Postcard Mailing Questions

22 replies
I recently started a mailing campaign.
We are mailing 1000 people - six times - a month apart.

The first mailing went out 4 weeks ago.

How long does it take to get a response?

So far the only thing we have is 10 returns from bad addresses/vacant apartments.

We are running the campaign via Postcard Mania.
#mailing #postcard #questions
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by davidreese View Post

    I recently started a mailing campaign.
    We are mailing 1000 people - six times - a month apart.

    The first mailing went out 4 weeks ago.

    How long does it take to get a response?

    So far the only thing we have is 10 returns from bad addresses/vacant apartments.

    We are running the campaign via Postcard Mania.
    Are you mailing a 1000 cards a month to the same people? OR, are you mailing 1000 cards a month to different people?

    This would help, so we can best offer our experiences, OK?

    GordonJ

    PS. After 4 weeks, and of course this depends, but, you have probably rec'd all the response you are going to get.

    So, if it is a sequence mailing, to the same people, it may take several cards to get your response, that is the reason for a sequence.
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  • Profile picture of the author davidreese
    the same people each time.
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    David Alger
    Thumbtack Bugle We Get the Word Out

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  • Profile picture of the author animal44
    It depends.
    What is the motivation to respond...?
    Do you have a compelling offer or are you just announcing that you exist?
    If you've had no response after four weeks, I'd speculate you don't have a compelling offer and you'd be wasting your money sending more cards...
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by davidreese View Post

    I recently started a mailing campaign.
    We are mailing 1000 people - six times - a month apart.

    The first mailing went out 4 weeks ago.

    How long does it take to get a response?

    So far the only thing we have is 10 returns from bad addresses/vacant apartments.

    We are running the campaign via Postcard Mania.
    At four weeks you've got almost all the responses you are going to get.

    The bad news is that normally you get declining response from each additional mailing.

    In other words, if the mailing is the same..to the same list...you get the best response from the first mailing.

    The way to change that is to change the offer, the appeal, the price, the headline....

    Repeated mailings give you the opportunity to discover what doesn't work, and the chances at bat to figure out what does.
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  • Profile picture of the author myob
    For a list of 1,000 try more points of contact than just postcards. For example, realtors refer to this as "farming". Sending email, making phone calls, and even door-knocking regularly between mailings will help clean and qualify the list faster, and may provide opportunities for obtaining referrals. I assume your list is targeted for your offer.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by davidreese View Post

    I recently started a mailing campaign.
    We are mailing 1000 people - six times - a month apart.

    The first mailing went out 4 weeks ago.

    How long does it take to get a response?

    So far the only thing we have is 10 returns from bad addresses/vacant apartments.

    We are running the campaign via Postcard Mania.
    Is the postcard going for the sale, or is it trying to start a relationship (which hopefully leads to a sale down the line)? Makes a difference.

    Saturation or targeted mailing? Makes a difference.

    What's the niche?

    Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    Claude is spot on about what you can expect from
    repeat mailing to same list.

    Best,
    Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author eccj
    I'd say you'd be mighty lucky to get a response at this point considering you sent it 1st class.

    When I was doing 1,000 a week with reply envelopes, about 1 in 20 leads would come in 3-4 weeks later than the others which all came in a one or two day period. These mailings were in tight geographical areas so I could run multiple appointments.

    Every so often I would get a return envelope in the mail from a mailing months old. This was life insurance so that either meant they just found out they were going to die or they were crazy people.

    I have no idea what you are doing here but the mail is a painful medium because unlike other mediums it makes it 100% clear when something isn't working.

    I've been down the 0.0% response rate more than once and it always hurts a little.

    Now I ask questions, poke holes, sleep on it, poke some more holes, ask others to poke holes, try to address those holes, do research in person, on the phone, online, etc before I do anything.

    I have a couple nuts I am trying to crack right now.

    Mail costs money and nothing sharpens the mind like spending money.
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  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    You've started a 6 month mailing campaign so the question to ask yourself is this...

    Does my first mailing request a response?

    If the response is based on 'getting your info out there' and
    you're hoping that the responses will grow as the campaign
    goes on you've made a fatal error I'm afraid.

    If mailing No. 1 got no response it is very very unlikely that any
    subsequent response will beat mailing one.

    If on the other hand the mailing is designed to build up momentum
    to a set 'launch' date then you wouldn't expect responses from mailing No. 1.

    Unfortunately your original question points your campaign looking for
    responses from the get go. Based on little or no response up to now
    your campaign isn't going to work.

    I'm just paraphrasing the replies of others in the hope that it will help
    you and others in future.

    If mailing No. 1 got no responses then neither will the others, assuming they are the same postcard.
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    Making Calls To Sell Something? What are you actually saying?
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Here's another question for you to ponder...

    How easy did you make it for people to respond?

    For example, my wife likes to enter online sweeps while she watches TV. Some of the sweeps are set up to filter for specific types of leads, usually by asking people to text something (and in doing so, give permission for SMS marketing). There is usually a secondary method of entry, often filling out a physical postcard and mailing it.

