By Courtney Tobe

There’s a cartoon that perfectly sums up modern attitudes toward email versus postal mail. Ten years ago, email was novel and exciting; but, with today’s constant influx of digital noise, it’s the tangible items in our mailboxes that really get our attention.

This impression is backed by facts. In their most recent postal behavior study, the U.S. Postal Service learned that more than three quarters of households either read or scan advertising mail that arrives in their homes. What’s more, 98 percent of people check their mail every day. This gives you and your company a phenomenal opportunity to reach people who might not notice you in today’s deluge of digital information. How can you maximize the effectiveness of this medium? Try a few of the tips below.

1. Signal That Your Offering Is Special

Around your birthday, anniversary and the holidays, you start receiving cards from far away friends and relatives. These can be recognized by their indicative size and through cues like hand-written labels.

Our brains are trained to recognize these signals, and you can get attention by duplicating these items that signal personal mail. Choose script fonts for labeling that resemble personal handwriting. When possible, use regular, physical stamps.

2. Make It Personal

When a piece of mail is personalized, it has a better chance of being opened and read. First, make sure you have highly qualified lists. A cooking tool of the month offer is only going to be attractive to people who like to spend time in the kitchen. A company that sells hand tools will do better approaching people already interested in woodworking than trying at random.

Next, make sure that your addresses are verified; it does you no good if your message isn’t reaching its destination. Third, use personalized greetings on the label and inside your offer. These can help you make an impression.

3. Consider a Multi-Pronged Approach

Often, it takes several touches to develop the trust needed to convert a prospect to a sale. If you are engaged in online marketing, follow up with a physical piece in the mail to remind your potential customer of your current offer. You can also go in the other direction and include an invitation to download a free e-book or to sign up for a free webinar series in your postal mail communications.

4. Make Your Offering Unusual

Even if people aren’t expecting a piece of mail, if there is something out of the ordinary and perhaps more valuable, individuals are more likely to open it. Companies have successfully crossed this curiosity gap for years by including tokens like address labels, booklets, pocket calendars and other small items. A company that sells personalized promotional items may include a pen to show product quality. A bookseller might include a bookmark. These packages weigh a bit more and have a lumpy feel that communicates a small prize inside.

If you wish to stick with flat packages, you still have many options to capture attention. Postcards are a cost-effective and eye-catching way to reach out to new markets. Magazine-style catalogs or brochures can entice prospects to open them and even save them to peruse later.

5. Don’t Forget a Call to Action

No matter which formats you use, always finish with a call to action asking your readers to do something. Whether you want them to visit your store, go to your website or call you on the phone to make an appointment, always ask for their business. Study after study shows that this request can make all the difference between merely catching someone’s attention for a moment and capturing his/her business.