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Survey Says: Snail Mail Speaks Louder Than E-mail

The folks at Pingdom put most of these survey numbers together based on estimates for 2009, and you know what? If you were expecting miracles from e-mail, you’re going to be disappointed.

That is to say, in spite of the fact that almost inconceivably-huge numbers of e-mails are generated and sent over the Internet, the majority of them are dross — unwelcome and unlikely to be trusted by recipient.

Some numbers:

  • Total e-mails per year: 14.4 trillion
  • Total e-mails per day: 39.6 billion
  • Of the e-mails, 19% were “legit” and 81% were “spam”

To put these numbers in context, let’s compare them to snail mail:

  • Total snail mail per year: 177 billion
  • Total snail mail per day: 485 million
  • Email outnumbers snail mail 81 to 1
  • Of the snail mail, 53% were “legit” and 47% were “junk”


Some quick comments:

  1. Although e-mail is quick, easy and cheap to create and distribute, fully four fifths of it is garbage.
  2. This preponderance of junk pretty much erases whatever “advantage” e-mail holds due to its convenience.
  3. Snail mail’s “junk proportion” is much more positive (nearly 50/50, with the number of “legit” mail slightly larger) than e-mail.
  4. Marketing via email means your message is drowned in a HUGE amount of junk that’s doomed to be deleted unread.
  5. Marketing via snail mail gives you a better chance of being heard.
  6. Don’t believe everything you hear: Some planned giving vendors promise a 46% open and read rate on their mass-emails!

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