Laird Superfood is Supercharging Retention With Postcard Campaigns

Laird Superfood knows the most valuable customers are the ones that come back again and again. But in recent years, it’s become harder and harder to engage this audience online. 

Digital advertising costs are up and privacy changes—especially Apple’s iOS 14 update—have made targeting less precise. Email, once a sure bet for reaching existing and prospective customers, is increasingly oversaturated. Inboxes are crowded with marketing blasts, and even loyal subscribers aren’t clicking through like they once were.

Laird needed to find a better channel for its remarketing communications. So the company turned to PostPilot to launch its first postcard campaign.

“It's a great solution in the face of rising ad costs on most platforms,” said Salem McLaughlin, senior e-commerce manager at Laird Superfood. “We're at a stage as a company where we really have to focus on profitability. I see direct mail as an integral part of that.”

In the seven years since it was founded by big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton, the company has expanded from a single product—​​its Original Superfood Creamer—to a comprehensive lineup of drinks, snacks, and supplements. It’s also built up a substantial customer list, so it has a valuable pool to tap into for retention and remarketing efforts.

In this case study, we’ll show how Laird Superfoods reconnected with some of its most valuable customers (some of whom hadn’t placed an order in more than a year), built awareness around its product range, and drove more than $250,000 in incremental revenue—all with easy-to-use postcard campaigns.

The Problem: Email Subscribers Have Tuned Out 

While “more is more” is a tempting approach for marketers, customers’ attention is a finite resource. Eventually, sending too many emails may do more harm than good.

“Because we have relied on emails so heavily to pull so much weight and we constantly bombard our base with emails, they've kind of tuned them out unless it's a really big sale,” said McLaughlin.

While open rates have remained high, click rates have been disappointing. A large number of people on the list were inactive. Deliverability was also an issue, so a significant share of recipients likely missed Laird’s emails altogether. 

Meanwhile, ad campaigns with Meta and Google — even ones retargeting existing customers — were growing increasingly expensive while providing just so-so results.

With the usual digital levers underperforming, Laird made a play for the mailbox instead.

 The Promise: A Campaign That Catches Customers’ Attention 

While an email can be deleted with just a swipe or a click, physical mail demands a much higher level of engagement. 

More than 90% of direct mail gets read, and response rates average 9%, according to Data & Marketing Association data. And email? Constant Contact puts the average open rate for retail messages at ~32% with <1%% clicking through to a link. (And that’s not factoring in all of the customers and prospects that unsubscribed or never subscribed in the first place.)

Laird wanted to inspire action with its postcards, so it took advantage of PostPilot’s comprehensive Campaign Concierge Service. With experts on hand to guide campaign strategy, segmentation, design, coupon codes, and more, the service makes sending effective postcards as seamless as possible. 

While Laird products can be found in Whole Foods stores and thousands of other retail doors around the country, direct-to-consumer sales still make up the bulk of its business, and the company wants to make sure that channel continues to thrive. 

“They're more likely to have a higher lifetime value,” McLaughlin said. “They're more likely to be more valuable from a gross margin perspective because once we have a customer in our system, we can remarket to them.”

The Postcard: Custom Creative and a Cross-Selling Opportunity  

Many customers discover Laird Superfoods through a single product. The postcards were also a chance to introduce the brand’s broader offerings at a glance. 

Along with eye-catching design and inspiring calls-to-action, each postcard featured imagery of three or more products. No matter their tastes, customers were encouraged to branch out and try something new. 

“I think that is part of what led to the success around the campaign,” McLaughlin said. “It's showcasing coffee and it's showcasing Instafuel and Hydrate and these different products that are maybe less known to somebody that is first coming into the brand.”

To sweeten the deal, the brand offered a 20% or 30% discount that customers wouldn’t find anywhere else — and included custom coupon codes for easy attribution.

PostPilot’s segmentation tools allowed the brand to customize its offers for each stage of the customer journey. With personalized messages, every recipient could be addressed by name.

The team at Laird could tell the postcards were working because sales started to roll in almost right away — and because one even landed in the COO’s mailbox. 

The Payoff: Real Results and Easy Automation

Laird knew it needed to re-engage repeat customers, so its first VIP winback campaign was an important test. 

The postcards went out to 18,000 customers who had purchased from the brand more than three times in the past—but hadn’t placed an order in three months to a year. 

Just looking at sales using the coupon code, the campaign generated more than $110,000 in revenue. That’s a 12.47x ROAS and only represents a fraction of sales generated by the campaign — customers often forget to use the code or find a different one instead. 

Even customers who hadn’t ordered from the brand in as much as two years were enticed back with postcards. At that stage, email offers and digital ads clearly weren’t bringing them back into the fold, and many companies might consider them gone for good. But what if they just weren’t being reached through the correct channel?

A still-ongoing campaign targeting this long-ago lapsed segment of VIPs has so far gone out to more than 6,000 customers. It has generated more than $25,000 in sales for a 5x ROAS. Given how long ago those customers lapsed, the sales are undeniably thanks to the campaign. 

With results like that, turning on automated campaigns was a no-brainer, McLaughlin said. The process is a hands-off way to drive ongoing sales and profits. Plus, because the mailing is triggered when a set amount of time elapses past a customer’s last order date, postcards reach inboxes at the most relevant moment.

“It makes it easier on our end. If something proved out once or twice, then why not keep it going?” he said. “We're always going to have these new potential customers or new potential win-backs.” 

The Postscript: Scaling a Subscription Business 

Looking ahead to the new year, Laird is planning to roll out a new promotional structure to incentivize subscriptions over one-time purchases — and it is going to lean on postcards to get the word out. 

January tends to be a strong month for the company, because so many people are setting goals around health and wellness. It’s an ideal time to pop into their mailboxes with a fresh offer. 

McLaughlin said he plans to use PostPilot’s tools to identify lapsed customers on the company’s email list. He will send them a postcard inviting them to come back into the fold with a subscribe-and-save discount.

“Obviously a lot of [what we've done so far] has performed well, but I still think there's even more of a chance to amplify our performance,” he said. 

The tactile, personalized appeal of direct mail has been resonating with Laird’s audience, and now, the team is focused on finding new opportunities to leverage the channel.

“I'm looking at scaling our budget around it next year because it's proven successful,” said McLaughlin. “I think there's still a lot we can do to reach even more audiences.”

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