July 14, 2024


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Direct Mail can be very effective form of marketing, yet for most small businesses, it seems that most of those mailers end up in the trash before they get read. Here are five tried and tested unorthodox uses of direct mail that get big results:

Exotic Picture Postcards–Not only do you mail at the postcard rate, if your customer gets a picture postcard from Vegas, they’re going tom read it. When they turn it over your headline reads, “Don’t Gamble When You Need _____.”

With a cute headline that ties into the Vegas theme you got their attention.

One printer did this with 400 and got 100 replies. That’s a 25% return! Use other variations too. How about getting some picture postcards from Disney that read, “Don’t Mickey Mouse Around When You Need_____.”

Along the same lines… when I was conducting a seminar last year in

Columbia, I took a list of 25 highly qualified leads with me. I sent each one a picture postcard from Columbia with a brief mention of the program I was doing over there. When my salespeople followed up with each one over the several weeks following my trip, almost everyone remembered the postcard and my salesperson had a much easier time getting through to them. The same tactic can be used whenever you attend a national convention in your industry. The message on the back of your postcard is that you’re at the convention learning new ideas to better serve them and when you return, you’ll contact them to share that information.

From Trash To Treasure — One clever direct mail campaign was a simple

51/2×41/2 one color post card from Roger Mitchell of Dooley & Company Realtors. The back side contained Roger’s photo and an offer to provide a free Home Warranty with a listing or purchase. The postcard was nothing spectacular and got trashed as expected. A week later a standard business envelope arrives to the same homes from Roger via first class postage.

Inside the envelopes were the same post cards that have been crumpled up and the flattened. Attached to the de-crumpled postcard was a handwritten note that read, “Please don’t throw this away again! Roger Mitchell. Thanks!” the first reaction is “how did this guy get it back. Did he go through our trash? He must really know the neighborhood newspaper. The third mailing was a letter. Instead of getting trashed, it got read.

Something Borrowed, Something New — Another type of mail piece that gets high readership is the invitation mailer. When you get a wedding invitation, for example, in the mail, you open it. It doesn’t look like an ad in any way. Getting that mail piece look just like a wedding invitation your readership goes up dramatically. Like with the picture-postcard approach, you tie the headline of your offer to the invitation theme: “We Invite You TO Save Money” or “You’re Cordially Invited To Our Sales Event.”

To make full impact in your invitation mailer, use the following guidelines.

A) It is expensive to use an actual wedding invitation but you can achieve the same impression by printing your piece on less textured paper, vertical format, 51/2×81/2 folded over to 51/2×41/4. That size is printed two to a sheet of paper (2-Up) so to print 1000 you only need 500 sheets, cut in half. Your quick printer will have matching envelopes. (This size is referred to as A-2 or Baronial) If you use a larger size it will cost you more because it’s more customized. Use an italic typestyle that resembles a wedding invitation but not one that is so fancy or ornate that it’s difficult to read. You can use raised print if you like (thermograph) but off-set printing is usually less expensive, is printed on-premises, and should work fine.

Every once in a while, your quick printer or wedding invitation marketer, might have an actual wedding invitation style that’s discontinued or reduced in price dramatically for one reason or another. It’s a long shot but worth checking out. Compare the cost of a real invitation with that of creating your own “mock” invitation. If they’re close and the style is impressive you may consider it if it doesn’t have any reference to a “wedding” on the front. Of course, you won’t need the return envelopes and extra inserts.

B) Print the return address on the envelope flap but not the company name. If the customer perceives that it’s from a business, you lessen your chance of getting that envelope opened.

C) Hand address the envelopes. If you use a label or have it done on a laser printer, you’ll lose big impact. It doesn’t have to be calligraphy but that would make even more impact. You can probably hire some students to do this for you or even some seniors at a retirement center.

D) Use a commemorative stamp. No bulk permit number or postage meter. For maximum impact mail it first class. The ideal stamp is the “LOVE” stamp. That gets attention because LOVE stamps are always used for wedding invitations. Your next choice would be any colorful commemorative stamp. The US Postal Service issues new ones each year so see which ones are available for you, however, you can make a little extra impact if they happen to have one that also reinforces your product or service. For example, a florists could use flower stamps. Car dealer could use the antique car stamps. A movie theater or video store would use the Classic Films Stamps. A sporting goods store could use the Olympic Games stamps and so on. It’s nice though but not critical.

For larger mailings you could use first class presort which does save you on postage, but you’re limited to the types of stamps you can use. Same for a third class mailing. You might want to test the variations and see if using the full price commemorative stamp pulls significantly more for you than the lesser expensive postage rates.

I’ve been helping independent martial arts school owners win since 1992 and, together with my team, we’re going to help you compete & win in today’s challenging market.

If you want to reach the next level of success message me at https://www.facebook.com/worldmartialartsmarketing

About the author: Richard Hackworth is a Grand Master of Hapkido, Taekwondo and Korea Sword. He also hold a Masters License in Tai Chi. Hackworth is best known as the host of the “World Martial Arts TV Show” and “Fight for Your Health TV Show”. To learn more about how to grow your school visit https://worldmartialartsmarketing.com ,