For small businesses, the window between when new home buyers move to the neighborhood and when they establish loyalty to their favorite local establishments is critical.
Welcome packages and direct mailings have long been used to draw in prospective customers with product samples and coupons to neighborhood businesses.[caption id="attachment_335059" align="alignnone" width="770"] Examples of direct mailings that are sent to new movers through Welcomemat Services. The gift certificates include a unique QR code tied to the customer, which is used to track whether the customer redeems it.[/caption]
A platform called Welcomemat Services puts a new spin on the well-established practice, providing small business with access to customer data ordinarily afforded only to larger corporations.
Welcomemat Services, a new mover marketing and technology company based in Atlanta, has franchises across the country. Paul Grekowicz recently launched the franchise in the greater Milwaukee area after looking for a change of pace from his corporate marketing career. With his new business, Grekowicz has shifted his focus from major corporations to businesses found all along Main Streets, such as pizzerias, salons and auto repair shops.[caption id="attachment_335060" align="alignright" width="150"] Grekowicz[/caption]
Welcomemat targets new movers using its proprietary algorithm that factors in new mover data – information like age, gender, income bracket, spending habits and recreational activities. Local businesses can enlist Welcomemat’s services, allowing them to send a direct mail package to new movers within 60 days of their arrival.
Included in the package is a gift certificate that includes a unique QR code tied to the customer. What sets the Welcomemat service apart, Grekowicz said, is that it tracks customers’ redemptions – data that the local business can then use to further target customers.
Through Welcomemat, the businesses receive a monthly report showing how many redemptions their mailer yielded, the profile of their redeeming customers and contact information for those customers. They can then use that information to reach those new customers through email campaigns or personalized thank you cards.
Following up with first-time customers, Grekowicz said, is key to capturing their loyalty.
“If you give a new customer, especially a new resident, positive personal touches, the odds of them becoming a loyal customer go up dramatically,” he said.
Coming from the corporate marketing world, Grekowicz said he’s used to working with clients that have larger budgets. So for small businesses, providing hyper-specific customer data to help them stretch ad dollars and boost response rates is useful.
“Big data is huge, and these are the types of things large retailers use but haven’t been made available to small businesses,” he said.
While direct mail may seem old-fashioned in the age of social media, Grekowicz said the marketing channel is actually backed by data showing it is effective, particularly with the coveted millennial demographic.
A recent Welcomemat study found millennials are twice as likely to respond to a direct mailer compared to an online ad on sites like Facebook or Yelp. What’s more, he said, is new movers are 80 percent more likely to respond to a direct mail offer than other customers.
“Something physical still works,” Grekowicz said.
Grekowicz’s service area covers much of Waukesha County, stretching as far west as Oconomowoc, as well as communities in Ozaukee and Milwaukee counties.
With more than 2,200 new movers each month in his coverage area – paired with a wave of enthusiasm for shopping local – Grekowicz said it’s a good time to be getting the word out about the region’s small businesses.