Hello Lucky Halloween Cards and Awesome Customer Retention Strategy

I’m a big fan of Hello Lucky. They make awesome letterpress cards – nice heavy paper and cool designs, especially the cards with monkeys on them. I’ve purchased lots of cards from local shops when I’m short on time, but I mostly I order direct from HelloLucky.com. Angelica has also ordered directly from their site.

Last night, we found two envelopes from Hello Lucky in our mail – one for me, one for Angelica. Each envelope contained a “Happy Halloween From Hello Lucky” postcard and a blank Halloween card with envelope.

The postcard has a playful poem that basically says “Hey, it’s Halloween now, but soon it’ll be Christmas, so send this free card to someone now and make sure to plan ahead so you can send awesome cards for the holidays. Oh, and by the way, here’s a coupon code.” There are two codes: one for 3 free samples of holiday cards, and another for 15% off site-wide. The coupon codes have a pretty tight expiration date, which is good. This should help drive home the point of “It’s go time. Order your cards now.”

This is very interesting to me. I’m a jaded online marketer, so of course I immediately started dissecting their strategy. But I’ll admit I was totally jazzed to get a Halloween card from Hello Lucky, even if Angelica did get the cooler card.

I like to imagine that companies that are truly driven by passion for making awesome stuff and creating delightful experiences come by these kinds of marketing ideas in a “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to just send some cards to our customers?” kind of way, with the number-crunching and ROI scenarios coming afterwards. Look, I know that this is essentially a free sample mailer. Not exactly a groundbreaking concept, but kickass in execution. I seriously doubt the average Hello Lucky customer who receives one of these is going to say, “Well, duh, they’re just sending me a free card so I’ll but more stuff from them.” They’re going to say, “AWESOME!”

  1. The sample is an excellent reminder of how great the Hello Lucky cards are. I get points for sending someone an awesome card, and Hello Lucky gets their cards in front of another potentially new customer.
  2. The timing is perfect – close enough to Christmas that it makes sense to buy holiday cards, but not so close that anyone will worry about whether the cards will arrive in time to mail out in time for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus.
  3. In spite of having not one, but two coupon codes, the whole thing feels more like I just got something from a friend, not some smarmy hard-sell marketing materials. Plus, I get the option of using coupon code A to get more free stuff, or coupon B to get 15% off. Beautiful, and a nice test to see what folks will respond to.

Hello Lucky faces significant challenges in getting folks to order directly from them online. I don’t have any data on this, but I’d bet I’m not the only person who picks up cards on the way to the event the card is celebrating. It’s easy to grab a crappy, last minute greeting card at the grocery store if I’m not planning ahead. Mailing cards in a timely fashion? Very difficult for me.

This campaign short-circuits those issues, with a physical reminder of the very high quality of Hello Lucky’s cards and a sensible nudge to get a jump on the holiday season. I’d bet lots of folks will be thankful not only for the coupon, but for the gentle reminder as well. Nice work.

2 Replies to “Hello Lucky Halloween Cards and Awesome Customer Retention Strategy”

  1. Yeah, that’s a pretty nice little deal there! The leg up they have over most other online retailers is that their business IS a nice mailer. They’re hitting you right in the heart of the reason you used their product to begin with. As a sender of cards, you know people like receiving nice cards/mailers so you’re predisposed to the joy of receiving one as well. I guess for those of us in other businesses it may not be so easy to deliver on a campaign like this a Hello Lucky did, but that’s the marketing challenge, I suppose. Thanks for sharing, Surj.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Brian.

    I’ve been working on a lot of free sample programs lately, which on the surface seems similar to this, but the logistics and fulfillment costs take it from a no-brainer to a real ordeal in some cases. Plus, if it’s an open program it gets picked up on free sample websites almost immediately, and you end up “acquiring” a lot of “subscribers” who don’t have any interest in your product at all beyond it being free. These folks will happily bulk up your email list with bogus addresses that contribute to deliverability issues on your first send. Not real great ROI.

    But… let’s say you’re an online marketer at a company that sells high end skin care products, for example – you may know some folks like that. ;) I think it’d be reasonably easy to segment out a group of customers with high repeat purchase rates and average order sizes and do something like this.

    I’d partner with brands that are looking for additional exposure and test sending some hot new stuff to this segment. Just out of the blue – “Hi there, here’s something awesome, hope you enjoy it!” I’d include a bounceback card with a coupon code, or even better some loyalty program points to be used towards purchase of the brand in the mailer. Depending on the COGs, it’s probably possible to do a good test for less than the cost of a small banner campaign.

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