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4 Secrets to Successful Customer Retention with Direct Mail

April 13, 2015

When most marketers hear the words “direct mail,” they think of campaigns aimed at acquiring more customers. While direct mail marketing is an excellent way to find new customers for your business, it’s just as powerful for retaining customers.

Customer retention is one of the most important and frequently overlooked aspects of marketing. By doubling your company’s customer retention rate, you also double its long-term revenue with few, if any, additional marketing costs.

There are several ways to improve your company’s customer retention. Some work because they’re personal, like phone calls and personal letters. Few, however, are as effective as targeted direct mail postcards.

How to use postcards to retain customers

Have you ever received a catalog from a store you once shopped at? Companies have been using direct mail to improve retention for decades, and for a good reason: if it’s done right, it’s extremely effective.

Since lifetime customer value and marketing strategy can differ massively between different businesses, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to use direct mail postcards for customer retention.

However, the four direct mail retention strategies below are suitable for any type of business, from a local café or restaurant to a pest control company, arborist, lawyer or home service provider, that wants to improve its customer retention rate.

Encourage customers to refer their friends and colleagues

Sometimes, the best way to retain customers is simply by reminding them that you exist. Sending a referral offer to customers inviting them to refer their friends is an excellent way to remind them about your business and build customer loyalty.

It also doubles as an effective way to generate referrals for your business. Even if a recipient doesn’t take action on your referral offer, simply getting in touch is a good way to keep them aware of how your business can help them and their social circle.


Send customers reminders for seasonal or scheduled services

If you offer a seasonal service such as tree trimming or HVAC maintenance, sending customers a reminder is a great way to generate repeat business without having to market to completely new people.

Record the date of your past appointments so that you’re aware of each customer’s account status. Deliver your reminder postcard about a month before your service is required to keep your service in their mind and encourage them to make a booking.

Mail direct mail postcards with special discount vouchers

Whether you run a boutique clothing store or a local café, mailing discount vouchers to your customers is a great way to encourage them to come back. From 10% off an item to buy-one-get-one-free deals, few customers can resist a great special offer.

Since the customers you’re mailing to are already familiar with your business, you’ll be able to achieve a far higher response rate than you could with a standard direct mail campaign, resulting in a higher return on investment for your business.

Remind customers of upcoming events and special dates

Is Valentine’s Day approaching? What about Christmas? Every holiday is a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with customers and give them a reason to visit your café or restaurant, shop in your retail store, or purchase your service.

Don’t feel limited to well-known holidays in your marketing. From the anniversary of your store’s opening date to your 10,000th customer, use your business’s major dates and achievements to reconnect with your customers and develop loyalty.

How can your business improve its customer retention rate?

The easiest people to market to aren’t strangers, but people who’ve already had a positive experience with your business. Which of the above strategies could your business use to improve its retention rate and increase its marketing ROI?