Ya gotta love spam mail! Ok, you don’t at all. Actually you can hate it. Especially the old fashioned kind that comes via snail mail.

Direct-Mail-Cartoon

As we’ve all gotten wiser we’ve also gotten more proficient and sniffing out just what constitutes junk mail. Besides, we pretty much know what bills to expect so you can make a good guess whether something is junk mail or not. I know I’ve tossed out tons of stuff that I never even opened because I was positive it was junk mail.

Well, direct mail marketing is still pretty big. Why? Because it’s still effective! Especially the political stuff – that’s a HUGE industry. (Dont’ get me started about the amount of money the political lobbies get and how much they affect elections… and I’m talking about both sides.)

So companies that get your mailing address are going to still send you crap, despite the fact that the odds are you’re going to throw it away. I don’t know the odds, but there’s a slim chance that you’re going to open that letter and an even slimmer chance that you’re going to take them up on whatever promotion they’re running.

But if a company like Comcast can “get you“, it’s worth it to them. That’s because, over time, they’ll make a ton a money from you. So it’s worth it for them to throw a lot of money at direct marketing, despite the fact that conversion rates as super low.

This whole post was sparked by an ingenious and different letter I got from HughesNet. I could feel in the envelope that there was a card of some sort in it; a credit card.

Instantly I knew that I didn’t sign up for any credit cards, especially not from HughesNet. I opened it anyway because I was intrigued. Here’s what I saw…

letter_hughes_net

Yep, they included a fake plastic card designed to make you think this might be a credit card you signed up for, just to get you to see their offer.

Sneaky? Devious? Tricksy? Smart? I don’t know, call it whatever you want, but it made me open the envelope. And sure, part of the reason was my interest in different forms of marketing. I still knew it was spam mail and wouldn’t have opened it unless I wanted to see how they’re going to pitch to me.

I wasn’t hurt by this except for the little bit of time wasted in opening it. Of course I quickly took it and turned the idea into a blog post 😉 So really the only waste was the little bit of paper. (Of course, those millions of thrown away pieces of junk mail are an environmental concern…but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post… or book.)

So anyway, it’s just a little wrinkle that probably upped HughesNet’s envelope open rate by several percent, if not more.

Love spam mail, hate spam mail, but we can all learn about marketing from spam mail!

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