successful.
Entice consumers to visit
The basis of postal marketing and advertising is that companies want to reach consumers in their homes. By appealing directly to them in their living rooms, kitchens and at the dinner table, organizations are able to capture attention and offer serious savings. With the fading of the postal service as a major organization, it becomes more important than ever to stop going to customers and instead get them to come to a business. Entice them with promotional products, major events and significant savings to make sure they're interested in visiting a company's physical location.