What is snail mail? If you’re not familiar with the term or looking for the snail mail meaning, you almost certainly know it by its original name — the mail.Sending mail through the post office was once the only way to send and receive messages, but it’s been largely replaced by email, text messages, and chat.
The definition of snail mail is simple. Collins English Dictionary defines it this way:
"Some computer users refer to conventional mail using the postal system as snail mail, because it is very slow in comparison with e-mail."
It's the conventional postal system we're all familiar with — you drop something in a mailbox and USPS mail carriers pick it up and deliver it, along with letters from millions of other people to addresses all over the world. It's communication, physically delivered to its recipient. The "snail" in snail mail is given relative to newer services.
The word “snail mail” got its name precisely because of these new messaging options. They’re all instantaneous. Send an e-mail or text message, and they arrive on your recipient’s device moments later. By comparison, the two or three days it can take for a letter to arrive feels like an eternity. The physical delivery of standard post is slow, not unlike a snail, and so “snail mail” was born. Over time, it became a part of our American heritage and that of the world.
Snail mail still has its uses, like paying bills or sending birthday cards, but for the lion’s share of personal correspondence and quite a bit of business communication, digital technologies are the preferred methods. The heyday of the handwritten letter and old-fashioned snail mail is long gone.
And it’s a shame because there’s nothing better than getting a handwritten card from a friend in the mail. An email can get you caught up, but a handwritten letter feels like the sender is speaking directly to you. And businesses can use the personal nature of handwritten cards to boost their direct mail results. But what is snail mail to most people today? It’s a hassle.
In the time it takes to handwrite, stamp, and mail one business thank you card, you could send five emails. In the span of one handwritten letter, you could knock out a day’s worth of correspondence digitally. And while handwritten direct mail sounds great, is it realistic that a business could write and send thousands of handwritten mailers? With Simply Noted the answer is a resounding "Yes!" but more on that later.
WHAT IS SNAIL MAIL? IT’S THE FUTURE.
A few years ago, sending out thousands of handwritten mailers would have been an absurd proposition. The time and labor required would have far outstripped potential benefits. But today, Simply Noted brings the ease of digital communications to the snail mail world.
How? Robotic automation. We’ve built a fleet of handwriting machines that use real ballpoint pens to recreate the look and feel of a handwritten note without the need for...well, a hand. That means you can create and send tens of thousands of handwritten mailers in the time it would take for a person to create one.
Our machines will also hand address and stamp your correspondence. We then drop it in the mail. All you need to do is send us the text you want included and a list of addresses. We take care of the rest. So, don’t think you have time to send out communications using snail mail? Now there’s no excuse. If you can type and send a single email, you can reach your entire mailing list with a compelling handwritten note using Simply Noted.
SEE ALSO: How to Track ROI of Your Direct Mail Campaign
How to Put Simply Noted to Work For You
Why is snail mail making a comeback? To answer that, look at the re-emergence of instant film cameras, similar to the old Polaroids. Digital cameras revolutionized the film industry. Almost overnight, film cameras disappeared. With digital, you could instantly view and manipulate every photo you took. But the images are ephemeral. They only exist inside your device. The physicality of developed prints was lost.
And so instant-print cameras reappeared. Take a picture and get a physical item that can be passed around, pinned up, or framed. What is snail mail today, if not an answer to the digital world’s lack of permanence?
Consider that you can send millions of emails simultaneously, and most will disappear down their recipients’ inboxes within a few days, never to be seen again. When you send a handwritten card through snail mail, it becomes a keepsake. Or, if it’s a business mailer, it becomes a physical reminder to take action. Sentimentalists and smart marketers are learning to take advantage of snail mail’s analog qualities to boost their message. Here are two ways you can use Simply Noted to put snail mail to work for you. In our next article, we’ll expand on these and provide more examples.
SEE ALSO: How to Write Thank You Letters to Your Customers
It’s easy to wish someone a happy birthday on Facebook. It even reminds you when the day arrives. But is it personal? Does a short digital message that looks the same as everyone else’s message really capture the emotion behind your wishes?
Instead, you could send Simply Noted a list of addresses and a message for each birthday card recipient, and we’ll queue them up in our schedule. A few days before each birthday, our handwriting machines will fill out your card and put it in the mail. It’s warm, handwritten birthday cards on autopilot!
SEE ALSO: How to Send Birthday Cards in Bulk
Direct mail is where Simply Noted really shines for business, but there are plenty of other good uses for our service. Showing gratitude to all of the people who positively impact your business can pay dividends in many ways.
For example, employees work harder and are more dedicated when they know their efforts are noticed and appreciated. Vendors are more helpful and forgiving (when necessary) when they feel like a partner rather than a service provider. In general, constant gratitude creates a positive working environment and clears the way for future opportunities.
SEE ALSO: Gratitude is a Business Strategy
Businesses can leverage Simply Noted to send out quick, heartfelt handwritten thank you notes whenever they’re required. In the time it takes to type and email, you could have a lovely card winging its way to your deserving partner, vendor, or employee.
Simply Noted makes snail mail easy by removing the barriers that keep people from utilizing it to its potential. We write the cards, address the envelopes, and put them in the mail. We’ll send them on demand, on schedule, and in any volume you require.
