Can I use Certified Mail for marketing purposes? The simple answer is yes, you sure can. You can use USPS Certified Mail to send all sorts of documents to anyone in the United States. However, a better question to ask might be, “Why would you want to send your Marketing Mail via Certified Mail?”
The obvious reasons to send your marketing campaign this way might be because Certified Mail gets attention when it arrives, you can track it and see when it is delivered with Certified Mail Receipts.
It could also be due to your desire to ensure that your prospective clients are receiving the promotional deal that you’re distributing. Initially, this seems like a great idea. You would know exactly when your prospects got your promotional material and when you might be expecting a call from them about placing an order for your product.
However, let’s flip that coin over and propose some ideas about why Certified Mail might actually not be a good tool to have in your marketing toolbox.
Does Certified Mail Bring Goodwill?
What is marketing? It’s basically about generating goodwill and revenue. You’d love for your customers to remember your name and have a good feeling about your product or services whenever they hear it. Additionally, you’d like for your customers to be motivated to purchase your product. This generally comes from trust in your brand, the right timing and the right offer or promotion.
Let’s ponder the concept of “goodwill” first. How will Certified Mail create goodwill; a pleasant feeling or association when your company’s name is mentioned? Does Certified Mail have goodwill associated with it? You may be surprised but have you considered that it might actually has the opposite effect on people?
Certified Mail means business and it is designed for legal proof, assigning responsibility and proving delivery through USPS tracking. Not that Certified Mail is bad, but have you ever heard someone say, “I’m so excited about a Certified letter I’ve received?” Have you personally ever said that when you received a piece of Certified Mail? Didn’t think so.
Keep in mind, it’s possible that everyone’s first thought, when receiving a Certified letter, is “uh oh, what have I done?” “Did I forget to pay my bill?” “Is someone suing me?” “How much is this going to cost me?” If this is your experience, you can see that Certified Mail generally never makes anyone feel good.
Does Certified Mail Bring Joy?
What happens when your potential client opens the Certified letter and finds your happy promotional material inside? Will they be relieved that it’s not bad news? Yes, but what will be their next reaction be? Will they say, “I’m so happy this isn’t bad news! I’m so happy that I’m even going to buy the product that is being promoted.” Well, to be honest that seems a bit overly optimistic. In reality, they are going to feel duped. They will be a bit angry that you caused them panic.
It’s a bit like tying your advertisement to a rock and tossing it through someone’s window. It will make a scene, cost you a lot of money and make the recipient mad, but they will get the message. Now, ask yourself why you would want to do this? How powerful does your offer need to be in order to overcome the fear and trepidation that a Certified letter causes?
Let’s face it, sometimes people hide from bad news (I’m sure you’ve seen this concept in action). Yes, you’re going to be happy that you know when your promotional piece was delivered, but there’s not a great chance that all of the pieces will be opened when they arrive.
Some recipients may set it aside until they have a chance to meet with their accountant. Some may wait until they are having a really good day in fear that the contents may drain them of joy. Some may just put it at the bottom of their mail pile in hopes it will go away. Now, we wouldn’t really recommend these options as the best course of action, but we have seen and heard of this taking place involving Certified letters.
Marketing materials sent via First-Class Mail or Marketing Mail through the postal service, on its best day, is neutral. But using the Certified Mail service is often considered threatening, and definitely does not make people happy.
Does Certified Mail Generate Sales?
As we look at the sales or revenue, the question might be, “which mail product will generate a greater return on investment (ROI)?” Meaning, will $1,000 of First-Class Mail generate more revenue than $1,000 of Certified Mail?
Let’s Break it Down:
Using very rough numbers, let’s say a First-Class piece of mail costs $1 each including the postage rate, and a piece of Certified Mail costs $10. Yes, $10 is more than the cost of Certified Mail fess, but by the time you spend your time creating Certified letters and going to the post office, you’ll be hard pressed to do this for less than $10 a letter. But those arguments are for another time, so feel free to pick any number you want for this exercise. We’ll go with $10 for simplicity.
If you send your offer via First-Class Mail, you’ll be able to send out 10 times (10x) the number of letters. In one case you’ll send 1,000 pieces of mail and in the other you’ll send out only 100. And if Certified Mail is not opened, you may lose another 20 recipients. If those who do open it are annoyed that you tried to trick them, you may lose another 50 recipients.
In our little hypothetical situation, you can deliver your message to 1,000 recipients (First-Class Mail) or 30 (Certified Mail), for the same money. In this case, the clear answer and most cost-effective way is to send your marketing piece or mail campaigns is via First-Class Mail or Marketing Mail.
Can Customers Refuse Certified Mail?
Of course, another problematic part of sending Certified Mail is that people can actually refuse the letter. They can just pretend like they aren’t home when the mail carrier arrives. If a notice is placed in the recipient’s mailbox or left on their door for them to drive to the post office and pick up their letter, they can choose not to do so. Sometimes people have seen Certified Mail and now just make it a habit of saying “that person doesn’t live here anymore,” in which case the letter gets returned to the sender.
What is Better Than Certified Mail for Marketing Purposes?
That’s a pretty easy questions; just about anything.
You can save a bundle and preserve goodwill by sending your promotional products or direct mail piece by First-Class Mail. You can also save a few more pennies by sending via USPS Marketing Mail, but it has some complications you’d need to deal with (a topic for another day).
Another powerful option is to send your message on a postcard. The recipient doesn’t even need to open it. Instead, they’ll see your offer immediately when they are sorting their mail. Yes, you may not feel like those are glamorous options, but there is a reason that over 100 billion First-Class and Marketing Mail documents are sent each year.
What is a More Glamorous Option Than Certified Mail?
If money is no option, the speed of delivery is what you desire and if you want the recipient to be wowed by your mail piece, then we recommend using FedEx. It’s fast, it’s powerful and there’s a much better chance of excitement when the truck pulls up than there is for Certified Mail.
Consider this: Good things like checks, refunds, rebates and offer letters come in through FedEx. Bad things like past due notices, legal notices, food recalls, fines and fees come in Certified Mail.
At first glance, Certified Mail seems like a great way to send marketing material, but maybe a second glance is what is needed before making your decision. Send your legal correspondence via Certified Mail. Send your promotional materials via First-Class Mail. When you need to make a massive statement along with your marketing message, send it via FedEx.
(Here’s our shameless plug… if you do intend to send a lot of FedEx letters, we have a great way to get them out quickly while probably saving you a considerable amount of money.)