Why Ecommerce Businesses Are Switching to Postcard Marketing

As an ecommerce business, you’re constantly inundated with offers to advertise. From social media advertising to local publications, there are endless opportunities for you to try something new. However, you’re also working with a limited marketing budget and you have to make every single dollar count. We get it—after all, we’re business owners ourselves!

That’s why we made PostPilot, a service designed to make postcard marketing attainable for ecommerce stores like yours and ours. Once we did, we started seeing business owners throughout the ecommerce industry try it out, then make it a regular component of their marketing initiatives. Check out these 5 reasons that ecommerce businesses like yours are switching to postcard marketing.

Reason #1: Postcard marketing maximizes on existing customers.

There’s a great scene in NBC’s The Office where the boss, Michael, asks his temp, Ryan, to quiz him on what he’s learning in business school. Ryan lobs him a softball question, “Is it cheaper to sign a new customer or to keep an existing customer?” Michael gets it wrong—his bumbling inadequacies are why we love him, after all—before Ryan points out that signing a new customer is exponentially more expensive.

Marketing to existing customers is smarter, cheaper, and more effective than trying to land a new one, and postcard marketing is one of the best ways to reach those customers. According to a recent infographic put forth by Nowsourcing for Direct Mail, the typical email campaign sees a response rate of 0.12%. Mailers to existing customers, on the other hand, have an average response rate of 3.4%. Direct mail’s response rate is a whopping 28 times that of your typical email campaign!

In other words, you’d have to send out approximately 2800 emails to get the same response you’d see from 100 mailers. As an ecommerce store, you can easily accumulate 100 contacts, but 2800 would take quite a while. Direct mail allows you to maximize the efficiency of your business’s established contact list, no matter how big or small it may be. 

Reason #2: Postcard marketing is “sticky.”

No, this don’t mean your mailer should be covered in an invisible super glue that binds your ad to your customer’s hand forever. When we say “sticky”, we’re referring to the way that direct mail seems to “stick” with a customer for far longer than the average email.

Nowsourcing for Direct Mail tells us that the average person receives 125 emails per day. No one has time to read that many emails, so what do they do? Delete. Delete. Delete. 

Take your own life for example. When do you check email? Are you trying to sort through your inbox quickly in the morning so that you can get started on your day? Are you scanning email titles quickly on your phone over lunch to see if you’ve missed anything urgent? If you’re like most people, you rarely check your email at a leisurely pace, and you can delete what you perceive as dozens of “junk emails” in a matter of seconds—or move them to your spam folder so the sender will never get through to you again. 

Of course, there is no spam filter for your actual mailbox, and the United States Postal Service tells us that 79% of households scan or read advertising mail. 

Again, think about your own routine with checking the mail. Perhaps you flip through the stack your spouse left on the kitchen table or read through each piece on a leisurely walk back from the mailbox. Wherever you are, you’re far less likely to be in a hurry, and your eyes welcome the break from staring at a screen all day. Your defenses are down, so you’re more likely to notice and absorb each message you’ve received.

If an offer catches your eye, what do you do? You keep it, maybe filing it in a kitchen drawer, sticking it on the refrigerator, or tucking it away in your wallet to be used later. On the other hand, if you don’t respond to an email offer right away, it’s going to be forgotten and buried below hundreds of other messages by the end of the day.

That’s what we mean when we say direct mail is “sticky”—it can stay in front of your customers for days and weeks, not just seconds.

Reason #3: Postcard marketing complements what you’re already doing.

One common marketing mistake ecommerce businesses make all the time is to have a “this or that” mentality. They believe that they have to choose between emails and direct mail when research shows that they would benefit most from embracing both. Nowsourcing for Direct Mail reports that customers spend 25% more when businesses combine digital and direct mail marketing. This is why large, nationwide companies haven’t stopped sending mail in the technological age. They know it works for them—and it will work for you, too.

To make the most of a multifaceted marketing strategy, your direct mail should reinforce the offers you make in your emails and vice versa. The more often you can put your name and offer in front of your customer, the more likely you are to break through the thousands of advertising messages they see and hear every day and catch their attention.

If you already send targeted emails to past customers by segmenting your list according to number of orders, time since last purchase, total amount spent, geographic location, etc., simply use the same segmentation to maximize the response rate on your direct mail campaign.

You can also apply the tests you run on email marketing and social media advertising campaigns to your postcard marketing. Split your segmented list into two groups to send two similar postcards and use discount codes to track which one performs best. As you test, refine, and repeat marketing campaigns over time, you’ll glean valuable information about your customers—information you can use not only in future direct mail campaigns, but also to sharpen your email, social media, and other advertising efforts as well.

Reason #4: Postcard marketing helps you save money by retaining customers.

One of the first rules of business is that it costs more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. Invesp reports that customer acquisition costs 5x more than customer retention—yet only 18% of companies focus more on retention than acquisition. Furthermore, the probability of making a sell to an existing customer is 60-70%, while you’ll only sell to a new prospect 5-20% of the time.

No matter how you look at it, your advertising strategy is most effective when you focus on those who have made the decision to purchase from you before, and postcard marketing is an ideal way to get those customers back in the door. If you see a surge in customers at certain times of the year—maybe they shop for new clothes when school starts back or buy more gifts closer to the holidays—you can use direct mail to draw them back with a compelling offer during your lulls. This is far cheaper and more effective than trying to drum up new business in slower seasons when fewer people are looking for new brands or products.

Reason #5: Postcard marketing lets you compete with the big guys.

Big retailers with massive marketing budgets have been capitalizing on the power of direct mail for years, but many ecommerce business owners have never even considered it as part of their marketing strategy. The research shows that direct mail works for ecommerce businesses, so why isn’t your competition already using it? 

The answer is simple. Before now, direct mail has been prohibitively expensive for small advertising budgets. Large direct mail companies have minimum job sizes and hefty set up fees, making even a test run a significant investment. On top of that, the company would have to pay an agency or freelancer to design the mailer in the first place. For small businesses who believe in making every dollar count, it just doesn’t make sense.

PostPilot is the first direct mail company designed to cater to ecommerce businesses and, more specifically, Shopify stores. With no minimum job size, no set up fee, free and easy-to-use mailer templates, and affordable prices, ecommerce businesses can finally discover the power of direct mail to boost their business. 

Because direct mail has only recently become attainable for most ecommerce businesses, there’s no better time to stand out from the competition. After all, your customers are used to receiving coupons from big names stores like Costco and Bed Bath & Beyond, but a personalized, targeted postcard from an ecommerce business is a fresh and interesting offer that’s sure to catch their eye.

Are you ready to get a leg up on your competitors who are still trying to stand out in overcrowded email inboxes? With PostPilot, you can start competing with big companies who have been using mailers to grow their profits for years.