Competition Moving In? Use the Post Office

Yeah I know most of what I write is 100% technology focused. But I couldn’t go by without telling you about a case study the US Postal Service had in their latest newsletter.
Mike Sheldrake, owner of Polly’s Gourmet Coffee was doing quite well when a big coffeehouse chain opened its first Long Beach store nine blocks away. Then, in 1998, the leading national chain opened another store just 78 yards away from Polly’s front door. What to do?
USPS newsletter continues – One thing a business consultant taught Sheldrake was that in the neighborhood surrounding Polly’s, 50 percent of the homes are sold every 24 months. “Even though we’d been in our location for 30 years,” says Sheldrake, “there were people two blocks away who’d never heard of us.”
Sheldrake had always used the Post Office to deliver his newsletters, but the new information motivated him to introduce Polly’s to new neighborhood residents using Direct Mail with First-Class postage.
Sheldrake now sends a Direct Mail piece to every new homeowner in the neighborhood every month. “We welcome people to the neighborhood and give them coupons for a couple of cappuccinos or a half pound of coffee,” says Sheldrake, who is quick to point out that the purpose of the mailer is to generate a relationship, not a sale. He says mailings range from 80 to 150 pieces per month, and produce about a 3 percent response rate.

I know I focus a lot on how technology is a HUGE benefit and it is but I think that in addition to email newsletters, a direct mail campaign could also be useful as it reaches those who you might FIRST need to physically reach before they can even know to sign up for your email newsletter.
Check out the USPS videos here.