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Letters From the Dead

It might sound like the title of a book or movie, but this is all about business. The idea here is a company that could be called Letters From The Dead. The service provided would be mailing cards and letters for clients after they die. The following is a rough outline of how the business might work.

Marketing The Business

What happens when you aren't here to send that birthday card or letter of encouragement to a loved one? Certainly they'll miss your thoughtful and kind words, but they don't have to. Now you can send a letter to a friend or family member years after you have passed on, and we'll handle it for you. You may be gone, but your letters and cards can continue on.

That's a quick look at a possible approach to advertising. Part of the marketing plan would also be to get people excited by the "immortality" aspect of having their letters delivered to friends and family many years after they die. They can continue to advise a child or encourage a friend, for example.

Now for the bad news. I just checked and the domain name lettersfromthedead.com is registered. As of November 2009 it is parked and not developed, though, so perhaps the owner would sell it for $100 (who knows?). Alternately you need a name that is close, or one that you can use for both the domain and business name. For example, mailfromthedead.com is available as I write this.

The Service

It seems that various packages would need to be offered. For example, a standard package might be 100 letters mailed out for $200. Each letter or card is tagged somehow (placed in an exterior envelope perhaps), to indicate when it will be sent. This could be a set number of days after death, so for example, the client could have letters go out every year on the date of his or her death. They could also be set up to go out on set dates following death, so loved ones could get a card on their birthdays, etc.

The client supplies the letters and cards, all within the weight allowed for a single first class stamp. Of course, you can sell letters, cards and other supplies as an extra profit source.

Pricing has to allow for the possibility of postage rates rising, since you don't know when the client will die and a first class stamp may cost three times as much by then. You also might limit the mailings to up to ten years after death for the same reason. Alternately you could charge according to how far out the mailings are spread, with a substantial premium for those past five years or so.

There are other services that could be tied into this business. You might also have "emails from the grave" for example. This part of the business could be largely automated and very low cost. You can't guarantee deliverability of course, due to people changing their email addresses and spam filters that may block the mailings.

You could also deliver small packages or even flowers as part of the business. You might advertise, "The dead get flowers, but don't the living deserve them too? Sign up for a special offer today from "Flowers From The Dead," and send your love from the grave."

Perhaps the major problem to be solved is how to efficiently track clients so you know when they have died. An email they have to respond to twice per year could work as a start. A system that can be mostly automated would be important to keep the costs down, since you might have to hold those letters and keep track of a client for fifty years.

That's the basic concept. It's possible that there is already a similar service out there that I'm not aware of (I'm writing this in the fall of 2009). Whether or not it exists yet, I think this idea has some potential. If you were to sell ten "basic plans" (100 letters for $200) daily the business would have a gross profit of about a half million dollars ann


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Letters From the Dead

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