• Cooper Shattuck

Is Snail Mail Dead?


Times change. When I was a young lawyer, I can remember that our mail came in large white plastic bins. Sometimes there would be more than one. The same was true of the mail that the runner left the building with every afternoon, and I was working at a firm with less than 10 lawyers! Busy lawyers had more than one assistant to handle the volume of paper. Now, all that has changed. But is snail mail dead from a marketing standpoint?


Outside of legal correspondence, pleadings, and other court filings, this time of year was the season of catalogs.

Marketers realized that putting their goods in front of people in their work environment resulted in sales. Maybe they weren’t purchased as gifts for others but chosen because they caught the eye of someone seeking something for themselves. Do you receive as many catalogs as you used to? Probably not. Ever wondered why?


There are more cost-effective means of selling goods than through paper catalogs.

Whether sellers drove us to the internet or whether we drove sellers there, that is where commerce happens. First, it happened with goods, and now it's happening with services. When we want something, we want it now. Amazon has built a colossal enterprise on that reality. For services, we have the internet.


But does that mean that the U.S. Postal Service has no place in our marketing efforts?

I think this reality provides an opportunity for good ol' paper mail. While digital mass marketing and a solid internet presence are key, there is a place for paper.


Because we get less mail, and that which we do receive is rarely personal, isn’t it special to receive something personal by mail?

A card, which actually contains handwriting? What about a handwritten note? Your handwriting is horrible? Type or print it. Then sign it and add a little personal note. You can generate at least one legible word, right? A note of congratulations, a thank you note, a welcome to the club (group, committee, task force, board, etc.) note, a sympathy card or note, a short letter remembering times shared, a birthday card (or just a birthday note), and holiday cards (which you actually sign) are just a few examples of how you can connect with clients, potential clients, and referral sources with paper mail. These are another opportunity to help put yourself in the right place at the right time.


How do you use paper mail effectively?

Like any other marketing, it requires intentionality, regularity, discipline, and planning. Order or buy some personal cards, notes, and stationary, or get some that every lawyer in the firm can use. Have them readily available at your desk when you see an opportunity. Or set aside a set time every week to write one (or two or three) notes, cards, or letters. Write them. Mail them. It's that easy.


Does paper mail have a role in mass marketing?

Given the cost, I’m not so sure. But perhaps in the right situation, it may still fit the bill. Can’t decide what to do? Use yourself as a guide. What would you read? What would you like to receive? If you’re honest, chances are you like to receive personal notes that show someone was thinking about you. Sure, it’s a little nostalgic, but aren’t we all?