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The $590 texting and direct mail experiment that drove a 21x return

As a digital marketer, I'd always had my doubts about old-school tactics like direct mail. Then I sent out postcards with a “text us” call to action. The results changed my mind.

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In April 2021, I made a unique career move, transitioning from my marketing role at SimpleTexting to running a beekeeping business specializing in installing and maintaining beehives at residential properties.

I went from being a SimpleTexting employee to being a customer. This gave me a unique opportunity to put our product to the test.

After growing the bee business from $60,000 in revenue to over $250,000, I eventually decided to return to SimpleTexting. (That’s a story for another day.)

In this post, I want to share the results of a marketing experiment I ran involving SimpleTexting and Taradel’s direct mail service.

The strategy

I sent out 1,000 postcards, for a total cost of $590 — $320 for the postcards themselves and $270 for postage.

For our list, I selected zip codes where we already had paying customers and added extra criteria based on what we knew about our customer base, including household income and age range.

Here’s the postcard we sent out:

Even though we had been working in these neighborhoods for years, we purposefully designed the postcard to make it look like we were just launching. 

The call to action was simple: I encouraged people to text the word “BEES” to our number to arrange a property assessment.

The setup

Out of those 1,000 postcards, we got 21 replies — a 2% response rate. Not bad, considering the data around direct mail response rates.

Now, the crucial question: Did any of these 20 replies translate into new business?

Before delving into the results, let me explain how I used SimpleTexting to follow up with these leads. From the beginning, I knew I wanted to set up an automation to get back to them instantly. So, I configured an away message to get back to all leads right away. 

Another way to automate these kinds of messages is to set up a text-to-join keyword, which people text to your number to opt in to your SMS list. 

Keywords are especially useful if you want to send mass messages for things like sales announcements and product updates. Just be sure to follow SMS compliance rules when you promote your keyword for mass texting.

After sending out the postcards, I used the SimpleTexting app to monitor our inbox and jump into the conversation manually.  

I followed up by requesting the customer’s name and email and sent over a detailed PDF outlining our services and pricing.

The final outcome

Out of the 21 replies we received:

  • 11 scheduled a property assessment
  • 7 lost interest when they heard the pricing
  • 1 was located far beyond our service area (likely an issue with Taradel)
  • 2 never responded to texts or answered phone calls

Of the 11 who scheduled a property assessment, two signed up for our service. The combined lifetime value of these two contracts amounted to $13,200.

So, tally it all up: $619 spent (with $590 for the mailers and $29 for the SimpleTexting account), and we’re looking at a return of $12,581. In terms of cost-effectiveness, we saw a CAC payback period of only one month. 

As a digital marketer, I’d always had my doubts about old-school tactics like direct mail. These results changed my mind. 

It won’t be a surprise to hear that residential beekeeping is a very niche product. 

I’d bet that for more traditional home service businesses, combining direct mail and texting could yield even better results!

Alfredo Salkeld
Alfredo Salkeld

Alfredo is SimpleTexting's brand manager. He's passionate about using his 10+ years of marketing experience to help small businesses grow.

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