Show Love with Paper Hugs

Emails, social media posts, and virtual conferences. Brands, looking for ways to stay connected with customers who were quarantined at home, have increased the use of digital tactics.

Families are also adopting new digital tools to stay connected with grandparents and extended families. But screen time does not always satisfy the need to show loved ones that you care. A new movement has emerged – the “send a paper hug” trend, giving children a fun crafting activity and a unique way to interact with distant friends and family members without using a screen.

Paper hugs are keepsakes. If you receive one in the mail, it sends a cue, activating positive associations that make you feel special. As marketers plan for the coming months, the concept of a paper hug can work well for a brand, too.

The Trip to the Mailbox

When opening email inboxes, few people get excited by electronic advertising. We quickly skim messages and discard most, even those sent by favored brands.

The daily trip to the mailbox tells a different story. Most people look forward to seeing what has arrived. When a preferred brand sends a catalog, information, or a special offer, we find enjoyment in looking it over.

As you plan for the second half of the year, paper hugs could be the tactic you need to nurture and convert your best leads, prompt current customers to keep buying, and generate revenue from new sources.


Cross-Channel Prospecting

According to Campaign Monitor, the average email open rate is 17.8% – which means that 82.2% of emails are NOT OPENED on average.1

According to the Data and Marketing Association (formerly the DMA), 77.2% of recipients DO LOOK at mail, and advertising mail is kept for an average of 17 days after it is received.2

These statistics do not indicate we should return to old-school, spray-and-pray direct mail tactics. Instead, they tell savvy marketers that a certain percentage of leads are opening emails. One way to use the paper hug tactic is sending direct mail to email openers who haven’t converted, using this additional touch as an extra nudge to convince fence-sitters to take action.


Personalized with Data-Driven Messaging

Every organization has data. Using existing data to create better messaging offers many benefits.

  • Data-driven marketing increases communication relevance
  • Higher degrees of relevance demonstrates a deeper understanding of a customer’s needs, strengthening relationships
  • Using highly targeted communications can increase marketing ROI while reducing overall spend

If you want to personalize messaging in a campaign but are hampered by data that is too basic to be useful, data appending could be your solution. Data appending services match your existing data against a more extensive database, and it works for either B2B or B2C marketing.

Here’s one more idea. If you are planning direct mail with an informal vibe, consider using a handwriting font. It is a fun design choice, and it is perfect for paper hug marketing.


Last Thoughts

As we all adjust to a new normal, it is a good time to remember your best customers are your competitor’s best leads. Consider sending long-time or high-value customers a simple card, wishing them well without asking for anything in return, letting them know you care.


Could you send the message by email? Sure. Would it have the same impact as a paper hug? Maybe not, and as every marketer knows, it costs more to find customers than retain them.