Postcard sales? What is this, 1999? And it’s good that you’ve likely come here thinking that. You’ve probably heard that postcard marketing is dead and that it’s better to focus on digital channels. Well you’re not completely wrong. You do need to focus on digital channels as well, but using postcard marketing as a complementary marketing channel can grow your user base, reduce churn and is statistically more effective than any other marketing channel available. Don’t take my word for it, see the numbers below:
51% of postcards are read (highest of any piece of direct mail)
20% of people likely to respond (also, highest)
Postcards are the least used type of direct mail!
Ready to give it a shot? Ensure you lay a strong foundation to elicit the best results.
Step 1: Determine your ideal customer
What is your ideal customer look like? Are they young, old, married, single, male, female, in a specific city or international? The quality of people you target is the foundation for a successful campaign. What will get them excited about what you are offering? This is an iterative process and as you and your business grow, you will have more criteria to limit your search to high quality potential customers.
Step 2: Get high quality addresses
When looking for addresses, you really have 2 main options. Either procure address lists from a data provider or use the data you have in your CRM or database internally. Procuring address lists is particularly useful for acquisition campaigns, while internal data is crucial for lifecycle marketing, retention and re-activation use cases.
For low-volume, googleable data: Send it to email@example.com
For Scout customers that are targeting folks in the Bay Area, in high tech, or generally that I could find 1–1 with a Google search, my friend Joe over at getsteward.com is the very best. You describe your task, who you want, and then he’ll get you company names, addresses, and email addresses. His data is very clean and comes mainly from places you could find via a Google Search.
For non-googleable data: Use a data provider
There are a plethora of data providers from Axciom, InfoUSA, Mailershaven, Experian and Transunion and many more. From a customer service, response, and data perspective, my friend Rob at Mailershaven is the very best. Now there are other places you can get your data, but these guys have aggregated a lot of different lists and they know who they can find and where.
Step 3: Pull insight from your own mailbox
Make 1 clear offer with 3–6 big words understood in < 3 seconds.
I can sum up direct mail marketing design in three words: Keep it simple.
Can the recipient determine the following in 3 seconds:
– What does your business do?
– How does your business stands out from the competition?
– What is the offer?
– What do they need to do to take advantage of the offer?
Can’t satisfy the requirements above? Your postcard will be heading for the trash.
Here’s what you should borrow from the big brands who do postcard marketing (in order of importance)
- Make what you do clear and memorable in a few words.
- Provide a clear compelling offer with an expiration date.
- Make it colorful with an image or text and include your logo.
Listen to my friend Henry and invest time on this piece.
Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short. — Henry David Thoreau (1857)
When I look at my mailbox, I often find poor examples of direct mail marketing. Try to avoid these pitfalls:
- Confusing messaging with one or two offers on the same card.
- Unclear value proposition.
- Offers without expiration dates.
- Talking about features instead of benefits to the customer
Send 3 different mailers over 8 weeks
It’s better to be consistent and spread your mailers out over time to reduce the impact of seasonality and the variations in the days the mail will land in the mailbox. Experiment with different sizes too! Marketers rarely get everything right on the first campaign, take the lessons you learn and apply them to future campaigns and you’ll see immediate improvements.
Step 4: Make it personalized and track it
Personalize your Postcard
You never see static e-mails, why would you send the same mail piece to thousands of recipients?
With Lob we’ve added the following personalization touches:
- First name on every card.
- Neighborhood level map with nearby customers.
- Called out the recipient’s city in the text.
- Distance data from their address to a nearby sold home.
- Property pricing data crossed out (i.e. online home valuation data sucks).
- A picture of their new restaurant website.
- The number of customers in their city and a customer testimonial from their city.
- Solar installer data that shows nearby panel installations (see below).
Without Lob, you can do it, too:
Some of our customers get really clever and use Scout to upload different static variations to different target lists. Here are some ideas.
- Design different cards for each sub-section of your list.
- Have an outsourcer design 1 card for each person.
- Include an offer relevant to their zip code.
- Talk about things nearby (e.g. reference customers in the same city)
Spend time building a robust method of tracking attribution.
- Include promo codes, landing pages, or a phone number unique to every card and different for every send.
- The more time you spend preparing to track attribution, the better understanding you will have of what is working and what is not in regards to your mail campaigns.
- Make sure your offer is not available elsewhere (e.g. on your homepage)
Lob has been amazing to us here at Scout. Once we started working heavily with Lob, we realized just what an underutilized resource we had to help us build our business. Don’t make my mistake, reach out to them sooner rather than later or email me for free feedback (see below).