Envelopes, Paper and the Digital Divide

Meet the writer: Karen Pieper

Hi, I'm Karen! I've been in the industry for 21 years and can't wait to share my perspective on all things direct mail. I'm currently the Digital Marketing Manager at Letter Jacket Envelopes and deal with tasks from managing the website, facilitating conversations with customers, and much more!

A worrying trend comes along with the assumption that “digital divide” is the only logical choice. The fact is that not everyone has the capability or, for that matter, the interest to invest in digital technology.

In other words, not everyone owns a computer or knows how to use one. Making assumptions as to your market drifting in a digital direction automatically leaves people by the wayside. Seniors in particular, one of the markets with the biggest personal values, have become so accustomed to receiving items in their mailbox that “going digital” is akin to your brand disappearing in their eyes.

Some People Get Left on the Wrong Side of the Digital Divide

Several major changes have created an outcry in advocacy communities. First, the discontinuation of mailed social security checks has left tens of thousands of Americans without a reliable means to access what is one of their few sources of income. Seniors who do not have regular internet access must find a way to travel in order to simply collect their “check” online.

For those with severe mobility issues, low resources or low income, this problem can be especially debilitating. On top of that, the social security statement of earnings and allowances suddenly stopped being sent through the mail. Many older adults depended on these statements as a means of record-keeping and financial planning.

Furthermore, these documents helped double check the calculations done by the US government. Since small mistakes can lead to big differences over time, millions of people are now in danger of having major inaccuracies in their earned social security payments.

Yet another hardship encountered from the move to digital is that tax forms are no longer mailed off to households every year. Many people still rely upon mailing tax returns to complete their annual paperwork. While government offices insist that the forms are readily available in public places like post offices, the reality is that the forms are often out of stock. Some of the people with the worst disadvantages are being discriminated against as the result of these decisions.

Why Paperless Could Be Hurting Your Business

If going paperless affects the ability of millions of Americans to perform basic financial obligations, imagine how it could be affecting your business. Seniors are often one of the markets with the biggest cash reserves. Shutting out people who do not use computers or even own one is like walling off a significant proportion of your potential earnings. To make sure that your offers and brand information reach all of your market, diversify your strategies rather than going “paperless” with blind enthusiasm.

The US mail has been a tried and true method of reaching people and doing business for hundreds of years. While internet service can be affected by blackouts, data traffic surges, hacking and any number of other disruptions, the mail trucks keep coming by six days out of the week.

Ensure that you can reach a market that has gotten used to doing business a certain way for nearly all of their lives. Keep investing in a direct mail marketing or lead generation strategy and you could see very real benefits coming your way.

Letter Jacket also helps you get noticed in the mail with unique and high-quality custom printing. Take a look at our large product range to find the envelope that speaks the most to your customers.

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