As a thank you to all BAMF followers, subscribers, and well-wishers, I wrote this post. I’ve sent 100ks+ of postcards and here’s everything I know about postcard marketing or direct marketing.
Isn’t Direct Mail Dead, you serious about postcard marketing?
The reason direct mail works is because so many marketers think that way, it works -because- it’s underutilized.
When and where to use it:
Direct mail is generally a good idea for businesses that have $, have optimized their free channels, know their customers super well, and are past product/market fit, or where LTV is really high. Think e-commerce or real estate. It is also a good way to reach people in a specific area, folks who are offline or inundated with digital advertising. Direct mail is harder to do outside the US (privacy laws for lists, technology, ~2x more expensive, etc).
Expect a 1-3% conversion rate on a campaign executed flawlessly with my tips. Best I’ve ever seen is 10% after >$1M in spend and over 10+ designs, optimized as they learned. Per-postcard personalization helps a lot.
The best postcard campaigns are sent to targeted audiences, people that already know your brand.
After that, targeted purchased lists are good. Generally, avoid sending EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) to entire carrier routes… which is a good deal cheaper, but not as targeted. Time spent on your list is well spent.
Ready for all my postcard knowledge, distilled into 1 page?
Head into a room. Leave your phone behind. Read for 25 minutes. I have chosen every word and link carefully. Ready? If so… go…
First, Design a Great Card.
- From companies like Amazon, Chase, Sprig, Jet.com, State Farm, DoorDash, Gap, Verizon, etc.
- Design tips :(1) For postcard sizes, send 6×9 cards or 6×11, 4×6 doesn’t convert as well. (2) Use images from unsplash.com if you don’t have a great image. Use nounproject.com for your icons. (3) Your headline should be 3-5 words only, no more. EDIT IT! Again! (4) Have a crazy good offer (30-40%+), make it expire. After the headline, make the offer most visible.
- If you can, personalize it. First names, maps unique to each card with nearby customers, related products, etc.
Add in tracking:
- We use the com API to provide unique forwarding phone numbers for each campaign to use caller-ID attribution, cheaper + better than Twilio. A free Google Voice number will do, too.
- Use a URL forwarder. Even just bit.ly. If you want, get fancy and get a unique URL for every card to track top of funnel, then follow up with emails. Unique QR codes, work too.
- com also offers delivery API calls. Use them, check organic traffic when cards are delivered. You can do QR codes or even in-person redemptions if you have a brick and mortar.
Second, Build a Targeted List.
You can target by tons of criteria:
- Target Consumers, Businesses, or Homes/Other.
- Target folks on the web, e.g. LinkedIn with an outsourcer.
- You only buy a list AFTER you design a card. Lists go stale, so send fast!
Combine direct mail with email.
Validate and clean your list:
- com has a free address validator API.
- com is a way to auto-clean lists if you didn’t buy them from the folks above.
Finally, Send and Measure it.
Pick a printer:
- If you aren’t doing personalization or per-postcard tracking, don’t use Lob.com.
- For sending >100k, use an offset printer. You can’t do much personalization at that volume without spending a lot. Try smaller campaigns first to optimize your message.
Measure your results:
- Generally, results come in 1-4 days after cards are in boxes.
- Based on conversions, do retarget. Same neighborhood. Same demographics. You can also do browser->address attribution (yea, right!!). Refer barometric.com
(A) Appendix: Consumer Targeting Options:
(B) Appendix: Business Targeting Options:
(C) Appendix: Property, New Mover, Speciality Data:
(D) Appendix: Postcard Statistics:
Houston is the Founder & CEO of BAMF Media, where he’s led the company from 0-30+ full-time employees and $0 to $3.5M in annual revenue in its first year. At BAMF, we drive ROI for recently funded startups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies alike using cutting-edge marketing and growth hacking tactics. Houston has led growth teams and marketing campaigns for companies, including Pioneer, Volcom, Love Your Melon, Compass, Coldwell Banker, Mindvalley, Automobili Pininfarina, Unicorn Snot, Foursixty, TEDx, and many more. He’s a growth hacker with years of startup experience on all sides of the table: strategy, engineering, sales, marketing, fundraising, and scaling operations.