Do you still use old fashioned snail mail to attract new customers and generate leads?

All of our focus for lead generation and prospecting is currently online. However, I have often wondered if a good old fashioned direct mail letter of introduction to an identified prospect actually cuts through all the email clutter and does a better job to warming up a prospect. Has anyone used this method of lead generation recently and successfully to drive new sales for an online product or service?

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Hi Steven, I believe this is a great way to market any new product or service. And the reason is quite simple, even though it's "old fashioned" (or maybe because it is) it's not something everybody is doing anymore. Most businesses use email marketing, social media etc. It's surprising how much junk is actually coming through with no real tangible results to show off. Unless you have a mail list of hundreds of thousands of email addresses, you would need to result in either buying them or simply do what people done a few years back when they started a business, get out there and meet customers.
With all this online hype going on (and yes, I'm old school when it comes to that) I think in order to stand out, you need to do something different. The good news is, you don't need to reinvent the wheel, just do what businesses have done for ages, send a letter...but the most important part: Don't forget to follow up. No matter if you use email or letter marketing campaigns, somebody from your team has to do the hard part and follow up with potential new customers.
You would also need to do some research. Just sending generic letters results in nothing except a waste of paper and filling up your prospects bin. You need to customise each letter to your potential customer. This requires research, what do they do, who are they (I mean by name, who is your contact) and the one thing most people leave out (which requires the most research), what do their customers want from them that your solution/ product/ service is providing your customer...(If this sentence now makes any sense...). Simply put, how will their clients benefit, how will they benefit...why should they sign up/ buy/ meet.

Take the time to get to know your audience, have the right solution for their problems, sum it up nicely in a letter or email campaign, and last but not least, follow up by phone (don't send an email or letter stating, just wondering if you received my email/ letter...) and the results will be triple. If you don't intend to do any phone calls, don't waste paper, time, money and energy towards this. It will not be fruitful. And I disagree with Gee, you can't send out an unsolicited letter to any company if you've done your research. As soon as you address somebody by name (no matter if you know the person or not) it's no longer considered unsolicited or cold. You automatically warm up the prospect. Besides, businesses are in business to do business, not to be avoided. If they want to be avoided then better not be in business all-together. They can always say no, not interested, but we found that 30 - 45% of prospects receiving a personalised letter are more prone to meet with you when you do the follow up.

I believe this sums it up in a nutshell. If you would like to learn more, feel free to connect with me on linkedIn.


You may find two recent questions on this subject useful:

From our experience "old-fashioned" direct mail won't work - but "new-fashioned" direct mail does ;-)

What we've found works really well is to use direct mail as part of a wider, holistic approach that takes into account print, digital, and social. Direct mail has the potential to cut through all that digital messaging clutter, certainly. However much depends on your target audience, where they expect to receive your communication, and how the benefit you're pushing is presented to them.

I'd wager that you'd have a uphill battle if you sent out a single dry, unsolicited letter of introduction. However, crafting a campaign with both multiple touchpoints as well as multiple variations on the same basic value proposition, and you've got half a chance.

Customers don't want to hear *from* you until they've heard *of* you.


Though I am not from sales side, I do network with lot of sales professionals especially inside sales and marketing professionals.

According to them, snail mail is always effective. They feel is it easy in terms of tracking, modify the message. Many at times I feel the customers need some personal touch as well.


I used to be an intern at a company that offered their own make of audiotours on a subscription base. To attract new customers they would occasionally send a small package containing their product with a customised introduction pre-installed on the devise. This gave the DMU the chance to first hand try the product, it was personal because they would direct the receiving party by name inside the audio tour, it shows great effort even though the actual effort going into it was very small. So basically it works great. Their main hurdle was that the most interesting museums are usually tied down with contracts spanning many years but in general the strategy worked.


Hi Steven,

I have been working with companies to create direct mail for the last three years. You can visit our website ( to see more.

I do NOT recommend a cold letter. It is most often thrown out by the secretary and a waste of a stamp. Now if it is a client (read BIG BUSINESS) you are dying to land. The client is a dream client. and you want to send something to get their attention. Make sure you have called and made contact before hand, and then what you do send is a show piece!

I advise caution with the above tactic if you do not know your client well, industry norms and umm.. ensure it isn't bribery, it has to be unique to you and should have been personally designed.

On the other hand, we have "snail mail" is a wonderful tool to enhance the client/consumer relationships. Clients love to feel appreciated, informed and simply acknowledged. By sending a card (once again do not read boring, typed letter) or a hand written note, clients become engaged in the conversation and often are so chuffed they share how lovely it was working with you, to their friends and clients.

Some opportunities you can use to engage in snail mail
- Thank you (referrals, job well done, making an introduction, creating an opportunity)
- Congratulations (new job, new baby, new house, promotion, marriage etc)
- Condolences (loss)
- Encouragement (going after a big project etc.)
- Welcome to the team

Now don't go and overload your clients with a million cards, everything in moderation. Make snail mail, an opportunity to connect in a tangible and wonderful way.


Certainly if your target market is the 50+ market. Many don't have computers and those who do are not familiar with all the workings. Also the more ways you touch a customer the better chance you have of getting a sale. Different people react to things. All opportunities are good.

you must mean 70+. The 50 - 60 demo is the longest users of computers and the biggest PC market. The younger demo is far more likely to connect with a phone or tablet. Computers are old school.


If the payload of the physical mail is sufficiently interesting it can be viral in its own right. Getting mail delivered to and opened by the target prospect it the first hurdle, this is commonly done via "special/overnight" delivery envelopes and "lumpy" mail (boxes are good too.)

If the contents and message are unique enough, these messages will create both curiosity and branding in the mind of the opener/target.


Absolutely. You need to use every available means to generate leads. The open rates are not that high unless you use some "new fangled" methods such as lumpy mail.


Snail mail can work well if done right. People do tend to ignore traditional mail but a 3D lumpy mail series can really get great results. I use

Lumpy mail can be a bank bag, treasure chest, small trash can etc with your message inside.

They even provide sample letters to go along with the lumpy mail.


In marketing, any time you can differentiate yourself, that's a very good thing. When everyone else is is just pounding the audience with digital, if you send an attractive, well-conceived 4-color printed piece with a compelling message -- something they can hold and study, and perhaps put out on their desk or kitchen counter to look at again later or more likely, several more times -- that can have tremendous selling power.

Everyone needs to get over this lemming mentality of chasing after each shiny new marketing toy and declaring that everything that went before is now obsolete. The fact is, most of the media that was used 50 years ago can be used every bit as effectively today if it's used intelligently and well.

Al Shultz

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