Post Card Questions

How many of you do post cards mailing yourself? If you do them yourself what kind of offers do you use for:

  1. New Customers
  2. 30 day lazy
  3. 60 day lazy
  4. Frequent/best customers

I’m looking to switch over to more database marketing as most of the other mediums I have been using are just not getting me the results they have in the past. Any and all info would be greatly appreciated!

G.

I send out a postcard with a magnet on it to the top 1000 customers about every 3 months. Each postcard has 3-5 coupons on it and are usually package deals for pizza and sides. I get a huge response from these. I spread the mailing out over 3-4 weeks.

New customers - buys any large pizza get 2 sides and a dessert for free (sides are normally low food cost items) - this is an aggressive deal to help them get back in the habit.

60 days + I’ve done a range of things and had a good response. I tend to change things around as there are a nad of people who sit in this category quite happily so I try and get a variety of offers. Buy a large get a free side, buy a large get a free dessert, spend over 20.00 and get 5.00 off anything a little different works.

Most important thing is to do something rather than nothing just to get your name in front of them!

Before you decide on your offers, decide what your goal is for each group of customers.

For instance, it’s not that uncommon for a regular customer to let 30 days go by between orders. So for your 30-day lapsed customers, you may want to go with an offer like a meal deal that drives a larger order value – or you may want to use the postcard to hook these customers on a new, high-margin menu item. Even if the redemption rate is a little lower, these types of offers can often make you more money.

On the other hand, for first-time customers and customers who haven’t ordered in 90+ days, the number of people who redeem the offer is a lot more important than the one-time sales revenue from a single postcard mailing. The lifetime value of these customers is worth digging a little deeper to get more of these people back into your restaurant. So in these cases, design an offer with a high perceived value that will give you a second chance to establish a relationship with your new and recovered customers.

A couple of years ago, when we were piloting our database marketing program with a group of pizzerias who use SpeedLine, we tested more than a dozen different offers.

I took a look back at the results from one set of test mailings.

Of those, the best performers were:

[list]a free 10-inch pizza with no purchase necessary (40% redeemed at an average order value of $13.10 for $629 in reported sales), and
a card with two offers: 3 medium 1-toppings for $14.99, and 1 Large 1-Top for $7.99 (24% redeemed at an average order value of $26 for $1988 in reported sales).[/list]
Other key factors in the most successful mailings tend to be:

[list]A simple, clear design (multiple offers can work okay, but not if the card is crowded or hard to read)
Personalization: including the customer’s name and/or a personal “letter format” message from you as the restaurant owner/operator worked well in all our tests.
Incentive to act now: for example, the top offer above expired in 2 weeks.[/list]

Thanks for the help. I sent out 300 cards Monday. I didn’t label the customer list I used and I don’t remember if they were 30, 60, or 90 day lazy, I used to do this a lot so I’m a little rusty. Anyway we have received 6 back. Not great, but the offer was a large for medium offer which was an offer we used early this year with great results.

Does a postcard have to have an offer on it to be effective?..Perhaps just a simple “We have missed you!” will work…

That’s a great question. The response rates I’m seeing with direct mail, newspaper, and marriage mail has led me to believe that it’s going to take a really great offer to get a good response. I had pretty poor results with inserts and direct mail and both of the reps said they thought our offers were not aggressive enough. We haven’t had to be and really don’t want to be an aggressive discounter but the other alternative is no sales.

But you need to calculate your returns based on what takes the most to the bottom line…If you reduce your prices on offer may get more responses but at a lower margin so it may not carry as much to the bottom line…

That’s what I’ve been struggling with. What price point gets results without breaking the bank.

I do the following with good results:

30 day and new customers - Free order of bread sticks with any order.
60 - Free order of bread sticks and a 2 liter of pepsi with the purchase of a large pizza.
90 - Free order of bread sticks, 2 liter of pepsi, and 1 free topping when they purchase a large pizza.

I just got off the phone with a customer (a restaurant operator in NY) who’s working on his lazy customer marketing program.

Here’s what we came up with:

Sort your 60+ day lazy customers by Total Sales $ or Total # of Orders. Pull out your best customers — the real regulars who’ve suddenly lapsed — and send them an offer they can’t refuse. Don’t make it a coupon; make it a “reward.”

If you’re seeing some of your best repeat customers on the Lazy list, take a look at how much they’ve been worth to your business. What is it worth spending to get them back?

Of course, there’s a good possibility that some of the regulars on your lazy list have moved away. So label your postcards JOE JOHNSON OR NEW RESIDENT to get your offer in front of the new residents.

For the rest of the customers on the list, stick with offers that still leave you with a good profit. Or take Royster’s advice and skip the offer entirely – try a “Try our new RedHot Pizza” type message with “Just $XX.XX” (your regular price).

Do any of you segment your lapsed customers this way (by how much they’ve spent with you as well as days lazy)?

Jennifer

What I’m missing that I like seeing in discussions of discounts . . . along with number of returns and responses . . . is cost of goods on the offers. 40% response on an 80% COGS versus a 20% response on a 40% cost of goods. If I have $2000 reported sales on an 80% COGS offer, I ain’t jumping for joy.

I really need COG figure to get any frame of reference for “order value”, sales gross and response rates and all. I’ll pay nearly anything on an offer that gets me new loyal customers. Pushing repeat orders and bumping lazy guys to the phone . . . I’ll pay, but not as mindlessly. That may very well be backwards, but I am kinda backwards these days.

That’s an excellent point Nick. I have a bread stick item that is legendary around here that I have a 650% markup on and nobody even bats an eye because of the perceived value. I’ve started using those as a promotional item that I can mark down dramatically, or give away, but not affect my COG much at all.

Great comments by everyone.
Not to open up a new thread but…
You would have some added flexibility in your lazy customer promotions if you were sending emails and not postcards. Not that they are mutually exclusive, but you could test various specials easier without the printing costs.

Also if you were sending an aggressive weekly or biweekly email specifically targeted to your 60 day list, and a customer stays on your 60 day list, you might have some more assurance that maybe thats how often they eat pizza.

  1. New Customers (I do free side salad, and cheesy bread with any large pizza)
  2. 30 day lazy ( large 1 topping, breadsticks and 2 liter 16.99
  3. 60 day lazy large unlimmited toppings and a large cheeese 21.99
  4. Frequent/best customers (dotted line, I usually just do the 1.00 off any large gourmet)