Why did Google send me a letter?

Why did Google send me a letter?

Ages ago I set up a Google account so my firm could use Google Adwords. As part of the process I gave them my work email address. So why did Google go to the effort and expense of sending me a piece of direct mail in the post?

I opened the personally addressed letter when it arrived (one of only a handful of letters I had received in the office all year) and that’s when I found the reason why they had sent me a letter. I’d opened it.

So much email remains unopened. Our junk folders are full of it and keeping our inbox from bursting is almost a full time job. But when was the last time you received a personally addressed letter at work that wasn’t an invoice?

With less competition on the doormat (or office desk) direct mail stands out. It also gives you more room to explain complex propositions; your not limited to a 300 word blog or a 140 character tweet.

It’s also dimensional and tangible. The Google letter included a discount voucher with a unique code. They could have sent that to me by email. But holding the voucher in my hand somehow gave it greater value. The same would apply to sending free samples in the post.

I believe direct mail makes people feel valued. Executives are well aware of the expense and effort it takes to send a letter in the post. They appreciate being selected (as long as it’s relevant… but that’s true of all direct marketing).

In fact there is evidence to back this up. I conducted some research with over 600 senior managers and asked them the following question…

“It’s your birthday. Five friends congratulate you in different ways. Which one makes you feel most valued?”

  • Simon visits you at home (Field sales)
  • Heather gives you a telephone call (Telemarketing)
  • Peter sends you a birthday card (Direct mail)
  • Sally sends you a text message (Mobile marketing)
  • Raj sends you an email (Email marketing)

Direct mail performed better (14%) than the electronic channels of email (2%) and mobile (1%). The best performing were those with Human Interaction; field sales got 54% and telemarketing achieved 28%.

Email is not the only way to communicate with customers, even an online giant like Google uses other channels. After all, marketing is more effective when it’s omni-channel.

The framework for a letter in the post is sometimes different from digital, so I’ve written a blog titled ‘How to write successful sales letters’ with top 10 tips for direct mail.



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