Build a direct mail growth channel (powered by AI)

How Neighborbrite generates growth by custom AI generated postcards to homeowners.

Today I’m walking through a growth channel that combines direct mail with AI to send custom postcards to homeowners.

It’s the first real growth hack I’ve heard of in a while, and comes from a company called Neighborbrite.

Primarily they are a marketplace that connects landscapers with homeowners. They monetize by taking a cut of the transactions that happen there.

The Growth Channel

Neighborbrite had already developed a marketing tool that allows homeowners to generate landscaping designs for their homes using AI. You can upload an image of your yard, and use your imagination to redesign it.

In a somewhat ironic twist, they opted for old-school snail mail to spread the word about their AI designs. The postcards they sent did more than just attract users to the tool; it drove them to the actual marketplace.

The process is straightforward: as a homeowner, you receive a postcard with an AI-generated design of your yard. Maybe you like the design and want to find someone to make it happen. Maybe you don’t, but want to try designing it with the AI tool yourself.

The important thing is that the channel drove conversions to their actual marketplace, not just the marketing tool.

A sample AI generated postcard from Neighborbrite

Neighborbrite leveraged their existing AI generator to establish this growth channel – it wouldn't have been possible without the tool. Sending out the postcards is easy. The hard part is having something that people genuinely find appealing.

The implementation of the direct mail strategy is more straightforward than it appears. Home addresses are easily accessible, and while homeowner names can be acquired, they are not essential. It could even be seen as less invasive to have it addressed “Dear Neighbor”.

How they built the channel:

  1. Select specific residential addresses.

  2. Capture front yard images using Bing's Streetside View API (Google's equivalent is not permissible for this use).

  3. Identify homes that could benefit from a landscaping makeover, either manually or with AI.

  4. Use Midjourney to generate the yard renderings.

  5. Employ a direct mail service with APIs, such as Lob, to dispatch the personalized postcards.

The cost of sending a postcard is $1 (including printing and postage), rendering it an extremely cost-effective method of customer acquisition. Direct mail marketing typically achieves conversion rates between 0.5% to 2%, with the cost per acquired customer reaching up to $100.

Want to use of AI to develop a similar channel?

Keep refining your prompts and test them on a small scale before rolling out the strategy more broadly. You don’t want to scale an ineffective strategy.

Privacy considerations are huge. Personalization can be great, but it can also be perceived as invasive. Neighborbrite's method was successful because the images were obviously from a public source and did not include personal details. It was obviously a public streetview, not someone taking creepy photos of their house.

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