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“Direct mail won’t work”: TRUE Stories from 2 Marketers

direct mail won't work: true stories from 2 marketers

At events where I speak, I’m often asked if direct mail is still relevant in today’s digital space. It seems like everywhere we look there’s a new digital trend or strategy we’re all supposed to be using to grow our businesses more effectively.

In fact, people flat-out tell me that they don’t think direct mail will work, and it isn’t right for their business.

“I just think digital is the way to go for us.”

And this is even after I tell them that direct mail has worked for MANY others in their industry.

So I want to talk to you a little more about two of these marketers in particular, and what happened when they actually gave direct mail a try…

But first, I want to share some statistics I recently came across:

  • Direct mail’s response rate is 750% more than email
  • Personalizing your direct mail by printing the recipient’s name on it can boost response by  135%
  • 93% of people ages 25-34 have responded to direct mail — 88% respond within 6 months

These are really recent studies!

And yet, so many business owners think that digital marketing will be the answer to unlocking all of their potential revenue and leads.

I spoke with two business owners recently to get feedback on their direct mail campaigns, and honestly, even I was shocked at their results!

See for yourself…

1. Direct mail = a 4X increase in leads (and laser-focused tracking)

A software startup based in Florida, called DirectMail2.0, decided to mail postcards to generate more leads in order to attract more partners.

This company, DirectMail2.0, helps commercial printers and direct mail companies offer their own clients digital advertising services — including campaign tracking.

Here’s how it works:

  • DirectMail2.0 takes their software platform and brands it with the printer’s name and logo (also called, white labeling)
  • Then, they train printers to use their platform
  • Printers then sell digital advertising services to their clients as their own product

It’s a great idea! An integrated approach to marketing is vital and can boost your response by up to 400%, as some studies have noted.

You’ve probably heard me talk about DirectMail2.0 before because PostcardMania was actually their very first beta partner to offer this amazing product.

Their CEO, Brad Kugler, approached us for help promoting DirectMail2.0 to all 11,000 commercial printers in the U.S.

After meeting and talking to printers for years at various conferences and events, Brad intimately understood what printers desperately needed help with:

Keeping up with digital trends!

Sound familiar?

(I don’t know a business owner who ISN’T overwhelmed with digital marketing!)

So we designed a postcard campaign for DirectMail2.0.

Their marketing message on it was simple:

Stop losing customers to digital ad agencies.

Here’s their design…

The front:

directmail2.0 marketing postcard front

And here’s the back:

directmail2.0 marketing postcard back

Notice how the front of their postcard has NOTHING on it except their message. Straight to the point, no fluff — just exactly what printers need help with!

A highly targeted list = a highly targeted (and impactful) marketing message.

After mailing 11,000 postcards out to every commercial printer and direct mail company in the U.S., here are their results:

  • DirectMail2.0 received a 4X increase in leads (400%!)
  • The time prospects spent on their website increased by 5X — up to 9 minutes!
  • 87 people visited their website DIRECTLY from their postcard (I’ll explain how)
  • 12 calls came in directly from their postcard
  • 10 people contacted them online, again, directly from their postcard

Noticing a pattern here??

Brad KNEW DirectMail2.0’s results were generated specifically from his direct mail campaign.


Since prospects can’t click on a postcard like they can with an online ad, we set up a “vanity URL” just for this postcard campaign…

Meaning this:

directmail2.0 marketing postcard with vanity url circled

A Vanity URL is a unique web address that is branded for marketing purposes. But let me explain further…

Yes, Brad could’ve just used on his postcard, but works MUCH better because:

  • It MATCHES the postcard’s hard-hitting marketing message
  • It’s easier to remember (no one wants to LOSE anything!)
  • Losing leads to digital puts a major hurt on businesses, so they’re more likely to follow that link to find out where it leads

But isn’t just about branding a URL…

woman looking at laptop

More importantly, it’s used for easily tracking your marketing!

Let me explain…

One of the most effective ways to measure your marketing is by taking advantage of the internet, namely —

Google Analytics!

And it’s FREE!

Using Google Analytics, you can track how many people visit your website and from where (amongst MANY other things that I won’t get into today).

FREE report: The step-by-step guide to set up Google Analytics on your website

Here’s how Google Analytics relates to this vanity URL example:

You can track how many people visit your vanity URL —

Showing exactly how many people took action from your postcard!

(Assuming, you ONLY use your vanity URL on your postcard, of course!)

Let me break it down for you:

  • A prospect receives your postcard
  • Your message speaks to them and they LOVE your irresistible special offer
  • They decide to take action and type your vanity URL into their internet browser
  • Google Analytics tracks how many people visit your vanity URL
  • You see in your Google Analytics dashboard how many people responded to your postcard!

Here’s a visual look at how this works:

infographic of how a vanity url works to generate leads

Remember the results from this campaign?

  • A 4X increase in leads
  • The time prospects spent on their website increased by 5X
  • 87 people visited their website directly from their postcard
  • 12 calls came in directly from their postcard
  • 10 people contacted them online, again, directly from their postcard

Each one of those results were measured in Google Analytics (except the 12 calls — those were tracked using a call tracking feature!).

Without tracking, you don’t know if your marketing works…

But using Google Analytics and a vanity URL, you know for SURE that your marketing is working (or not).

