Laurie Dunlap, CEO and founder of ecommerce company Blue Canoe needed a competitive edge to succeed in one of the most saturated online markets: women’s apparel.

“My customers are loyal,” Dunlap notes, “and our unique, organic, USA-made, eco-friendly clothing gets rave reviews.”

But Dunlap, like every other online retailer, competes directly against some of the biggest names in ecommerce. And it’s a tough world: on average, 97 percent of website traffic remains anonymous and unconverted. For small businesses like Blue Canoe, that just won’t do.

Marketers typically use digital retargeting to attempt to convert some of those lost website visitors. While it’s a good way to keep brands in front of customers, it has its drawbacks. The cold, hard fact is that 30 percent of consumers’ devices are running ad-blocker software. And of the ads that do get through, response rates are so low that over 99 percent of purchased impressions don’t result in clicks on the ad.

Unfortunately, many businesses are spending a lot of money on tactics that aren’t delivering impressive results and, worse, run the risk of annoying their loyal customer bases. 

And even if they, like Blue Canoe, have everything a niche ecommerce company could want--a clear mission and origin story; unique, integrated product lines; and fantastic reviews--they may still need help.

Fortunately for Blue Canoe, its founder is nothing if not a creative, outside-the-box thinker. Dunlap reached out to Modern Postcard, a national leader in integrated direct marketing, to learn about a new channel working wonders for other retailers: postcard retargeting.

This new channel, called Modern iO, captures website visitors, matches about 50 percent to mailable addresses, and mails postcards to those unknown and unconverted potential customers.

“Three days after we placed the Modern iO tag on our site, we saw the metrics and got very excited,” Dunlap says. “There’s a gut-level reaction to seeing how many visitors left your site each day that could be reached by direct mail. My instincts told me to give it a try.”

She wasn’t worried about dipping a toe into this brand-new marketing channel because there were no minimums, set-up fees, or contracts “There was little risk in starting a campaign, because I set up the budget that was comfortable for us,” she says. 

Modern iO developed the creative for each postcard and worked with Dunlap to plan the strategy. Blue Canoe launched with a 45-day test campaign using two cards, one for abandoned carts and one for her bestselling product.

Dunlap managed her campaign using Modern iO’s campaign dashboard, which shows daily visitors, mailable addresses, number of daily mailings, results, a dynamic map that “pins” where the mailings go, and more.

Once the initial numbers were in, she never looked back. “We are thrilled with the results,” she says. “My cost per conversion is so low that we’re now seeing 8x return on ad spend overall. And, when I factor in lifetime value, it’s 19x return,” she says.

Blue Canoe is also able to measure the cost per new customer acquisition. “What I’m so pleased about is that about 80 percent of the responders are new customers. For our business, getting brand new customers is crucial, because they stay loyal.” 

“What Modern iO has done is help me better compete,” Dunlap, says. “This channel is a new and powerful way for us to engage my audience that has already shown an interest in our apparel. It’s a game-changer for our marketing.” 

In addition to its new postcard retargeting channel, Modern Postcard helps businesses of all sizes integrate direct mail with their digital and other marketing to improve total return on investment (ROI). All services are done in-house, including campaign planning to creative development, list sourcing, printing, mailing, and analysis. 

Regarded as an industry leader for over 25 years, Modern Postcard has worked with hundreds of thousands of businesses. Its national Direct Mail Crash Course Seminars teach business owners and marketers from retail, services, business-to-business, nonprofit and other sectors how to leverage today’s technologies and strategies to drive new business, creating the competitive edge that every company needs.