Innovative Marketing Firm Makes a Big Impact with Strategic Direct Mail

“When we started Sales Engine, we thought digital would be the highest ROI channel. Direct mail surprised us as the ROI leader, but it only works so well because of data analysis and timing, enabled by Postalytics”

– Justin Queen, CEO Sales Engine

Sales Engine, based in Wilmington, North Carolina, develops sales and marketing models for their clients. They create systems and leverage proprietary data-harvesting methods that help their clients target the best prospects and establish the true cost of acquiring new business.

The firm specializes in home-service businesses that are constantly in demand. Landscape companies, home builders, HVAC service providers, moving companies, and computer repair shops are some of the businesses that make up the core of Sales Engine’s client list. These businesses rely on referrals and advertising to secure appointments where they can offer quotes, inspections, or consultations that produce new customers.

The Challenge

The Sales Engine team needed to add triggered direct mail to their service offering without spending time and money to create a home-grown solution that would require constant maintenance.

Digital marketing is usually a part of each client’s plan, but the impact of direct mail can’t be ignored. Sales Engine knew they needed to include direct mail as a part of their solution, but they saw drawbacks:

  • Most companies waste money on direct mail campaigns by sending their messages to prospects that don’t fit their customer profiles, cost too much to convert, or are not ready to buy.
  • The whole process of creating direct mail campaigns was complicated. Involved too many people and organizations, took too much time, and required stockpiling a high volume of materials like postcards to achieve reasonable per piece price points.

Sales Engine would have to overcome these obstacles if direct mail was to work for their clients.

The Solution

Sales Engine Adds The Postalytics Agency Edition To Their Service Offering

Rather than taking years to develop their own automated direct mail system that shielded their clients from the time-consuming details, Sales Engine invested in the Agency Edition of Postalytics. The Agency Edition provided everything Sales Engine sought in a direct mail solution for their clients, and more. Postalytics fit perfectly with the firm’s philosophy of eliminating as much operational handling as possible so they could concentrate on strategies with their clients.

“We could have built the direct mail component ourselves, but it would have slowed us down,” said Sales Engine CEO Justin Queen, “Because Postalytics already had all the functionality we needed, we re-directed resources we would have spent building our own solution into our data analysis systems. This allowed us to ramp up quicker.”

The Results

Precisely targeted mailers that convert at high rates. And happy clients.

The key to high ROI direct mail is sending the right message to the right prospect at the right time. Most direct mail campaigns don’t do that. Marketers typically identify broad demographic parameters and then send lead-seeking offers to the entire list. A reasonable price per piece usually requires ordering large quantities of materials from print service providers that won’t accept low volume jobs. Home service providers waste marketing dollars on this legacy method and experience lackluster results.

Sales Engine approaches the challenge much differently. They use a client’s CRM data or a Sales Engine data source to pinpoint when a potential customer is likely to be in the market for the service their client provides. This allows them to introduce the service provider to each prospect at high-probability points in the buying cycle. Instead of bulk mail, Sales Engine may send a single targeted mailpiece, followed up with more direct mail, phone calls, and electronic communications. Postalytics is the system that works with internal Sales Engine applications, consistently supplying their clients with profitable leads.

Here’s an example of how Sales Engine works for a custom, high-end home builder: 

oversized postcard automatically triggered when lot is purchased
  • Sales Engine notices when high-priced, undeveloped residential building lots are sold.
  • Using Postalytics, Sales Engine sends the new property owners a series of compelling mailpieces introducing the home builder. Each touch uses the oversized, 6×11 format, and because of the time sensitive nature of the mailings, first class postage. The first contact arrives mere days after the real estate transaction closes. This gives the builder a big advantage over competitors who must mail in large monthly or quarterly batches.
  • Additional contacts expand the relationship to include email or other communication channels.
  • Sales Engine’s Marketing Engineers monitor progress and coach the builder’s sales staff to follow up with the prospects. They also track success rates and calculate the cost per sale.
  • By contacting new property owners who will build million dollar homes soon after they purchase their lots, the custom home builder enjoys a superior conversion rate and a steady source of referrals from satisfied homeowners.

“When we started Sales Engine, we thought digital would be the highest ROI channel. Direct mail surprised us as the ROI leader, but it only works so well because of data analysis and timing, enabled by Postalytics,” said Queen.

What’s Next?

Sales Engine now includes direct mail fueled by Postalytics in every client’s marketing plan. Future expansion includes strategies to incorporate Postalytic’s personal URL’s (PURL’s) into the mail pieces, allowing for even more precise targeting and tracking.

Sales Engine’s clients are not always direct mail believers. Their prior experience with mail may have been with legacy methods. They dealt with buying a list, working with designers and printers, and, after a long lead time, finally mailing high volumes to designated zip codes. Once Sales Engine explains how triggered mail works, client resistance to mail usually fades away.


Sales Engine’s unique approach was missing a critical success element for home service businesses-direct mail. Incorporating Postalytics into their strategy allowed Sales Engine to spend their time and money working on other parts of their business without having to worry about details like mailpiece design or recruiting a network of printers willing to handle triggered mail campaigns. Strategically positioned direct mail sent at opportune times makes the messages stand out and produces positive results for Sales Engine clients.