And when you know what WORKS, you should invest in THAT.

If it means you have to withdraw funds from other marketing methods, then do it. If they aren’t verifiably growing your business, and one type of marketing is, why would you continue spending money NOT growing your business?

(If you want to read 5 more tips for tracking your marketing, I wrote an article ALL about tracking here.)

I recommend getting whoever mans your website to set up a vanity URLs for you, because it does involve a little bit of coding and backend experience with your hosting service. It’s honestly WAY easier and will save you time!

Here’s what I want you to see from DirectMail2.0’s campaign:

Even Brad was shocked from his results. And he owns a company that regularly works with direct mail printers!

But the numbers were there in plain sight…

His postcards produced measurable results for his company — and the FULL results (meaning, return on investment) have yet to be realized!

Direct mail can surprise you — even if you ARE a digital marketing company yourself!

But digital solutions (like Google Analytics) help track your leads effortlessly, leaving NO question as to which leads came directly from your postcard campaign.

Now check out this next direct mail story…

2. This dental practice tried 3 marketing tactics — and only 1 increased new patients by 143%

If you’re inspired by massive growth that happens fast, keep reading…

The Goolsbys (made up of Dr. Goolsby and Becky, his wife and business manager) bought Borealis Dental Studio in the quaint town of Lindstrom, MN, in July 2016.

Dr. Goolsby and his wife Becky Goolsby

Like most business owners (this includes me!), they were excited to start their own venture, but quickly realized there was a LOT more to growing a business than they had planned…

They knew they needed to market their practice, but didn’t know where to start.

So in September of 2016, they attended our live Growth Summit here at PostcardMania (not a plug for our event, just honestly what happened!).

The Goolsbys learned how marketing consistently can make or break your business (and budget) — something I preach about all the time. They also had the time to develop a solid marketing plan to increase their monthly new patients every month.

And as soon as they returned home to Minnesota, they hit the ground running, ready to take their practice to a whole new level!

track runner ready to run at starting line

It’s worth noting:

Before the Goolsbys started their new marketing plan, they were generating about 28 new patients per month on average. That’s NOT shabby, but with a goal to hire a new doctor for their practice in just 2 years, they needed to grow their monthly new patients faster.

So here’s what they did:

They started out mailing 6,000 postcards per month. Using DirectMail2.0, they were able to run Google ads online at the same time.

Here’s their postcard design:

effective dental postcard design

LOVE that they used a family photo!! So important when you’re in a profession that requires you get up close and personal with your clients (like dentistry!).

But get this:

The Goolsbys didn’t have to personally design, mail, or organize anything. Each and every part of their marketing campaign was handled for them (INCLUDING their tracking!).

In 6 months, they had bumped their average monthly new patients up from 28 to 46 —

That’s a 60% increase in new patients in just 6 months!

Check out their next move:

They DOUBLED their mailings to 12,000 postcards per month…

And their average monthly new patients jumped up to 68 (almost triple)!

That’s a 143% increase in monthly new patients in just 1 year!

Check out their graph:

graph of monthly new patients for borealis dental

Today, the Goolsbys and their staff are SO busy providing for all their new patients at Borealis, they’re slated to hire another doctor (who’s scheduled to arrive this summer!). In other words…

They achieved their goal! They grew their practice and their hiring more clinical staff to accommodate their steady stream of new patients.

By the way…

The Goolsbys did NOT originally think that postcards would work for their practice.

They figured that digital advertising would do the trick for Borealis Dental, but they decided to “try out” postcards because, they realized, that postcards can’t be clicked away from and easily forgotten.

They’re a tangible form of marketing that not only lasts longer, but they remain the most TRUSTED form of marketing.

In fact, 82% of millennials (the generation that grew up on the internet) view marketing printed on paper as more trustworthy than digital messages. So if you thought that direct mail doesn’t appeal to younger generations, the stats say otherwise!

Also interesting:

The other marketing methods the Goolsbys tried (for 8 months before postcards) generated literally just a handful of leads.

I’m talking about these:

  • Newspaper ads
  • Community events and networking
  • Booths
  • Bulletins

According to Becky, they spent a TON of time and effort, but NO return on investment.

Yet direct mail, a so-called “old school” method, took their practice to a whole new level.

Meaning —

They generated a 998% return on investment from their postcard marketing!

Direct mail continues to work today despite everyone being glued to their smart phones…

And it may be BECAUSE people are attached to screens constantly that direct mail delivers by diverting their attention so they actually see — and therefore respond to your marketing.

group of people all fixed on their smart phones

To be clear:

I don’t recommend you toss digital marketing out the window.

Not at ALL.

Both case studies I analyzed above clearly used digital methods to track their results. Remember the Borealis Dental Studio example consistently used Google ads as part of DirectMail2.0!

I’m saying you need BOTH direct mail and digital, but in their proper places.

Here’s what I mean:

Use direct mail to generate new leads, and integrate digital solutions to easily track your marketing AND give your prospects the sense that your business is everywhere.

If you want more examples of clients who’ve grown their businesses using direct mail (with REAL results), there’s an entire case study gallery — just locate your industry!

If you have any questions about marketing your business using direct mail, Google, Facebook, and even Instagram ads, call 800-628-1804, and one of my marketing experts will answer any questions you have — their advice is 100% FREE.

Or, you can email me directly at



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