To say that fast-food giant Chipotle has been through a tough stretch lately is a huge understatement. After dealing with outbreaks of E.coli in some of their restaurants, the chain has some serious work to do in order to restore customer confidence and boost sales. Interestingly, a big part of that effort for Chipotle involves using direct mail to re-establish the brand in the minds of the public after its nearly crippling struggles.
Why use direct mail in a world where readers spend so much time online? For one thing, Chipotle knows it will work. The mailing includes a coupon that the company is positive will bring customers into their restaurants. It’s also an integrated approach; in addition to using this physical coupon, recipients can go online for deals and information.
Chipotle also is smart enough to know that they had to do this campaign right. They didn’t just throw “something” out there; they thought it through and came up with a good plan. Here are a few things Chipotle did right with this postcard mailing.
- They kept it simple. The front of the card just has four words, one (great) image and a logo.
- The message was clear. Recipients knew right off the bat that they were getting free stuff. Also, Chipotle didn’t go into a long explanation of what they’ve done to correct their mistakes. The takeaway was to the point: “Come in for free food!”
- “FREE.” It’s still a powerful word in direct mail when it’s used well. Free is really only good if it’s something people actually want. A lot of people like Chipotle’s food; that’s what they’re giving away.
- They included a compelling offer. The back of the card is just about as simple as the front. There’s not much copy—just a persuasive offer with a crystal clear call to action.
- They used an integrated approach. Chipotle tied this mailing into their website and social media channels and offered multiple response options; recipients could bring the card in or scan the code.
- They weren’t afraid to ask. Chipotle assumes you like getting free stuff (who doesn’t?), so they also offer the chance to sign up for email updates, through which you can win more free products.
Chipotle is facing some big challenges, but it’s interesting that one of the small steps they are taking involves a simple—but well thought out and executed—postcard mailing. As the old proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”