Mytireshop.com: Online Company, Offline Fail

I originally flagged these two postcards I recently received on the same day from mytireshop.com because two of them arrived at the same address on the same day — one for someone who, to my knowledge, has never lived at the address. That would make it an easy Fail for List and an example of the importance of doing a list dedup; after all, if you are willing to address your mail to “Current Resident,” there is nothing to be gained from sending two pieces of mail to the same residence.
For me
Not for me 
Inspecting the postcards further, this appears to be example of how an online business fails in its use of offline media in other ways:
  • There is not a specific Call to Action. It appears the objective of the postcard is to motivate people to visit www.mytireshop.com. However, the message about the website is that it is “your Fast, Local Tire Source.” The call to action should be specific, i.e., “Shop Tires Online at mytireshop.com”, with supporting features and benefits messaging.
  • The URL is lost in the copy. It is the same weight as the rest of the copy, without a “www” preceding it, making it easy to get lost. It should have some distinction — at minimum an underline, different color, or italics. Having a “www” in front makes it clear that it is a website. Granted, the concept of having to explain that something is on the World Wide Web is a bit passé, but, perhaps, that is why there is a “www” in front of the same piece’s mention of www.generaltire.com. Which leads to …
  • There are multiple possible actions from the communication. If a customer visits the General Tire website, they receive general information about the brand, but not about mytireshop.com. So why have multiple URLs on the same communication? Here’s my speculation: General Tire was willing to co-fund the postcard to promote their brand. That’s fine, but the postcard suggests that mytireshop.com sells only General Tires. It would have been better for mytireshop.com — and the potential customer — for the postcard to explain that “mytireshop.com sells General Tires and other fine brands” or have a similar headline-level message. 
  • Benefitmessages are missing. The features messaged here are specific to the tire, the ability to install the same or next day, and that it is a “Faster, Local Tire Source.” (How is a company with a foreign-seeming toll-free phone number local?) The benefits that could be messaged but are not are Peace of Mind, Ease of Use, Joy, and so on. For example, “Install the same or next day” could be “Relax. Visit www.mytireshop.com today and enjoy your new tires tomorrow.”
  • There is no method of tracking success. Customers go through a sales funnel: Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Desire, Action. The business behind mytireshop.com could easily learn how many customers move from Awareness (receiving the postcard) to Interest (visiting their website) by using a personalized URL that tracks who visited the website — or, at the very least, a vanity landing page specific to the mailing to count site visits. Once online, both methods can be used, along with Google Analytics, to see how many people complete the sale process — and how. 
  • Mytireshop.com
    Postcard front - heavy on GT
  • The phone number is not mentioned as toll-free. While most people know that “800”, “888”, and “877” are toll-free phone numbers, many consumers do not yet recognize that “866”, “855” and “844” are also toll-free. Some people might counter this by explaining that most people use mobile phones with unlimited voice usage or pay regardless of the phone number; however, there are still people that call from landline phones. For those who prefer to call from home rather than visit the website, this piece should help get them from Awareness to Interest by reminding them that the call is free.

These are Fails for Creative and reminders to spend your marketing dollars wisely.

  1. When mailing to homes by address, dedup your list by address.
  2. Have a clear call to action that stands out.
  3. Include only one call to action and one URL on a communication.
  4. Communicate benefits.
  5. Establish and utilize a results tracking method.
  6. If your phone number is toll-free, message it as such.