In this Web-enabled world where seemingly everything is distributed, connected, and shared online, the mail is among the last bastions of traditional communication. Or is it? A new app called Postagram and the stalwart U.S. Postal Service itself are merging print mail with technology, for direct mail with creative potential.

Reality Show

5 Remodeling-Friendly Postagram Ideas

1. Thank your clients. Use a photo of the completed project or your friendly staff to personalize your thank-you card.

2. Connect with neighbors. Apologize for mess, noise, truck traffic and more, and tease neighbors with an in-progress photo of your client’s job.

3. Offer a friendly reminder. Send clients Postagrams with the names and photos of crewmembers they’ll see on site for easy reference.

4. Wish people happy holidays. Use Postagram to send holiday cards to clients individually with personalization, or in bulk for your whole client list.

5. Remember the goal. When clients get the halfway-done blues, send a Postagram of their finished project rendering to remind them of what’s to come.

According to the Magna Advertising Group, U.S. businesses spent $21 billion on direct mail in 2011, up 2.9% from 2010. “The average household receives only two pieces of direct mail a day, compared with 157 emails,” says Tom Foti, manager of direct mail and periodicals for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). He says direct mail is most successful when coupons, mobile barcodes, and other “response mechanisms” are used.

To that end, the USPS showcased a new Augmented Reality app during the 2013 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) that will make direct mail more interactive and memorable. Examples shared at KBIS included a mailer for a new car that revved its engine and drove away when scanned in the app, and a retail promo piece that popped with clickable coupons on-screen.

The Augmented Reality app is scheduled to debut before the end of the year, giving business owners plenty of time to dream up creative uses for the tool. (Think about a still shot of a new kitchen on the mailer with a video tour of the completed project via augmented reality.)

Personalized Postcards

For more intimate connections, Postagram offers customized postcards that let users incorporate photography. The three-year-old start-up is part of a network of brands that are “working to make the world more thoughtful,” says marketing representative Samantha Chan. “People love getting mail, and this is a great way to translate the photos they’re taking every day and sharing them beyond Instagram and Facebook by getting more personal.”

Using Postagram’s mobile app or going online at, users can create and send custom postcards with their own photos and messages for just 99 cents each. The postcards reach recipients in about three to five days.

Originally, the tool was geared toward consumers, but Chan says more businesses have been getting in on the action. Postagram has worked with Gap and Bing on branded social media promotions. Small businesses can take advantage of bulk buying to send Postagrams to their client lists at a lower cost per card.

“People get so creative with their Postagrams, and we love seeing what our users come up with,” Chan says, noting that the photos themselves pop out of the postcard for posterity. “Everyone loves taking photos, but a lot of the time they just stay on our cameras. Now there’s a way to share that special moment with someone and be able to keep the photo. We’ve seen people who have framed the photos or made collages on their refrigerators. It’s a lot of fun.”

—Lauren Hunter is the senior products editor at REMODELING. Find her on Twitter at @LaurenHunter_HW or @RemodelingMag.