When it comes to marketing, there’s a lot of talk about “going digital.” But what does that really mean? It could mean anything from sending an email to a customer to blasting them with ads on social media. And while those digital tactics are definitely effective, they can also be easily ignored or blocked. What can’t be ignored or blocked?
A handwritten letter in the mail. It’s personal, it takes effort, and it arrives unexpectedly. That’s why Simply Noted is a great way to send marketing messages that will stand out and be remembered.
We can help you create a targeted mailing list and queue up handwritten letters that will be sent at the perfect time. Want to congratulate a customer on a job well done? Send them a handwritten note expressing your delight. Did a customer just buy something from you? Thank them with a personal message that shows how much you appreciate their business.
Simply Noted is the perfect way to add a personal touch to your marketing messages. Snail mail still has a place in the digital world, and we’re here to make sure it’s easy for you to take advantage of that!
Comparing Snail Mail to Electronic Communications
Electronic mail, text messages, and other digital communication methods have a number of things going for them, but they have their problems as well, and sometimes they aren't the best choice for a given purpose.
Let's compare the conventional postal system to internet and network-powered communication mediums to see which you should use in any situation.
Email is Faster Than "S-Mail"
By definition, digital communications can be sent and received almost instantly. Snail mail requires that a message physically travels from one location to another, which takes time. The postal service tries to make the process as fast as possible, but there are still delays due to weather, traffic, and human error. This relative slowness means that people are choosy about when they send something to a mailbox instead of an inbox.
Email is More Private Than Snail Mail
Any digital communication can be encrypted for privacy, an option not open to snail mail. There are measures that can be taken to ensure privacy when mailing a physical item, but they are not always used. In general, it is easier to keep digital communications private than snail mail communications.
That said, most people don't encrypt emails. You can find plenty of examples online. They often don't even realize the option's available. And text messages are never encrypted. So while electronic mail can be encrypted, it rarely is. And the postal service has a long track record of strong security. Tampering with posted letters has always been a felony, so it rarely occurs.
So while email can be more private, in practice only snail mail routinely offers users that protection.
Email is More Convenient Than Snail Mail
It's easy enough to carry around a phone or computer with you wherever you go. You don't need to sit in front of a computer to send or receive a e-mails. But you do need a postbox to get a piece of snail mail.
This means that, for someone who travels a lot, e-mail is more convenient than snail mail. However, with Simply Noted, the conventional postal service is just as easy to use as its electronic counterpart. You can send a handwritten card from anywhere in the world without needing to find a postbox. The postal system won't speed up for you, but at least you don't have to handwrite your own letters. This alleged slowness isn't a bad as it might seem.
We've built a fleet of groundbreaking handwriting robots that use real ballpoint pens and proprietary smart fonts to create realistic handwritten cards and letters that replicate all the fine details that distinguish real handwriting from standard handwriting fonts.
You can pick a card design from our website, upload your text and your recipient's addresses on our order page, and your handwritten letters will be on their way. From dozens to thousands, we make handwritten snail mail easy. Electronic mail doesn't win this category.
Email can be Sent to a Group
It's easy to send the same email to a group of people. Just put their addresses in the "To" field and hit "Send." Using the web, you can reach any group quickly. You can't do that with snail mail. Well, you could, but it would be very expensive and labor-intensive.
Or rather, it would be labor-intensive if you had to do all of the work yourself, but as we've pointed out, you don't. With Simply Noted, you can send the same handwritten letter to any size group of people. You can even include personalization so that each letter is the same and yet also unique. Again, Simply Noted levels the playing field.
Email is Good for Short Messages
If you need to send a quick message, a sentence or two, text or email is the way to go. Snail mail is better for longer messages that can benefit from the personal touch of being physical and handwritten.
Simply Noted is the perfect way to combine the best of both worlds. You can send quick, easy messages via email, and for longer or more personal communications, you can send handwritten snail mail with Simply Noted. We make it easy to get your message across, however you want to send it.
Snail Mail is Better for Sending Documents
Documents sent by snail mail are more likely to arrive at their destination in one piece. They're also less likely to be hacked while in transit. So if you need to send a document securely, snail mail is the better option.
Certainly, if the document is in paper form it can't be sent electronically. But even if it's in electronic form, it might be a good idea to send it by snail mail. For example, if you're sending a resume, you might want to use snail mail so that the employer has a physical object they can look over while considering candidates.
Snail Mail is Better for Sending Gifts
It's harder to send a gift by email than it is to send it by snail mail. You can't put a gift in an envelope and mail it, and you can't include a card with your message. You also can't guarantee that the gift will arrive on time. With snail mail, you can put the gift in an appropriate package, include a card, and be reasonably sure that it will arrive on time and in good condition.
Snail mail provides a tangible, physical reminder that stands out amidst the glut of digital communications. It has a longer lifespan than an email and can be saved and referenced long after an email is forgotten. Snail mail also feels more personal, especially when handwritten notes are used. Electronic communications can come across as cold or automated.
Snail Mail Is Still Important
Snail mail is the past, but it’s also the future.
It’s an antidote to the rapid, impersonal pace of modern life. It gives recipients a reason to pause, open an envelope, and discover the handwritten warmth contained within. It's a reminder that the world is still a place where people take the time to communicate with one another face-to-face.
Bottom line: Standard post still has a place in our digital age! Try Simply Noted to put it to work for you.