Blog: How did citizens engage with mail during lockdown?

During the first lock down Royal Mail Marketreach did research with Trinity McQueen to understand how mail was interacted with, with more people working from home were people more or less receptive to messages coming through their letter boxes?

88% of people said they paid the same or more attention to mail during the lockdown and nearly half of those people said they looked forward to receiving mail during lockdown.  And 1 in 2 acknowledged the usefulness of mail in the pandemic.

Mail is the right choice when it really matters

For people during the pandemic 72% of people said it was the right way for the Government to communicate with the public and 63% said that is showed that the Government had taken the situation seriously.  And 58% said that mail had helped them better understand what they needed to do in the situation to keep themselves safe or to provide help to others who were shielding.

Citizens rate mail from their local authority and from the NHS as valuable

67% of people said that when they received a letter from their local authority on COVID said that is demonstrated that the Government had taken things seriously and when it was from the NHS 69% said they had.  Comprehension of what they needed to do as a result of receiving mail was also strong at 68% for local authority mail and 69% for NHS mail.  And when you really need to get people to understand what to do mail clearly lands the message.

Many councils used mail

Councils across Great Britain used mail as they felt this was the “right thing to do”. 

Leicestershire City Council said:  “By utilising postal communications Leicester City Council were able to reach all their vulnerable and local residents, ensuring that important information was received, understood and acted upon. This not only increased their engagement but helped build on their resident relationships, a sense of value is provided with every letter sent.”

Local authority mail enjoys some of the highest engagement rates of all mail.  According to JICMAIL (the gold standard media metrics for mail) Government mail achieves 100% engagement rates, and by engagement they mean that the mail has been engaged with in any way, i.e. it has been opened, read, put aside to look at later.  Mail from local authorities is shared with others in the household, so for every 100 local authority mail packs sent another 55 people will see the piece, that’s over a doubling of the impacts you’ve bought.

The amount of time people spent looking at mail went up during the pandemic, probably not so surprising as people were spending more time in their homes.  On average mail was achieving an average frequency (number of times people return to a piece of mail) of 4.2.  During the pandemic local authority mail was being engaged with 4.7 times.  Each piece of mail getting nearly 5 return visits.

Mail isn’t always the first choice for local authorities, but it became and remains an important channel when they needed to reach every citizen and made sure messages landed when it really counts.

Sophie Grender is a Business Development Manager at Marketreach from Royal Mail

On 27 July 2021, LGcomms and Royal Mail organised the webinar ‘Direct mail in the pandemic and in the future’. You can view the recording and transcript of this webinar within the resources section of the website.


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