It’s no secret that we live in a digital world. People talk online, shop online, attend meetings online, and much more. Email, with its ability to instantly send messages anywhere in the world for free, has edged out old school “snail mail” in business, personal communications, and more.
So why on earth would an ecommerce business owner ever use postcard marketing to advertise their business in this digital age?
Well, for the same reason that big retail chains with massive advertising capabilities have never abandoned postcard marketing—because it works. Read on to see how one ecommerce store put this “old school” idea to the test, achieving a 762% ROI on its first campaign!
What the Research Says About Postcard Marketing
Before you invest in any new marketing initiative for your business, it’s always a good idea to start with a little bit of research. To save you from clicking through Google results all afternoon in search of trustworthy data, we’ll share some highlights with you here.
Nowsourcing for Direct Mail put out an incredibly helpful infographic to guide business owners in making informed decisions surrounding postcard marketing and direct mail. In it, we can see that the average email campaign sees a response rate of 0.12%. Mailers to existing customers, on the other hand, achieve an average response rate of 3.4%. That means that postcard marketing campaigns can be around 28x more successful than email campaigns!
Perhaps that’s because, according to the United States Postal Service, 79% of households scan or read advertising mail. There’s no “spam filter” on a mailbox, so it’s easier to get your message in front of more eyes. It’s also more likely to end up on a customer’s refrigerator or in their wallet where it can be seen again, while emails can be quickly deleted or buried between hundreds of other messages by the end of the day.
None of this is to say that email marketing should be abandoned altogether. In fact, that infographic from Nowsourcing for Direct Mail also tells us that customers spend 25% more when businesses combine both digital and mail marketing. Postcard marketing, then, can be a powerful complement to the marketing initiatives a business already has in place.
While all of this data is extremely helpful, a business owner can’t really know if or how a marketing initiative will work for them until they actually try it. It’s time to introduce you to one ecommerce business owner who decided to do exactly that.
Taking Postcard Marketing for a Test Drive
When we first met Mark*, he was—like many ecommerce business owners—skeptical that postcard marketing could help his business. In the past, he’d relied on digital marketing, such as drip emails and social media ads, to drum up business for his online store. In fact, the idea of mailing postcards had never even crossed his mind.
After learning a bit more about this “old school” technique that large, successful businesses had been using for years, he decided to put it to the test. He wasn’t sure what to expect, so he didn’t even set a particular goal—he just threw together a small campaign to see what would happen.
Now, it’s important to note that, for many years, a test drive like this would have been impossible for a small business like his. Traditional direct mail companies have large set up fees and massive minimum project sizes. They aren’t set up for tester campaigns, and any initiative is a major investment. Small businesses simply don’t have the contact lists or the financial resources to send out thousands of postcards in their first campaign.
Fortunately for Mark, he found he could put together a postcard marketing campaign online with no minimum job size and at a price he could afford. Best of all, the entire process would be surprisingly simple.
For his test project, he decided to target customers who hadn’t purchased in 90 days and who have spent more than $200 at his store. He designed a simple 4x6 postcard to say “We Miss You” and included a special discount to draw them back. He uploaded his design, merged his contact list, clicked send, and then… he waited.
Achieving a 762% ROI with Postcard Marketing
On this first campaign, Mark sent out postcards to 98 customers. In order to track his response rate, he used a discount code unique to this campaign, much like he would do on a typical email campaign.
He began checking on his progress every few days and, before long, he couldn’t believe his eyes. His 98 postcards resulted in a total of 13 orders! His very first campaign achieved a whopping 13.26% conversion rate—nearly four times the average response rate reported by Nowsourcing for Direct Mail.
It was time to run some numbers. Because Mark used MailSnail, his first campaign only cost $98 to run, but the sales he saw as a direct result totaled $747.42. That’s a 762.67% return on his investment!
For a small business owner who had sent out these postcards with a shrug of his shoulders, the results were staggering. He immediately began putting together his next campaign.
The Limitless Potential of Postcard Marketing
Once Mark achieved a 762% ROI on his first campaign, he was itching to send out another round of postcards to existing customers. Fortunately, the potential campaigns he can run are bound only by his imagination.
In his first campaign, Mark segmented his contact list according to a certain spending threshold and the amount of time since the last order. He could use those same markers, simply changing the thresholds themselves, or he could segment his list in an entirely new way.
For example, Mark knows that customers who made multiple purchases in the past are more likely to purchase again than those who only shopped his store once. Given that, his next campaign could target past customers based on the number of orders they’ve placed. A special discount code for loyal customers would be a great way to show customer appreciation and drive sales.
He could also target customers based on the specific product they purchased from him, encouraging customers to buy more of what they’ve already enjoyed or introducing them to related products that may interest them. It’s easy to personalize a marketing campaign campaign to speak directly to the recipients, so Mark can use what he knows about his customers to craft an offer they can’t resist.
Mark could also target members of his loyalty program. Whether he sends a coupon code to drive sales or a simple message of appreciation—say, around the holidays—this is a great way to keep valuable customer relationships strong and give loyal customers one more reason to love and revisit his online store.
Now that Mark has seen the power of postcard marketing, he could opt to run his next campaign alongside a similar email campaign. By reinforcing an offer in two places and at different times, he can achieve an even higher response rates and ROI.
The options are endless, and as Mark uses postcard marketing to grow his business, he’ll also grow his customer contact list—giving him even more people to target in future campaigns. Only time will tell what he’ll dream up and accomplish next.
Try Postcard Marketing for Your Ecommerce Business
Are you like Mark was—skeptical that an “old school” marketing method is relevant in today’s digital age? Do you worry that it will be prohibitively expensive when compared to your online marketing initiatives? Or does the idea of managing and segmenting your contact list for a postcard marketing campaign overwhelm you?
We hear you. That’s why we’re now inviting store owners like you the opportunity to try MailSnail for free. See how MailSnail makes it easy and affordable to run a small test campaign and track your results—just like Mark did.
*Name changed to respect customer privacy. All stats used with permission.