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Does combining postcards with digital ads really make a difference?

I’ve known the real truth about direct mail since I started PostcardMania in 1998 — namely, that it works!

And…the past two decades have only proven that point since I’ve witnessed thousands of our clients achieve REAL marketing results by mailing postcards to their prospects and customers. I’m proud to say that in 2023, we hit our highest-ever revenue record at $104.6 million.

But what about digital ads? Should you do them alone, or direct mail alone, or combine both?

I decided to look through those thousands of successful campaigns to compare apples to apples — aka compare similar direct-mail-only campaigns to direct mail + digital campaigns.

The results were eye-opening! Read on to see what we discovered…

Let’s go backwards for a second…

Back in 2011, I realized that with the growth of social media and the expansion of digital advertising, it was time to adapt.

I never anticipated that PostcardMania would only sell postcards and postcards alone forever; I knew we’d have to make adjustments if necessary along the way.

My number-one goal was — and will always be —helping small business owners achieve success, and if postcards alone couldn’t get them there, then we’d have to change.

(Of course, that was not the case and is still not the case now, but we have expanded our products immensely to meet the needs of our clients and give them the very best marketing possible.)

We launched digital products in 2012 and, after years of tweaking and perfecting the formula, Everywhere Small Business was born.

This is how our system, Everywhere Small Business, works:

STEP 1: The mail pieces are sent to your target audience — this could be a certain type of resident in your area or a current list of your customers.

STEP 2: The mail pieces are tracked using a barcode technology system.

STEP 3: As your postcards are processed by the post office and start arriving in homes, digital ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Gmail appear in the feeds of your prospects and customers. Additionally, every recipient who visits your website because they received your postcard and became interested is funneled into an automatic follow-up system where they’ll also start to see your digital ads.

Your digital ads match the design on the mailer to create an amplifying effect where your business looks like it’s everywhere (hence the name) and increases the likelihood that prospects will identify and remember your business. The digital ads continue being displayed to your prospects as long as you’re subscribed — some clients continue their digital ads years after mailing as they still bring in customers!

STEP 4: Clicks, calls, QR code scans, and responses are tracked along with ad impressions (aka how many times someone has seen your ad) on your own personal campaign response portal that’s updated in real-time and available 24/7 online.

After years of offering Everywhere Small Business and tracking the performance of thousands of these campaigns and the millions of impressions their digital ads have made:

We have a sizeable selection of integrated marketing campaigns that combine both direct mail and digital advertising that we can use to compare against direct mail-only campaigns.

And I’m here to not only tell you but SHOW you that combining direct mail with digital ads works.

Below I have side-by-side comparisons of clients that only did direct mail and clients that did both direct mail and digital ads with an Everywhere Small Business campaign.

Keep in mind that the direct mail marketing campaigns I list (without digital ads) STILL had impressive returns on investment. But if you were given the choice to make a little profit or a LOT of profit, it’s a no-brainer. You would choose the method that brings in the most revenue possible.

Take a look at our success stories and you’ll see what I mean:

Wimberly Roofing

Successful Roofing Postcard

 

Postcards: 6,000

Responses: 16 people, 12 conversions

Revenue: $24,000

Wimberly Roofing mailed 6,000 roofing postcards to homeowners in their local area and received 16 responses from this campaign, leading to $24,000 in revenue.

Let’s compare a similar postcard campaign but with digital ads….

Red Stick Roofing

Successful Roofing Postcard

 

Google Ad

Successful Roofing Google Ad

 

Instagram Ad

Successful Roofing Instragram Ad

 

Postcards: 4,869

Responses: 20 people, 7 jobs

Revenue: $70,000

Google Ads: over 308,000 displays / 2,269 clicks

Instagram Ads: over 39,000 displays / 347 clicks

Red Stick Roofing mailed a similar amount of postcards as Wimberly Roofing but they also ran digital ads on Google and Instagram while their mailer hit mailboxes. As a result, they heard from 20 people and made $70,000!

That’s a difference of $46,000 compared to the standard direct mail campaign.

Here’s another example from the pool services industry:

Trinity Pool Management

Successful Pool Service Postcard

 

Postcards: 2,000

Responses: 10 people

Revenue: $10,000

Trinity Pool Management mailed 2,000 postcards to local homeowners that had a pool. In response, they heard back from 10 people and generated $10,000 in revenue.

Now let’s compare this to a similar campaign:

Blue River Pool & Spa

Successful Pool Service Postcard

 

Google Ad

Successful Pool Service Google Ad

 

Postcards: 2,000

Responses: 10 people

Revenue: $20,000

Google Ad: 1,588 displays / 22 clicks

Blue River Pool & Spa mailed 2,000 postcards to single-family homeowners with pools and they gained 10 new customers and made $20,000! So just by adding the Google ads, their results doubled. Blue River Pool & Spa made $10,000 more than Trinity Pool Management.