    So, are you making things easy or difficult? Visit a website? Scan a QR code? Make a phone call? Or fill out a form and mail it back, and if so do you provide a prepaid, pre-addressed reply card?

    Unless your postcard offer really lights a fire, people are going to be lazy. Make it easy enough, and they'll respond. Make it more trouble than it's worth, and people won't bother.
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  • Profile picture of the author davidreese
    They could call us call us, email us or visit the web site.
    I set up a phone # just for the campaign. Got 0 phone calls.
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    David Alger
    Thumbtack Bugle We Get the Word Out

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  • Profile picture of the author davidreese
    We offered $25 off our classes that were starting within a few weeks of the mailing.
    We had a decent enrollment but nobody mentioned the cards or asked for the discount.

    All of the recent sign-ups came from Google, word or month and referral. We hit 85% of class capacity.
    I had hoped the postcards would have helped us hit capacity.
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    David Alger
    Thumbtack Bugle We Get the Word Out

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    • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
      Originally Posted by davidreese View Post

      We offered $25 off our classes that were starting within a few weeks of the mailing.
      We had a decent enrollment but nobody mentioned the cards or asked for the discount.

      All of the recent sign-ups came from Google, word or month and referral. We hit 85% of class capacity.
      I had hoped the postcards would have helped us hit capacity.
      We, of course, have no idea what this was for, but from what you have told us, you might want to consider canceling the future mailings and put that money into Google.

      You apparently offer classes of some sort, and looks like they are regularly scheduled several times a year. 85% of your registrants came from Google. 0 that is ZERO from 1,000 cards mailed.

      And you are going to mail the same people the same card? Seriously, how many people need to take the discount to pay for your postcard campaign?

      There are several factors for the failure, we can only guess...but educated guessing says your cards were either not sent to the right people OR you had a weak, in fact terrible message to these people.

      When you have that kind of dismal results, you can almost bet one of those two things came into play.

      WRONG PEOPLE at wrong time.
      OR
      WRONG MESSAGE, a poorly crafted postcard for the INTENT.

      You must begin every postcard with INTENT. What you expect it to do. You expected butts in chairs for your classes, your results tell you your stimulus was ineffective.

      Hope you haven't committed to mailing more.

      GordonJ

      PS If this was for your school of copywriting, then you need to talk to the instructors of your 360 degree copywriting bootcamp. It is sad to see a school that teaches copywriting, do so poorly in the marketplace, don't you think David?
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by davidreese View Post

      We offered $25 off our classes that were starting within a few weeks of the mailing.
      We had a decent enrollment but nobody mentioned the cards or asked for the discount.

      All of the recent sign-ups came from Google, word or month and referral. We hit 85% of class capacity.
      I had hoped the postcards would have helped us hit capacity.
      You need to reverse engineer your KNOWN data - from the people that attended ( and we hope you have data like address etc ) and then compare that to the list you have sent to. Is there any kind of overlap? or were the cards out of reach to those that attended?

      IF you find there was over lap.. ( you can then strongly think the card itself is to blame )how different is the message on the cards from your online / google message?

      When you say you have the URL of the site on the card.. are you dropping themto a lander.. or the home site? Can you look at your site data and determine how many of the online signups were " Direct " traffic?

      Data is your friend.. take all the data you have and you should be able to identify where things fell short.

      Hope that Helps
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      Success is an ACT not an idea
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    • Profile picture of the author animal44
      Originally Posted by davidreese View Post

      We offered $25 off our classes that were starting within a few weeks of the mailing.
      We had a decent enrollment but nobody mentioned the cards or asked for the discount.

      All of the recent sign-ups came from Google, word or month and referral. We hit 85% of class capacity.
      I had hoped the postcards would have helped us hit capacity.
      I don't think anyone buys purely on the basis of a discount...
      Perhaps offer your discount to existing customers, for their friends. i.e. $25 discount for anyone you refer. And maybe a surprise gift for those making referrals.

      I seem to remember Improv is used by mental health charities to assist their "clients". (Yes, that's what they call them, at least where my wife used to volunteer). Maybe talking to a few mental health charities and a little "community marketing". Offer them spare capacity at a big discount? Followed by an incentive to refer?

      Or focus on building confidence. Most people want more confidence... I suspect that angle might get at least a few enquiries...
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by davidreese View Post

    They could call us call us, email us or visit the web site.
    I set up a phone # just for the campaign. Got 0 phone calls.
    Okay, so ease of response wasn't the issue.

    Which goes back to either the wrong people getting the message, the wrong message (weak copy) or both.

    Since you filled 85% of your class, my guess is that your mailing list is to blame. I would connect with a good list broker before wasting more money on sending postcards.
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  • Profile picture of the author eccj
    It's got to be hard to sell a paid in person class from just a postcard.
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by eccj View Post

      It's got to be hard to sell a paid in person class from just a postcard.
      Ever get your local community college course listings in the mail? same thing just a few more classes LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author davidreese
    it is for an improv class. We do well with posters and wanted to expand our way of reaching local people.
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    David Alger
    Thumbtack Bugle We Get the Word Out

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    • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
      Originally Posted by davidreese View Post

      it is for an improv class. We do well with posters and wanted to expand our way of reaching local people.
      This may not be of any use, but that never stops me. We know what the event is but not who the target market was/is for future mailngs.

