Privy CEO Ben Jabbawy on Driving 6% of Revenue with Postcards

The following is an interview with Ben Jabbawy, CEO & Founder of Privy and Jeremy Roberts, co-founder and CMO of apparel brand Tradlands:

Ben Jabbawy: So it's November 23rd, 2020 and aside from a run every day picking up my daughter from school and an occasional trip to the market, my daily trip to the mailbox in 2020 has become something I actually look forward to.

Why? Maybe it's because it's a much-needed excuse to stop work. Get outside for a sec. Anyways, I just got back from the mailbox and today must be D2C direct mail day. I have a smattering of mail from hot D2C brands. I've got one from Moonpod, that fancy beanbag chair thing. A fold-out of cozy sweatpants from Mack Weldon, which is smart because it feels like I haven't left my house in nine months, so why wear jeans? I even have an outdoors magazine from YETI.

I'm sure it was a coincidence that these all arrived in the mail on the same day. But, it had me thinking. Does direct mail work for commerce and is it something that you should be trying for your store?

In my experience, I definitely glanced at every piece of mail that lands in our mailbox. So open rates are probably really high but for direct mail. Where would you even start? How does targeting work? You go big with a catalog or can you start smaller with something like a postcard? I honestly had no idea.

So I'm here with Jeremy Roberts, the co-owner and CMO of Super cool to learn a little bit about direct mail from a brand who's walking the walk. So fill us in.

Jeremy Roberts: Tradlands is a clothing company specializing in ethically made essentials for women. I run our marketing program, overseeing our employees and contractors working on email, SMS, content, social media, paid ads, influencers, and just about everything else that happens in our marketing.

We use automated postcards to generate on average six percent of our revenue per month. We use an app called PostPilot where we send a postcard to first-time buyers, offering them a discount on their second purchase.

The Shopify app has in-depth filtering options to build out different segments of people, similar to how you might build out a segment in Klaviyo. Our goal is to convert those first-time buyers into immediate second-time buyers with a little help from a discount code and hopefully keeping those cost per acquisitions down compared to marketing to them over the next few months through email, social, and paid ads.

We like to think of sending direct mail to a person as getting into that forgotten inbox, their physical mailbox. Much of the time we get so focused on new digital marketing techniques, we forget about the tried and true classics that were perfected with direct mail and catalog sales.

Now, we've been using this and a previous app for about four years experimenting with different types of campaigns and segments. We've set different automated campaigns like win-back promotions, cart abandonment, and prospect series promos. We've also sent one-off campaigns that align with some of our product launches, big seasonal, sales and Black Friday, Cyber Monday messaging.

Many times, we like to tie our automated postcard campaigns to the same type of campaigns we have running in Klaviyo. So the person receives similar messaging in both of their inboxes. You could even target those same people from those Klaviyo and Facebook audience segments with the same campaign messaging.

We measure the success of this campaign by adding a discount code to the postcard. You can track ROI right in the PostPilot dashboard. We also like to check how many first-time customers became second-time customers within a very short window.

If somebody was going to get started today, I'd recommend using a Shopify app like PostPilot and setting up an automated campaign that mimics your best performing Klaviyo flows. Set up the post-purchase postcard campaign and incentivize your new customer to quickly purchase from you again. They would have just received your product are absolutely loving it and are looking for a reason to buy from you again.

Ben: Awesome, Jeremy. Thanks, great take. It sounds like either a vanity URL or an offer code is the easiest way to measure this stuff. Good old direct response marketing.

So I posted this in the Twittersphere, too. I also heard from Charles Instone, CMO of online health and wellness retailer selling natural remedies. Charles perked up when I mentioned direct mail and he shared a few good campaign examples with me.

Right now they have a direct mail postcard driving a 3.5x ROI. It was a nice two-sided postcard sent out to all prior customers who hadn't ordered from the drugstore in the last six months and or no longer open their emails for the last 90 days. So this card was specifically designed for BFCM. And they were offering a 30% coupon code to come shop the holiday sale. I like that targeting because these are prior customers or previously engaged on the list. No surprise it was driving such a strong ROI and driving roughly 7% of sales this month, which is amazing.

So with Charles at 7% and Jeremy at 6% of monthly sales those are big numbers, right?

Charles was also telling me that they also gave another direct-mail trick they use all year long. He sent me a picture -- so get this. It’s a card where at the top, it's got the brand name and it looks like it was handwritten.

So this is a personalized card that they send out automatically to everyone who completes their second order with the brand because their data showed that, if they could just get from two orders to three orders per customer, they'd have those customers for life. It's a brilliant way to make things feel personal, and drive loyalty. This was great.

 I learned a lot about direct mail and now I kind of get why my mailbox keeps getting full with D2C brand postcards.

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