Direct Mail Marketing

Direct Mail Retention for Online Subscription Businesses

February 27, 2018
Abram Isola

The subscription business model is taking the e-commerce industry by storm. BirchBox, Dollar Shave Club, Stitch Fix and FabFitFun are just a few notable brands making waves in this category. Even offline brands like Baby Gap, Adidas and Starbucks are jumping on the trend.
There’s a good reason subscription boxes are so popular. They provide a way for companies to collect data on shoppers’ preferences as well as generate a steady stream of recurring revenue. However, there can be a major downside: churn.
With an average churn rate of nearly 11%, subscription brands need to offer a great experience to every customer every time in order to prevent voluntary churn. Marketers should leverage all of the channels at their disposal to stay attuned with customers. And direct mail should absolutely be part of this approach—not just for acquisition.

Triggering a postcard using HubSpot+Inkit
Triggering a postcard using HubSpot+Inkit

Large batch direct mail may be a key acquisition strategy for your business, but direct mail can also be your secret weapon in retention and reactivation workflows. Here’s how.

Direct Mail Retention Triggers for Subscription Businesses

If you’re a retention marketer for subscription brands, you’re probably already triggering retention emails and SMS messages. But these efforts will only get you so far, even with adequate triggering, segmentation, and tracking. Some of your customers are adept at tuning out digital marketing of all kinds.
This is why direct mail is the top channel for direct response, even in the Digital Age. The vast majority of Americans open and sort through their mail daily. Add the right direct mail triggers to your retention campaigns and you just might watch your churn rates improve.

Inkit integrates with many of the best CRMS, allowing you to kick off postcards right from your campaign builder. (Check out a list of our integrations here. If you don’t see yours listed, let us know).

The tangible and personal feel of actual mail just can’t be beaten in this era of email overload. Review the key touchpoints in your customer retention journey and add postcard triggers anywhere you have a low response rate or want to make a bigger impact.

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Here are 3 retention postcards to add to your workflows today:

  1. Welcome Postcard: Automatically trigger a postcard personalized with purchase information for all new customers. Be sure to include an incentive for a second purchase. If you are already sending a welcome email, try testing its message via direct mail to see which channel performs best. Or, trigger the postcard only to those who don’t respond to your welcome email.
  2. Tutorial Postcard: Physical mail has more longevity than email, so direct mail is a strong channel for free value-add messaging. Send a postcard to show new customers how to use products they’ve purchased, or educate them on a related matter that is likely to be of interest. The goal of this postcard is to keep your brand front-and-center and generate positive vibes. For example, Baby Gap’s tutorial postcard to new OutfitBox subscribers could show how to launder baby clothes to keep them extra soft and gentle.
  3. Special Thank You and Birthday Postcards: Don’t restrict follow-ups to just before renewals. Add personalized postcards throughout the lifecycle to keep customers feeling appreciated. Trigger birthday postcards with special offers (customers should definitely open their mail around their birthdays), and pick a loyalty benchmark to send a personalized thank you note with an exclusive offer.

When you add relevant, timely triggers to retention workflows, direct mail can be the secret weapon to retention your online subscription business needs.

Reactivation Postcards Your Subscription Business Should Send

Even if you use postcard triggers to improve churn, your subscription business will still experience cancellations for a variety of reasons. Your customer may no longer need your product (maybe a child has outgrown Baby Gap’s OutfitBox); it could be a seasonal issue; it could be involuntary due to technical payment issues. Whatever the case, be prepared with reactivation triggers. Even if you only reactivate a small number of your cancellations, you can still recoup marketing spend.
As soon as someone churns voluntarily, trigger a personalized postcard. Whenever possible, the postcard should re-engage the customer by resolving the issue that led to the churn.

  • Did someone churn because the items in the subscription box didn’t suit their style? Trigger a postcard offering a discount to give you one more try to hit the mark.
  • Did someone churn because of a customer service issue? Trigger a personalized postcard whenever a Zendesk score is submitted, including transparent messaging and a strong offer.

If you’re already sending personalized reactivation emails after subscription box cancellations, consider reformatting some of these offers for postcards. (Think more like social and less like an email when it comes to postcard messaging. Simple is better.) Some of the most successful reactivation postcard campaigns we’ve seen at Inkit are reformatted. Your former customers may not be interested in reading your emails anymore, but you can still win them back at the mailbox.

Ready to captivate your customers?
Send personalized direct mail automatically based on customer actions.
Start for free