The Idea Center
Marketing best practices to help you grow your business
How Many Direct Mail Postcards = Success?Print
Postcards are inexpensive, easy to create and mail, and typically generate a high response rate. All of these factors put together make postcards a powerful marketing tool for small businesses today. To get the most out of your postcard campaigns, it is important to mail to your list more than one time.
Here’s why.Repetition Is Key to Postcard Marketing Success
Think about postcards in terms of other forms of advertising—television commercials, for instance. Ever see a commercial just once? No! You see the same commercials over and over because people learn by repetition. Repetition creates brand recognition and builds credibility.
The same is true for postcard marketing. It yields the best results when done repetitively.
“Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers.” —Elizabeth Arden
When mailing to prospects, you can choose to send the same card repeatedly or you can vary the touches with different designs. Just make sure your brand is easily recognized and that the “look and feel” is consistent on all the pieces. Remember, you want your brand to become familiar. If your postcards look too different, prospects may not connect them as being from the same company.
Why Once Is Not Enough
The results of a survey conducted by the National Sales Executive Association show how many touches it typically takes to get a sale:
- On the 1st Contact: 2%
- On the 2nd Contact: 3%
- On the 3rd Contact: 5%
- On the 4th Contact: 10%
- On the 5th to 12th Contact: 80%
It's clear that persistence is the key to your direct mail success. Ninety percent of the sales were made when recipients were contacted four to twelve times. You’ll miss a lot of potential sales if you stop after just one or two mailings. You will experience better results by mailing the same 100 people six times than you would by mailing 600 people just once.
When recipients see your company name over and over again, your brand will become familiar and gains credibility. To get the most out of your campaign, mail your postcards to the same list a minimum of four to six times. The subsequent increase in revenue will usually far offset the small cost of executing multi-touch campaigns.
How to Keep Them Coming Back
Done correctly, postcard marketing has been proven to be an effective tool for small businesses to convert prospects into customers. Too often, however, businesses forget that those who have done business with them in the past are the ones most likely to do business with them again in the future.
If you are an insurance agent, dentist, retail store owner, residential services business, real estate agent, or any other type of professional, you can grow your small business with regular communications to past clients. Staying in touch helps nurture existing relationships and builds trust, which can lead to repeat business and referrals from those who are already familiar with your company.
To keep customers thinking about you, stay in regular contact with them. Your business type, the size of your customer list, and your budget will help you decide how often you do this. It is recommended you mail to them every month or two, no less than once per quarter. If you wait too long between touches, they may forget you when they or their friends need your services.
Make the message on your postcards personal. You want to make an emotional connection so customers (and prospects, too!) feel good about your company. This is what promotes loyalty and brings in referrals.
Plan your retention campaign in advance. Choose holidays and special occasions as reasons to stay in touch. Be sure to include coupons and promos that can be passed along to family and friends.
How Many Repetitions = Success?
So how many postcards should you mail to achieve campaign success, anyway? Business type, campaign objective, list size, budget, etc. vary from company to company. For reasons discussed above, it is recommended you mail a minimum of four postcards for each prospecting campaign, but only testing will determine the magic number of repetitions that works best for your business.
To test, include a way to track responses (such as key codes) on your postcards so you can count the number of responses received and the revenue or number of leads generated for each campaign. If new business keeps rolling in after the tenth postcard that more than pays for the continued mailings, keep mailing! Eventually, you will discover an average break-even point and can use that to determine the number of mailings for future campaigns.
If you use direct mail and have tested your campaigns, please share your knowledge and results with other readers! Your insight could be just what a company owner across the country needs to hear to encourage them to use postcard marketing to grow their small business.
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