When Use Email and When Use Post Cards (Hint: Refrigerator)

Postcards and Emails are both important ways to stay in touch with your customers. The goal is to maximize the value without becoming a nuisance. These notes are a few ideas to help you you compete in the marketplace.

Lets start by looking at Emails. They cost you very little or nothing. Most good software makes it very easy to send out a custom note. For example, in PestaRoo, you type and name your note in the ‘Letters’ section, find the customers or prospects you want to reach out to, and send the email with a single click! You could send out a group of emails like that everyday. And they are cheap and easy!

Two concerns to be aware of. If you send too many emails, a lot of your customers will flag your messages to go directly to their ‘junk mail’ folder. So, limit your messages to any single customer, to one every three months, or perhaps twice a year. Another issue that many people don’t know about is that most ISPs (Internet Service Provider) have a daily limit on your count of outgoing messages. 100 per day is a common ceiling. 50 is not uncommon. You can call your ISP to find out your daily ceiling. So, if you use your software to generate fully customized messages, you must stay within that limit.

That brings us to a different option. Services like MailChimp provide an excellent method to send out a large number of emails in one campaign. And these emails can be fully HTML formatted for attractiveness. Although you won’t hit your ISP ceiling, you can still land in customer junk folders if you do use them very often. We believe that 2 or 4 per year is still a good rule of thumb. Now, in this case you are going to make every email exactly the same, so take the time to create a lovely html formatted email with color graphics. But, remember the rules: keep it simple and deliver a message that can be perused in a few seconds. If it takes more than 5 seconds to read, it probably won’t be read. Oh, and by the way, be sure to let them know that YOU are their pest control company, and not just someone blasting them out of the blue.

Emails are extremely easy to delete, and so your message, if read, will only last for seconds. This suggests that an an message should be very brief and actionable. If you offer a new service, a discount, or something they can ‘grab onto’ in 3 seconds, you stand a pretty good chance of making progress with email marketing. If it takes more than 3 seconds, you will probably be wasting your time. However, if you separate your email into 2 sections you still might succeed. The first section follows the “grab them in 3 seconds” rule, then, the second section provides more info if they are still reading.

Now, lets consider postcards. Postcards cost more, but can have a longer life. Lets compare post cards to letters in envelopes. An envelope has to be opened, and unfolded to be read. Because of this, many letters are tossed into the trash before opening. And letters cost 50% more than a postcard. Yikes! A postcard is much more accessible. Indeed, a fun postcard may well make it to the refrigerator under a magnet. This is a tremendous win. We encourage our customers to create postcards that are artistic or simply fun to as to increase the chance of landing in that hallowed spot in every kitchen. If your postcard (or two!) makes it to the refrigerator door, and they have a pest problem, you stand a very good chance to gain some business. Here is another way to gain such a status, include this message, “$15 discount if used within 3 months”. Almost every one will put that on the ‘frig’.

Do you have a local artist? Hire them to do a set of six. Not only will you be supporting your local community, some people will quickly recognize the style of your local artist, taking a separate glance. Or, we will occasionally offer some free postcard art for people.

If your competitor sends out 50 or 100 postcards every Friday, and you don’t, they are probably going to beat you in customer service and growth. But if you send out 50 or 100 every Friday, and they don’t…. you stand a good chance of winning the competition. Sending postcards on a regular schedule is a great way to leave your competitors in the dust.

Remember that a postcard has two sides, the ‘pretty’ side and the message side. And on the message side, half of your space is taken up by the addresses. So, your message needs to be short an sweet. Again, try to keep your message short enough that it can be read in 3 seconds.

So when use Emails and when use Post Cards? They both have advantages. Perhaps the best strategy is to use both. An email blast once per season, and a small set of postcards every Friday.