Right Message, Right Time: The Key to Successful Postcard Marketing

If you're an online retailer, you're likely feeling the constant pressure of increased competition and rising digital advertising and customer acquisition costs.

In fact, many retailers aren't profitable on their first order. 

That's why it's more crucial than ever to maximize lifetime customer value.

Postcard marketing—with an average response rate 28 times that of the typical email campaign—gives ecommerce businesses and edge to keep customers longer and get them to buy more, stay competitive, and stand out when digital marketing is increasingly saturated.

To do all of this cost effectively, targeting the right audience with the right offer is critical.

Read on to learn why knowing and speaking to your audience is key to a successful campaign.

The Problem with Direct Mail Blasts

It may be tempting to start with a general offer and blast it to everyone on your customer list—but that's a mistake.

Think of your direct mail campaign like a pay-per-click campaign. Casting too wide of a net results in wasted spend if you're paying to get your message in front of an audience that is only remotely interested. These generic, impersonal ads fail to truly engage readers or motivate action. 

Fortunately, there’s a far better way to conduct a postcard marketing campaign—one that’s more strategic, cost-efficient, and effective—and it starts with knowing your audience.

Knowing Your Audience

The first step in any successful marketing campaign is knowing your audience, and postcard marketing is no exception. With a clearly defined audience, you can craft a message that speaks to them in a more personal way, increasing the likelihood of getting the desired response.

You may already have a basic customer profile that covers demographic information like gender, age range, or general interests. 

However, Shopify makes it easy for stores to tap into additional geographical and transactional details such as how much time has passed since their last purchase, the products they've purchased, or the total amount they’ve spent in your store. 

This practice of dividing up your list into groupings of similar customers is called “segmentation.” After you segment your list according to customers’ buying habits, you can create targeted campaigns that maximize your ROI. 

Speaking to Your Audience

Once you define who your audience is by segmenting your customer list, you can tailor your campaign to the recipients’ shared experiences or interests. 

For example, you could send an announcement for a new item similar something your segment has purchased in the past, or offer a special incentive to customers who haven’t bought anything in a certain period of time. 

By sending mailers to smaller groups of relevant prospects, you’ll cut the cost of your campaign and improve the rate of response. Like PPC campaigns, these strategically segmented campaigns can result in much greater return on ad spend.

7 Creative Ideas for Segmenting Your Customer List

There's no limit to how many segments you can create, so just like email or PPC, continuously test new audiences and offers. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are 7 creative ways to segment your customer list and improve your ROI.

  1. Number of Orders — Customers who have already made multiple purchases with you are more likely to spend more money in your ecommerce store than cold leads or even those who have only made a single purchase. Maximize your ROI by sending mailers to your brand’s loyal customers.

  2. Time Since Last Purchase — Recent customers are more likely to make additional purchases than those who haven’t bought anything from you in over a year, so consider targeting recent customers with your next postcard. Alternatively, you can also launch a campaign to say, “We’ve missed you,” with a special offer for customers you haven’t seen in a long time.

  3. Amount Spent — Track total spending for each customer, then boost your advertising ROI by focusing on those with a proven track record of shopping in your ecommerce store. Offer incentives to nudge customers into the next spending bracket and increase your total profits.

  4. Product Purchased — Personalize postcard marketing campaigns to encourage customers to buy more of what they’ve already enjoyed or to suggest related products. Use what you know about your customers to present an offer that is sure to get their attention.

  5. Loyalty Program Members — If you have a loyalty program, postcard marketing is a great way to show your appreciation and keep valuable customer relationships strong. Mail a special offer to thank VIP customers and invite them back for more.

  6. Location — If you have physical locations (or you sell through retail stores), use zip codes to target those who would be most interested in attending a special event in-person.

  7. Place in the Buyer’s Journey — If you sell products or services that require a big investment, it can take prospects some time before they decide to purchase from you. In the beginning of their buyer’s journey, you can use postcards to build awareness about your brand. When they’re ready to purchase, a well-timed postcard can encourage them to choose you over your competitors. If you track where leads are in the buyer’s journey, you can send targeted postcards to answer their questions or extend a special offer, increasing the likelihood they choose you when they’re ready to buy.

PostPilot provides many Use what you already know about your customers to segment your list, target your postcard marketing campaign, and maximize your ROI.

Pro Tip: Personalization


Segmenting is a great way to shape the general offer or message of your postcard to suit your audience. You can take this a step further with PostPilot’s 1-1 personalization.

People instinctively love to see their own name in print. With a merge field, you can add the customer's name prominently in the copy to increase your chances of capturing their attention and getting them to read the entire message.

Both segmentation and personalization are about connecting with your customers, which leads to better response rates and ultimately, greater ROI. Once you know your audience and have a compelling, relevant message, you’re ready to design a postcard that sells. 

To see how easy it can be to segment your list and boost profitability and retention, try PostPilot for free today.