      If you can test this, it may (or may not) produce results. My daughter teaches Improv in NYC. The company she works with targets Wall St. Executives. They have a couple of different Improv tracks.

      One is dealing with the media when your company (or department) gets negative media attenion...think FACEBOOK and Zuckerberg. They fill their classes because so many financial people, the younger ones, lack soft skills, aren't good with people or presentations.

      I would assume Silicon Valley has an even worse problem, Great Geeks with computers, not so great people or presentation skills. An Improv class TARGETED just to them, might be a worthwhile test.

      Then you've also have a new class of politicians; many women running who have no prior skills, but if you offered a women's Improv class for them, especially when dealing with the Male Press (who still ask ridiculous questions of women they wouldn't ask a man) it might be surprising who attends..

      The point is, maybe in addition to a general Improv class you can create some very specific ones targeted to niche groups.

      Some other niches could be

      An Improv DATE night, where all singles attend to learn some dating improv.

      Or Comedians only, or business owners who may have to do presentations, or to whole groups, like Chamber of Commerce, BBB, AARP, for Seniors who want to get involved.

      Then, if you want to use a postcard in addition to your flyers, which could also be very targeted, lots of college students in your areas...so you refine your classes, probably very minor tweaks, to reach a larger audience, but much more targeted niches within it.

      Just some ideas. Good luck with your classes. Thanks for letting us know more.

      GordonJ
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      • Profile picture of the author eccj
        Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

        This may not be of any use, but that never stops me. We know what the event is but not who the target market was/is for future mailngs.

        If you can test this, it may (or may not) produce results. My daughter teaches Improv in NYC. The company she works with targets Wall St. Executives. They have a couple of different Improv tracks.

        One is dealing with the media when your company (or department) gets negative media attenion...think FACEBOOK and Zuckerberg. They fill their classes because so many financial people, the younger ones, lack soft skills, aren't good with people or presentations.

        I would assume Silicon Valley has an even worse problem, Great Geeks with computers, not so great people or presentation skills. An Improv class TARGETED just to them, might be a worthwhile test.

        Then you've also have a new class of politicians; many women running who have no prior skills, but if you offered a women's Improv class for them, especially when dealing with the Male Press (who still ask ridiculous questions of women they wouldn't ask a man) it might be surprising who attends..

        The point is, maybe in addition to a general Improv class you can create some very specific ones targeted to niche groups.

        Some other niches could be

        An Improv DATE night, where all singles attend to learn some dating improv.

        Or Comedians only, or business owners who may have to do presentations, or to whole groups, like Chamber of Commerce, BBB, AARP, for Seniors who want to get involved.

        Then, if you want to use a postcard in addition to your flyers, which could also be very targeted, lots of college students in your areas...so you refine your classes, probably very minor tweaks, to reach a larger audience, but much more targeted niches within it.

        Just some ideas. Good luck with your classes. Thanks for letting us know more.

        GordonJ
        I'll add people who belong to Toast Masters.

        and a short tribute to Caples - "They Laughed When I Signed Up For Improve But When I Started To Add Lib!"
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    • Profile picture of the author SARubin
      Originally Posted by davidreese View Post

      All of the recent sign-ups came from Google, word or month and referral. We hit 85% of class capacity.
      I had hoped the postcards would have helped us hit capacity.
      Originally Posted by davidreese View Post

      it is for an improv class. We do well with posters and wanted to expand our way of reaching local people.

      OK, a couple of smart people here, have already touch on this "obvious" fact. But I'm gonna just come right out and say it...


      If these few things you've tried, have filled your class to 85% capacity... then why don't you just put your efforts towards more of the things that are already working?

      * Put more promotions towards Google (SEO, PPC... or whatever worked?)

      * Entice more people to refer your class to others (offer an ethical bribe for referrals, bring a friend for 1/2 price, maybe a BOGO offer?)

      * Print more posters, and put them up in more places?


      I mean, if these are the things that are working... and you just want more butts in the seats... then why not do more of the things that are working?


      Unless this postcard thing is just a marketing experiment for you, to see if it produces results?

      In which case, you're learning about response rates, and how to measure ROI.
      And now you can test something else, to see how that works. So you can gain experience? (I guess education is always a good thing)



      Also, just out of curiosity... What ever happened to the direct mail piece you were going to try a few months ago? (the one with the one Yen coin)

      I thought that sounded like a great idea.

      A postcard mailer is something most people see everyday (just before they toss it in the trash) But a Japanese coin is something most American people "don't" see everyday (which makes it a curiosity, and an attention grabber)

      So, whatever happened to that idea?
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      If you're spending time and money on advertising, but not getting the results you want to see... I can help you fix that. SARubin - Conversion Flow Specialist

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