Everyone agrees that social media is essential when it comes to promoting your store – but we believe there is still a place for direct mail in our advertising program.  We recently sent out the postcard above, designed for us by our print and mail company Econoprint. The back of the card has three coupons for $10 off a $50 purchase in August, September and October.

We send out over 12,000 postcards to the list we started cultivating when we opened almost 50 years ago. Most of the new names that are added come from people signing up for our customer rewards program, which puts them on both our email and print media lists.  When a shopper uses one of the coupons, we write the amount spent on it and put it in a box to be tabulated at the end of the month.

Do we get many back? Not in comparison to the number we send, but the dollar total is impressive. And we know that many people don’t cut coupons, however having this colorful card arrive in their mail box is a reminder that it might be time to stop in to see what is new.  I’m particularly excited about the design for this card, because it features products from throughout the store – two of which are exclusive to us.  Several of our vendors now allow for small batches of custom products, with no setup charge.  

The biggest cost associated with direct mail is the postage, which has increased steadily over the years. Happily Econoprint keeps our list “clean” for us, which means we don’t have a lot of cards delivered to incorrect addresses or returned by the postal service.  We create the largest card allowed at the postcard rate in order to have the maximum impact when the recipients are looking through their mail. And let’s face it – most of what we all get in our mailbox these days is not very exciting, so our card really stands out.

As an added bonus, if you ever decide to sell your business, your store’s mailing list is considered an asset in establishing the value of the business, because it’s an indication of the goodwill you’ve built up over the years. So if your budget allows, you might consider snail mail as one more way to keep in touch with your customers.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder