Latest from Contracting Business Success

Silver Bullet Price Page Inc.
Photo 20169909 © Vladischern | Dreamstime.com
Photo 47091378 © Vvoevale Dreamstime.com
ID 115236686 © Cineberg Ug | Dreamstime.com
Boonyakiat Chaloemchavalid / iStock / GettyImages
Thinglass/iStock/GettyImagesPlus
Direct Mailers 5f49025e6d91b

Direct Mail is Not Dead

Aug. 28, 2020
Your HVACR business can still get impressive response rates from postcards.

No matter what anyone says, direct mail works to get customers back to your contracting business.

Although email is less expensive to send, it’s typically only opened 20 percent to 30 percent of the time. Postcards are seen nearly 100 percent of the time, even if only on its way to the trash. 

More importantly, response rates to marketing material sent to existing customers as measured by the Data and Marketing Association, average 0.12% for email and 5.3% for postcards – over a 40 times higher response rate with postcards.

Why Market to Existing Customers?
The longer it’s been since a customer has seen you, the less likely they are to remember your business.

Test it for yourself: look back at the customers you did work for five-seven years ago. Is it likely that all of them have needed the service you provide since then? What percentage of them have you done work for since? You can cost-effectively improve that percentage by marketing to them. 

Look back at the customers you did work for five to seven years ago. Is it likely that all of them have needed the service you provide since then? What percentage of them have you done work for since?        

Building Your Send Lists
Before sending postcards, some work has to be done on building the list. The best place to begin is your accounting or invoicing system. Typically, that software has the name and billing address of your customers. Export the name, address, and last transaction date of your customers. Split that list up into several smaller lists based on how many years it has been since their last transaction. 

How Often to Send
Here’s where you really start to see cost-savings and increased ROI: Send postcards less and less frequently to your customers based on how long it has been since they last did business with you. Someone you haven’t seen for four years is less likely to do business with you than a customer who did business with you two years ago. Put your money (i.e. postcards) toward those customers with the better ROI potential.

What to Include on Your Postcard
Although it may be tempting to begin the process with what is on the postcards being sent, this step is likely to be the least important factor in your success. Spend most of your efforts preparing your list, and thinking through the messages and offers you want to send based on transaction date. 

Put your money (i.e. postcards) toward those customers with the better ROI potential.

Be sure to include an eye-catching image on the front of a postcard. In selecting images, there are many free or low-cost online services for “stock photos”. Pictures of smiling families are a great choice!

With most professional printing shops, you can include personalized text, such as the customer’s name, when they last did business with you, etc. In addition, consider including a couple of great reviews to build credibility.

Don't Write Off Email Completely
Email can still be an effective tool when used in conjunction with your postcards. Send a follow up email a few days after you think the post cards will arrive in your customers mailboxes.

Studies have shown that repeated exposures in a short period of time significantly increases “brand recall” among consumers. 

Tess Srebro serves as Senior Marketing Manager for Customer Lobby, a company makes it effortless for contractors to engage with their customers. Learn more at CustomerLobby.com.

About the Author

Tess Srebro | Senior Marketing Manager

Tess Srebro is senior marketing manager for Customer Lobby. Customer Lobby is a fast-growing company dedicated to helping small businesses succeed through the use of customer retention solutions.