When I logged into my personal e-mail account this morning, I had 144 new messages. This in addition to 59 messages in my spam mailbox, which I check before deleting because sometimes the e-mail I want, ends up in the spam folder.
I know why I get so many e-mails; I shop online. With every purchase comes an e-mail for new product promotions, sales and special occasions.
In the mix were three credit card offers, seven airline offers, three press releases and two personal messages. It took me the better part of an hour to sort through everything — and that didn’t include the forwarded e-mails with jokes, photos and poems.
My mail — on the other hand — contained four magazines, one catalog and three First-Class Mail letters. It took me less than five minutes to put the magazines and catalog by my chair in the living room and read the letters. I can read the magazines and page through the catalog at my leisure. I know some people take their laptops to bed; I prefer a magazine or catalog.
In the beginning
Electronic messaging is perfect at work, and was great for personal correspondence in the days before e-mail was used by anyone with your e-mail address. Now, once you’re on a distribution list, you’re on it for life. For example, I haven’t purchased anything for three years from Spiegel. They long since stopped sending me catalogs, but I still receive e-mails and probably always will. Routinely I block e-mails and routinely more show up.
If I have an important message, I make a phone call or send a letter — I want to make sure the message is delivered. My friends and family members don’t always read their e-mail on a regular basis.
And what about phishing, viruses, worms and trojans?
If I don’t recognize an e-mail sender, I delete it. There has been more than one occasion when I deleted a message that I thought was suspicious only to find out it was one I should have read. And, I’ve been caught in a phish-net which ended up costing me a lot of time and worry to make sure my personal information was secure.
In the mail, it’s pretty easy to spot a piece of mail that either doesn’t interest me or is suspicious. All I have to do is recycle it, and in the case of a suspicious offer, call the Postal Inspectors — the Postal Service law enforcement agency sworn to protect consumers from mail fraud.
What does big business think?
A Forbes chief marketing officer survey shows search engine optimization, e-mail and e-mail newsletter marketing are by far the most popular digital marketing methods.
But who’s reading it?
The survey revealed e-mail came in relatively low in the area of meeting or exceeding marketers’ expectations. I read, on average, 5 percent of the advertising mail I receive — and that’s only if I’m in need of a specific product.
Advertising mail requires postage. By its very nature, it’s sent on a more select basis than e-mail in order to reach the target audience.
Advertising mail is tied to demographics including income, education and household size. Surveys shows 81 percent of households either read or scan advertising mail.
In the end, what really matters is that the communication cycle — of send/receive/respond is completed. USPS offers three importance qualities to make this happen — privacy, security and trustworthiness.