Be honest: do you know the first step of successful postcard marketing?

I’ll give you a moment to finalize your answer.

Know your audience!

You knew that, right? If so, good job! (By the way, that actually goes for ANY type of marketing.)

But did you know that there are actually three separate groups you should be targeting? Yep, THREE.

Let me tell you exactly what each of those three groups should be…

They are:

  1. Your house customer list
    This group should be your first priority. These are people who have already made a purchase from you — which makes them likely to do so again.
  2. Your house prospect list
    These people have inquired about your product or service, but have not yet made a purchase. They already have shown some interest in you and are that much closer to becoming customers than people who have never heard of you.
  3. Your targeted mailing list
    These are people who are likely to be interested in your product or service but have never inquired about your business. They probably don’t even know you exist — yet!

It’s important to understand the needs of these three different groups so you can craft the perfect message for each.

Today I’m going to talk about how to deliver the appropriate marketing message to your current customers (I’ll talk about reaching the other two groups in future posts).

Ready? Let’s get to it.

I always say:

Don’t create a sale; create a relationship.

It costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep one (Bain & Company). You’ve already worked hard to earn your customers — you should be doing everything possible to keep them!

There are three rules when marketing to your current customers.

Rule 1: Collect all of their information — or risk losing them!

It always surprises me how many companies fail to do this! To me, it’s a no-brainer.

Ask for your customers’ contact information — their name, address, phone number and email address. Everyone has an email address, and if you’re completely honest with people, they usually don’t have a problem sharing it. (Getting their phone number is harder — but you should still ASK.)

Email is an efficient (and cheap!) way to keep in touch with your customer base to let them know when you’re running your next special or when they’re due for service.

And 70% of people say they always open emails from their favorite companies (ExactTarget), so if you’ve already established yourself as a trustworthy business, you don’t have to worry about being marked as SPAM.

Rule 2: Don’t offend your customers by treating them like prospects.

Make sure you differentiate in your database between people who have actually spent money with you and people who haven’t.

A customer relationship management (CRM) system should allow you to easily differentiate between customers and prospects. A CRM manages and organizes all communication between your business and customers — orders, inquiries, etc. — so that anyone in your organization can quickly see what interaction you’ve had with that person.

When you communicate with your customers, it’s important that you speak to them like customers. They have given you their trust and money — treat them appropriately!

Your customers want to feel appreciated. If they get a postcard from you that offers “10% off for first-time buyers,” it makes you look bad! It looks like you don’t know who your customers are, or worse — like you don’t care.

Rule 3: Don’t lose their interest by letting your promotions get too stagnant.

Your customers WANT to get mail from you — according to Epsilon, 73% of consumers said they prefer direct mail for brand communications because they can read the information at their convenience.

But sending them the exact same mail piece over and over again is … not ideal. It’s okay for a little while, but eventually they will lose interest.

Don’t get me wrong:

It’s better for you to send the same design forever rather than stop mailing because you’re struggling to come up with a new design. Staying in front of your customers is the most important thing.

But if you can change it up now and then, all the better!

You want to keep the same branding (the same color scheme and general feel), but tweak the message, change the photo, etc. — do something to make it FRESH.

For example, if you’ve recently started offering a new product or service, make that your new message!

Which leads me to…

Information = Profits

Educate your customers on your products and services. Do they know that you’re open 24 hours? Do they know that in addition to lawn care services, you also sell lawn-care products?

Tell them!

It’s as easy as sending out regular promotion telling them about ALL the things that you can do for them.

Here’s a great example of what I’m talking about:

White Glove Cleaning, a Minnesota-based home cleaning company, sends out a postcard at the beginning of every season to their 4,000 customers advertising the services they offer that apply to that season.

Like this:

Winter: Dirty carpets can harbor germs that cause flu-like symptoms.

Autumn: Clean those carpets after a summer of kids running over them with dirty feet!

Spring: Reduce allergy symptoms by cleaning your vents and carpeting.

They keep the same general feel and color scheme to their postcard designs, with their logo prominently displayed on both sides.

This keeps them top-of-mind with their customers and helps build brand loyalty.

Which is important because:

Each year, you lose 14% of your customer base (!

It’s not that you’ve done anything wrong — sometimes it’s just because your customer forgot who they used last time, they’ve moved away or they received a special offer from a competitor.

People want to do whatever makes their lives easier. If they receive frequent updates about what services YOU can provide, they’ll have no need to shop around.

Remember: Being wonderful isn’t always enough to keep your customers coming back. Especially in super competitive industries, you need to constantly remind your customers about what YOU can do for THEM!

Stay tuned for posts about marketing to your house prospect list and your targeted list!

In the meantime, call our marketing consultants at 800-628-1804 for help marketing to your customer database — or anything at all. It’s always FREE. Or you can email me directly at



*This article is adapted from my new book, Postcard Marketing in an Online World. Click here to read it.