Commentary & Analysis
Early Express Rocks with Direct Mail Retargeting
Direct mail retargeting used to be a new and untested technique. Today, an increasing number of PSPs are offering it, and the results are pouring in. Here are two terrific examples from Early Express.
By Heidi Tolliver-Walker
Published: April 1, 2019
I’ve been writing about direct mail retargeting for a while now, and recently, I ran across a company, Early Express, that provided some great mini-case studies on when this approach works. I love numbers, and I love companies that provide them. Early Express provided numbers.
Direct mail retargeting allows you to capture anonymous website visitors and send them follow-up direct mail. It’s kind of like shopping cart abandonment for print. Someone comes to the client’s website, and the system captures their IP address. The IP address is matched to their home address, allowing you to retarget them in with a mail piece.
The drawback is that you can’t use names. Since you are targeting anonymous visitors, legally, you cannot access the name of the visitor. You know what they were viewing on your site, so you can design mailers that are highly relevant, and that’s where the effectiveness comes from. Some systems will also allow you to refine whom you target by appended demographics, so you can target ideal customers, not just those who stopped by the site.
Even so, without knowing the person’s name, how are you supposed to greet them? “Dear Homeowner, we saw that you were visiting our site today, and since you didn’t pull the trigger right then, we wanted to follow you home with a10% coupon to entice you to come back and buy!”
Um, no. That’s creepy. You can do that with shopping cart abandonment because shoppers know that you know them. You can’t do that with anonymous browsers because they haven’t given them permission to know who they are. The answer is to craft direct mail pieces that just seem to be hitting with perfect timing.
Early Express, which offers this service through its SiteChaser program, gives the example of someone shopping for carpet. A consumer surfs the client’s site, but doesn’t buy anything. Within 24-48 hours, that visitor receives a direct mail piece with a coupon for 10% off. They see the mail piece and think, “Wow! Awesome. Perfect timing!” You know it’s not an accident, but the site visitor doesn’t.
One furniture store using SiteChaser shows just how effective this approach can be. Most consumers do quite a bit of online research before purchasing furniture, so using SiteChaser, the store identified people who had viewed their products but not made a purchase, then sent targeted mail pieces based on what visitors had viewed. The results?
- Nearly 1% (0.9%) of the targeted homes purchased.
- The conversion rate was 4,400% higher than for those anonymous visitors who did not get a mail piece.
- Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) was over 1,100%.
The second example involves an upholstery company. It targeted visitors who had placed items into their shopping carts but did not purchase them. Again, SiteChaser captured the visitors’ IP addresses, and the client mailed First Class mail pieces to their homes.Five percent (5%) of the prospects made a purchase, 250% higher than other direct mail offerings.
Early Express points out that one of the reasons that direct mail retargeting is so successful over digital retargeting is that nearly 50% of website traffic is computer bots. You want to target real people, not computers. Plus, an increasing number of people are turning off their cookies. Direct mail retargeting uses pixels, not cookies, so this approach works whether their cookies are turned on or not (although you cannot capture people who have opted out of targeting altogether).
It’s great seeing examples of direct mail retargeting in action, with real numbers to boot. So thank you, Early Express! It’s also exciting to see the number of companies doing this on the rise. The last time I Googled “direct mail retargeting,” there were less than a handful of printers I could find that were actively promoting it. Six months later, I tried again, and there were a few more. Today, there are pages of them. It’s normalizing.
Will 2019 be the Year of Direct Mail Retargeting?