15 Marketers who Made a Killing Using Snail Mail

Think hold-it-in-your-hand mail is dead? There are people making a killing through the mail. Here are some of the better-known examples, but there are also thousands of small marketers you will never hear about who are nailing snail mail.

Gary Vaynerchuk, “D-List Mailer”

Before becoming a social media guru, Gary built a $6 million wine business partly through his “D-List Mailer.” This direct mail campaign offered discounted wine with humorous, attention-grabbing content, building relationships with customers directly and bypassing traditional distribution channels.

In 2010, Gary Vaynerchuk started sending handwritten thank-you notes to his social media followers. This personal touch ignited a loyal community, leading to speaking engagements, book deals, and the creation of VaynerMedia, a digital marketing agency with over 800 employees. His personal touch through snail mail proved a powerful marketing tool.

Michael Bungay Stanier, “Box of Awesome”

This Canadian marketer launched a subscription box filled with curated “awesome” finds like gadgets, books, and treats. The personalized experience, handwritten notes, and surprise factor built a loyal fan base and generated significant revenue.

Ryan Holiday, “Perpetual Calendar”

Author Ryan Holiday used a unique snail mail strategy. He mailed out custom-designed perpetual calendars to influencers and potential clients, creating a valuable and memorable physical touchpoint that garnered attention and opened doors for collaboration.

Patagonia, “Seeds From Patagonia”

The outdoor clothing brand sent tiny bags of wildflower seeds to customers with purchase receipts. This sustainable and unexpected gesture not only fostered environmental awareness but also encouraged repeat purchases and positive brand sentiment.

Dollar Shave Club, “Welcome Kit”

The razor subscription service surprised customers with personalized welcome kits containing fun branded items like socks or phone cases. This unexpected touch of whimsy added a human element to the brand and helped establish customer loyalty from the very first interaction.

Etsy’s “Shop Local Series”

This campaign saw Etsy partnering with local businesses to send out postcard collages to potential customers highlighting nearby craft items. The personalized touch, showcasing unique products from real people, resonated with recipients and led to a 20% increase in shop visits and a 15% rise in sales for participating businesses.

The Naked Pastor’s Wife

Sarah Philpott launched this business in 2002, sending out humorous newsletters via snail mail. Her witty observations on motherhood and faith resonated with women across the country, eventually leading to a book deal, TV appearances, and a profitable website – all born from a simple newsletter in the post. Results: 500,000+ newsletter subscribers, multiple book deals, TV appearances.

The Subscription Box That Started it All

Birchbox, founded in 2010, revolutionized the beauty industry by sending curated boxes of beauty samples directly to subscribers. Through targeted marketing campaigns and personalized packaging, they built a loyal customer base and grew to over $300 million in revenue before being acquired in 2016. Snail mail became the key to their initial success, sparking curiosity and driving engagement.

The Subscription Box for the Dog Days

BarkBox, founded in 2011, sends themed toy and treat boxes for dogs every month. Through creative marketing campaigns and personalized packaging delivered via snail mail, they have grown to over $300 million in revenue, proving that personalized snail mail experiences can create a loyal canine (and owner) fan base.

The Letter-Writing Guru

Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner, launched in 2014, encourages users to prioritize tasks and goals through handwritten entries. Her business grew organically through word-of-mouth and strategic use of snail mail marketing, including sending handwritten notes to customers. Despite the digital competition, the planner’s physical format and personal touch resonated with users.

The Mystery Box that Ignited Curiosity

Loot Crate, founded in 2012, delivers curated boxes of geek-themed merchandise every month. Their clever use of snail mail, from cryptic hints within packages to personalized inserts, built suspense and community around their subscription service. While they have expanded to digital platforms, their initial success stemmed from the unique experience of receiving surprise packages in the mail.

Mimoco’s “Talking Bob”

This quirky tech company sent out cardboard cutouts of their Bob speaker with handwritten notes and funny instructions. This playful and unexpected approach not only generated social media buzz but also resulted in a 300% increase in website traffic and a 20% boost in sales.

Skillshare’s “Creative Care Package”

This online learning platform surprised subscribers with snail mail kits containing creative prompts, materials, and handwritten encouragement. This personalized experience fostered community and engagement, leading to a 17% increase in course enrollments and a significant improvement in brand loyalty metrics.

Bon Appétit’s “Handwritten Recipe Cards”

This magazine surprised subscribers with handwritten recipe cards from their favorite chefs. This personal touch created a sense of connection and exclusivity, prompting recipients to try the recipes and even share them with friends, leading to increased website traffic and brand engagement.

Airbnb’s “Unexpected Neighborhood Guides”

This platform mailed out hand-drawn neighborhood guides to homeowners, highlighting hidden gems and local experiences. This community-focused approach not only promoted listings but also strengthened relationships with hosts, creating a more authentic and immersive travel experience for guests.

These are just a few examples, and as you can see the beauty of snail mail lies in its adaptability. Remember, it’s not just about the format, but the creative way you utilize it to connect with your audience and build a lasting brand experience.

Here’s one last example, just to demonstrate that snail mail is anything but dead:

The Pen Pal Powerhouse

Postcrossing, established in 2005, is a global pen pal exchange network connecting millions of people through snail mail. With over 85 million postcards exchanged from 214 countries, it proves that the personal touch of handwritten letters still holds value in a digital age. While not a typical business, it showcases the enduring power of snail mail for connection and engagement.

When strategically coupled with internet marketing, snail mail can become a powerful tool, injecting tangible impact and emotional connection into your strategy.

Moreover, the physical presence of a mailer reinforces brand recognition and strengthens your brand story, creating a lasting impression that lingers long after the initial interaction.

Embrace the unexpected power of snail mail. Use it to surprise and delight your audience, cultivate deeper engagement, and stand out from the digital masses. In the face of information overload, a well-timed piece of snail mail can be the perfect complement, adding a touch of humanity and creating a lasting connection that drives genuine brand loyalty.


You may also like...