Bulk Mail Postcards That Convert

This is a guest post from Jordan Crawford, CEO of Lob partner Scout. 

Bulk mailing postcards is a great idea to grow your business, but if it’s not done right you might as well throw your marketing dollars away. There are tons of tactics that you can use to make sure that your bulk mail postcards will convert. At Scout, we’ve used Lob’s print and mail APIs to help bulk mailed nearly a hundred thousand postcards. and w We’ve also interviewed people who send over 1M pieces each month on our Facebook group. I’m here to share the best of bulk mail tactics with you.

Everything to Consider Before You Bulk Mail Postcards

Like a good cup of coffee in the morning, you should start here.

This list is in order of importance, so things at the top are more important than those at the bottom. Take note, if you make huge mistakes in this process you’ll see your conversion rate drop substantially.

What to think about before you bulk mail postcards:

  1. Who are you targeting? Do they know your brand?
  2. What is the benefit to them to read your card? Offer? Discount? Solve a big problem?
  3. What image will you use?
  4. How will you measure your results?
  5. What is the lifetime value of the customer in your list? How do you define success?

Lob has a helpful guide to evaluating a print and mail vendor. If you’re allocating resources appropriately, this is how you should break out your time.

  1. Your list should command 70% of your attention.
  2. Your headline should command 20% of your attention.
  3. The rest of your postcard’s design, 5%
  4. Measuring your results, 4%
  5. Sending your cards, 1%

Measurement, calculating your return on investment, and your customer’s lifetime value are important, but if you don’t get the list or headline right, the rest of the card doesn’t matter.

I’m going to break this post down according to these metrics. Hold onto your hats!

1. Think about your Bulk Mail Postcards List First

I’ve talked in a previous post about list providers and in another post about what kinds of things are available to you via targeting. Instead of all that, I’d like to focus in on your customer persona as these are the questions people often overlook when piecing lists together.

There are tons of different list providers, so when I said 70% of your attention should be on your list, I wasn’t talking about shopping around for different providers. I was talking about defining your ideal customer.

Who are they? Where do they hang out? What do they like? Is this your most profitable ideal customer? Here is a useful post that explains how you can think about your customer’s journey.

The very best thing you can do to improve conversion is make sure that you’ve spent tons of time thinking about your list. A good way to frame this process is to make sure you’re looking for the right customers who could be interested in buying your product right now.

2. Then Focus on Your Postcard Headline

Fortunately, there’s tons of resources online that will help you write great headlines. You can easily assume that 80% of people will read your headline, and nothing else. So, make it great.

I’ve been reading Confessions of an Advertising Man recently, which has a whole chapter on how to think about headlines. Here are some his famous headlines to inspire you and here are his tactics distilled into actionable advice.

But if you need modern tools or suggestions based on current interaction data, Buzz Sumo analyzed over 100M headline views. CoSchedule has a tool to help with this as well.

The best headlines are factual, focus on the benefits of your product, and provide useful information to the customer. As long as you stay dialed in on your customer’s benefit your headlines will sell.

3. Postcard Design

I’ve written pretty heavily about a great postcard design process. But I’ll give you a short version of what I tell my clients these days on how they should think about their design. This is, of course, after you’ve finished your headline.

Once you’re really done with your headline, then you can structure the rest of the postcard to support it.

Here’s how to think about your bulk mail postcard design:

  1. Find an image that resonates (ideally of your product).
  2. What are the top three benefits of your product? Add them to the back of the card.
  3. Make sure you have a singular and BIG call to action. Call. Visit. Text. Whatever.
  4. Try to make a crazy offer (e.g. $1 for 3 bottles of wine when you sign up for 6 months).
  5. Always include an expiration date with the offer to get people to act.

4. Measuring Results

As one of Lob’s partners, Scout can track results with unique URLs per postcard, forwarding phone numbers that log caller ID, unique redemption codes, delivery dates via Lob, reverse IP and pixel tracking, and unique QR codes per card.

Another option would be to do tracking with a free forwarding Google Number or a free Bitly link. Lob’s delivery API tells you when postcards are delivered, so you just have to check to see if your site got a traffic boost when your postcards arrived.

In any case, you need some way to determine what the impression is on your campaign. It can sometimes take a few months to see results for your campaign, so keep that in mind when determining a strategy for measuring your campaign.

5. Sending Your Cards

Many printers are interchangeable, except for the amount of pain in working with them. We’ve found that working with non-tech printers is pretty difficult: pricing is confusing, there are tons of printing options that don’t matter to you, submitting the right size files is hard, formatting of the card is difficult, and there is generally a lot of communication overhead.

At Scout we use Lob because their tech-friendly APIs help us show you live printed previews, validate your list with Lob via USPS, and do things like tracking per postcard and unique maps.

When considering a printer you should make sure that you know about their list validation services (e.g. whether they support NCOA and CASS to help make sure your list is clean). You’ll want to know if they will tell you delivery dates for your cards so you can measure the campaign’s impact.

You should focus on getting your cards out efficiently, with a provider who helps you clean your list and is easy to integrate into your system.

6. Need Help with your Bulk Mail Postcards?

Have questions? Feel free to ask them in our free Facebook Group, Postcard Pros or send me a note! Want to learn more about Lob, contact them here!