I’m confused… these are the same results as without

Everywhere Small Business isn’t our only product that combines direct mail with digital; DirectMail2.0 also offers an integrated marketing campaign that combines Google ads with postcards. The side-by-side comparison below shows 2 dental campaigns but one of them is DirectMail2.0.

Blaine & Birch Bay Family Dentistry

Successful Dental Services Postcard

 

Postcards: 96,000

Responses: 200

Revenue: $120,000

Blaine & Birch Bay Family Dentistry mailed a total of 96,000 postcards, sending out about 2,000 postcards every week. They targeted residents in the local area who had median incomes of $30,000 or more. As a result, 200 people responded and they generated around $120,000 in revenue.

In comparison, this dentist added Google ads to their dental direct mail campaign. Take a look…

Arcadia Dental

Successful Dental Services Postcard

 

Google Ad

Successful Dental Services Google Ad

 

Postcards: 91,300

Revenue: 300,000

Arcadia Dental mailed their postcard to 22,825 households in the area every other month over the course of a year. To increase their exposure, they purchased DirectMail2.0.  During the course of Arcadia Dental’s campaign, people in the same area where they mailed their postcards also saw the banner ads online (which included the square-size ad above along with horizontal and vertical banner ads) — across millions of websites in the Google network. It paid off because their campaign generated $300,000 in revenue, which is $180,000 more than the previous campaign without digital ads.

I have one more comparison to show you between two cleaning companies that signed up for Everywhere Small Business campaigns.

Firehoodz

Successful Cleaning Services Postcard

 

Postcards: 6,000

Results: 11 new accounts and $37,000 in revenue!

This kitchen exhaust and hood cleaning company mailed 6,000 postcards to businesses in the local area. As a result, they gained 11 new accounts worth $37,000 in revenue.

Now take a look at this similar cleaning campaign, but they added on digital ads…

Total Clean Freaks

Successful Home Services Postcard

 

Facebook Ad

Successful Home Services Facebook Ad

 

Instagram Ad

Successful Home Services Instragram Ad

 

Postcards: 6,000

Google Ads: 200,519 displays / 1,547 clicks

Facebook/Instagram Ads: 12,044 displays / 221 clicks

Results: 96 responses, 67 conversions, and $335,000 in projected revenue from the new clients

Total Clean Freaks mailed 6,000 postcards to residents who lived in the local area and lived in homes valued at $450,000 or more and had incomes of $125,000 a year or more. As a result, they gained 67 new clients. Each customer typically brings in $5,000 a year, so they anticipate making $335,000 in revenue. That’s an ROI of 7,411%!

That’s 56 MORE customers from running digital ads — almost 5 times as much as a standard direct mail campaign.

So, in summary:

It looks like the examples above are pretty definitive proof that integrated campaigns return better results than single-medium campaigns.

But there are a lot of studies and statistics on integrated campaigns that found the same thing too:

  • When primed by mail, people spent 30% longer looking at ads on social media. (JICMAIL 2020)
  • Integrated direct mail and digital campaigns elicit 39% more attention than single-media digital campaigns. (Canada Post 2016)
  • Brand recall peaks when direct mail follows email, outperforming the average for the other single and integrated media campaigns by 40%. (Canada Post 2016)
  • Marketing campaigns that used direct mail and 1 or more digital media experienced a 118% lift in response rate compared to using direct mail only. (Merkle 2015)

The reality is that most small businesses fall into one of two camps: they either rely on traditional marketing methods like signs, printed ads, and mailers or they focus on newer advertising like social media, online advertisements, etc. BUT, most don’t realize that combining both types in the right way is the secret to increasing leads and converting them too.

You don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking that you should keep doing the same traditional methods because that’s what you’ve always done, and you also don’t want to dive in head first into the newest technologies and spend all your marketing budget on digital methods just because they are trendy.

What matters is what works — and that’s something we’ve been closely tracking for close to two decades!

Once we know what works, we train our entire staff on it. In fact, we have 35 marketing experts who are drilled on successful campaign actions weekly. They’re highly trained, and their entire purpose is to help you create the most successful marketing campaign within your budget — and their consultations are completely FREE!

It doesn’t matter which industry you are in, we can develop an Everywhere Small Business campaign that targets the exact type of customer you want and brings in results. In most cases, we’ve seen clients double their ROI just because they added digital advertisements.

If you’d like more information on how to get an Everywhere Small Business campaign started, call one of our marketing consultants at 1-800-628-1804. They can walk you through the whole process and make the experience fast and easy.

 

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