Last year, the use of digital channels such as video calls and web messaging became, for obvious reasons, more important than ever. However, despite the need for digitisation, traditional physical mail is still a critical aspect of business communications. It is fair to say that some things will forever be better sent and received in the mail.

Most customers use a range of channels to stay in touch. They’ll most likely stay up to date on news and developments from brands they’re loyal to through social media and company websites. However, when it comes to business interactions, they may favour a range of communication types including text for appointment reminders, email for invoices and print for brochures.

Why print is still special

The pandemic undoubtedly impacted the sending and receiving of physical mail last year. With people across the country working from home more than ever before, mindsets towards sending printed mail have changed – there is comfort in knowing there’s less chance of missed deliveries and risk of ‘porch pirates’. Similarly, with what seems like an endless cycle of online communication and virtual working, receiving a physical package or letter may feel more personal this year – especially for those suffering with loneliness or people who are of an older generation, less equipped with technology.

It is also worth noting that, although the world continues to embrace digital transformation, physical mail may be the only way to communicate with some people. For those who opt for a less digital lifestyle, receiving physical mail may be the main source of correspondence for important information or documentation. What’s more, with the majority of people not living this way and choosing electronic communication, there has been a decline in mail volumes meaning physical mail services generate more interest.

The cost of print is always going to be higher than with any digital communications. There are material costs, higher production design costs, printing, and postage to consider. The question which many businesses must ask themselves is ‘does this add value to the customer experience? Will they appreciate that you have gone to the extra effort and investment?’ Of course, it would be unsustainable and inefficient to conduct all communications in print, but to say something impactful or make your customers feel that they have been sent something special, sometimes only print will work.

Print can save time and money

Digital communications, automatic notifications and messages may be introduced to help generate and issue information more swiftly. For print, it’s also beneficial to reduce the amount of physical labour involved and to minimise costs.

To streamline operations and minimise errors and improve return on the investment made in print, automation makes good senseFranking machines can help companies take advantage of discounted postage rates and reduce time spent preparing outgoing mail and present a professional image. They can also help to track and analyse the amount spent on print and postage. Folder inserters automate envelope filling to save even more time. Or the latest hybrid mail solutions make it easy to use a portal to outsource mail production and distribution to a specialist mailing centre.

People may be unsure of the impact of print more than they would be for other types of communications, but this is what makes mailings stand out and get customer attention. After all, there have never been as many ways to stay in touch as there are now and people are inundated with messages all day long, so perhaps, something a little different to go along with a very different year is required.

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