Direct Mail And Email Gang Up On Dirt: Rinse Case Study

Rinse, an online dry-cleaning and laundry service for people too busy to drag themselves to dry cleaners, wants to know if you are ready to feel amazing in your clothes. That’s from the headline on the website.

Customers can have their cleaning and laundry picked up and dropped off, using the Rinse website and/or an app. The company operates out of five warehouses, partnering with local dry cleaners to get the work done.

Equally new age, from a marketing point of view, is that Rinse combines email and direct mail to engage customers and prospects, using for email and Postie for direct mail.  

It begins when someone registers on the site. Many prospects are drawn there by direct mail. Postie builds lookalike models from Rinse’s existing customer set and creates segments of prospective new customers to market to from those lookalike models. 

Once prospects sign up — and not before — Rinse sends an email to get them convert or re-engage.    

“We go through a whole journey,” says Joe Senn, senior director of marketing for Rinse. “The initial burst will slow maybe after six weeks — they won’t consistently get emails — it’s more sparing, less programmatic.”

At this point, direct mail kicks in again: Rinse will send promotional emails, and follow them up after a brief period of time with direct mail pieces. These can range from simple postcards to lavish packages consisting of brochures on fine paper stock and personalized letters.

With direct mail volume not what it once was, it’s easier to get “a meaningful share of the mailbox,” Senn observes. 

From headlines to copy, the creative is just about the same for both. One recent email — customized for mobile — features a photo of a young man and woman. The subject line says:  "Get excited! It’s time to say bye-bye to laundry day."

The body copy goes on to say: "Clean Clothes? We Got This. Get excited! It’s time to experience the convenience of clean and neatly folded laundry, delivered straight to your door. Give Rinse a try with $100 in free Standard Delivery credit."

Likewise, the direct mail piece says, “Clean Clothes? We Got This. High-quality Dry Cleaning and Laundry, picked up and delivered," and adds: "You’ve already created your account - now get $100 in delivery credit!” 

Side Two of the direct mailer asks why choose Rinse for your dry cleaning and laundry? 

As with email, direct mail can be changed and the timing altered in real time, thanks to 21st century printing technology and a high-tech U.S. Postal Service.  It’s all based on math. “Advertisers like Joe and his team are super quants,” laughs Dave Fink, co-founder and CEO of Postie. “They’re the ones driving usage.”

What is the increase in conversion from using both email and direct mail? Senn will only say, "one plus one is more than two."

Email is also used for transactional messages, but here SMS rules. Rinse will send an SMS message, saying: “Your valet is five or ten minutes away, things like that,” Senn says.

Senn cautions that all this is still in the experimental stage, and acknowledges that “right now we’re gong for low-hanging fruit.” The firm has a reasonable grasp on attribution. 

Direct mail aside, Senn acknowledges that “the majority of our ad spend has been on digital channels, Facebook being the largest historically.” The firm has a reasonable grasp of attribution.

“With email, attribution, it’s a little less important because no dollars are spent against it,” Senn says. He adds, perhaps ruefully: “There’s sweat equity for sure.”

We have only one more question: When are you going to open in our town — New York? 

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