Direct Mail and Promotional Items

32 replies
Hello there,

I'm thinking about making a direct mail campaign with promotional items (such as pens, flash lights .. ). So I would like to know if somebody have done it and what kind of promotional items did he/she used. Did you engrave the items? Which company did you use to purchase your promotional items? Did you mention something about the item in your letter?

I know Gery Halbert used quite effectively promotional items in combination with his letters. Something like:
"Do you know why I attached this one dollar bill? Well there is a reason. I know it will grab your attention"

I would appreciate if you share similar experience with direct mail campaigns.
#direct #items #mail #promotional
  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    Check out 3DMailResults.com

    If you sign up for free, they also give you sales letters for each object.
    Use those as a starting point.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Orientaltrading.com also has a huge selection of those kind of products.

      You can get a great deal on imprinted pens at www.pens.com
      I like the pens. They look great, fit my fat little fingers and only cost 39 cents or so. And they will bill you.

      I haven't ever mailed lumpy mail before, so I can't help you with results.
      But everyone opens a letter that has a surprise inside.
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      • Profile picture of the author angshuy2k
        Hiya,

        I have done for various clients using direct mail with promo item on them.

        Example 1: Direct mail for restaurant opening flyers with 35% discount coupon + fridge magnet
        Example 2: Online Jewellery opening Letter with free costume jewellery bracelet (cheap one but not compromised in quality + 15% off discount code)
        and many more, direct mail and marketing with useful items for household use really have attracted many customers and did work when I have sent useful household usable items.

        Best wishes,
        Swrajit
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  • Profile picture of the author desmond11
    I'd advise you not to do a MASS MAILOUT, but to simply target a small niche of who you consider would make great clients in the future.

    * This cuts down your costs!
    * Ensures that your target market will get to know who you with multiple mailing to them!


    Try and think out of the box bejanski. Instead of using the same old techniques. Try something new to get their attention.

    If you do this and then re-visit your return on investment, you'll see that this is the best strategy for your business going forward.

    Originally Posted by bejanski View Post

    Hello there,

    I'm thinking about making a direct mail campaign with promotional items (such as pens, flash lights .. ). So I would like to know if somebody have done it and what kind of promotional items did he/she used. Did you engrave the items? Which company did you use to purchase your promotional items? Did you mention something about the item in your letter?

    I know Gery Halbert used quite effectively promotional items in combination with his letters. Something like:
    "Do you know why I attached this one dollar bill? Well there is a reason. I know it will grab your attention"

    I would appreciate if you share similar experience with direct mail campaigns.
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    • Profile picture of the author bejanski
      Thank you guys for all responses!

      @vndnbrgj - 3dmailresults have great selection..
      @Claude Whitacre - Orientaltrading.com - I have heard many people mentioning about this one. You're right about the opening - the curiosity is huge.
      @angshuy2k - that's what I'm looking for. Something useful and creative.
      @desmond11 - I know exactly what are you talking about. Such techniques are better for very well target niche. There are good to establish a look "relationship with the client", which is the thing that we're all looking for!

      Thanks!
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        A few minutes ago, I got an ice scrapper in the mail from Promotional Pens, Custom Pens, Promotional Products - National Pen at National Pen. They are 79 cents in any quantity. I just bought 200 to hand out to my customers. Imprinting is included. With winter coming on, it seemed like a natural. Good luck.
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        One Call Closing book https://www.amazon.com/One-Call-Clos...=1527788418&sr

        "Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle".....Ian Maclaren
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        • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
          Do you want to get a attention to the letter or are your trying
          to use it as branding?

          'grabbers' do not need to be elaborate. I have used a penny against
          a dollar bill and there was ZERO difference in response.

          We also used a fake $100 bill paper-clipped to the top. Worked just as
          good as the penny and real dollar.

          Lumpy mail does get opened at a higher rate, but it can be much
          more cost effective to make the envelope itself more interesting...
          maybe even a little mysterious.

          Be careful when using lumpy mail as postage gets spendy.
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          • Profile picture of the author bejanski
            @Claude Whitacre - make sure you don't send them to non-snowing States
            @Irish Intuition - more for branding purposes. For "grabbers" you're right. It's better to play with the "Real Estate" of the envelope.

            Thanks guys!
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  • Profile picture of the author workers24hdotcom
    Hello Bejanski,

    which niche are you aiming?
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    You also have to remember to weigh your costs, not to be obvious.

    Let's say you spend over $2.50 per mailout to make sure its a class presentation that converts.

    So it cost you $500 to mail out 200 to your target market.

    Let's say you get a MINIMUM of 1% conversion on that, and your average sale is $1,000

    You make $2000.

    Not bad.

    I can see how direct mail works. You have to make sure you can count on a minimum conversion, and THAT average conversion number can never even begin to be calculated in less that 200 numbers.

    So you have one that converts at 1% lets say, and you make $2000 for every $500 you spend.

    And you spend 2.5 grand per week... and you make $10 grand.

    Thats not a bad system if it can work.

    You are spending ten grand per month, and grossing 40 grand.
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    • Profile picture of the author bejanski
      @workers24hdotcom - Small Business/Wired Telephony. One time sale plus subscription.
      @John Durham - You're right. Whatever it is ...I think it would be better than fighting Google $40/CPC. (It's just too expensive to make experiments with CPC Media)
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      • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
        Originally Posted by bejanski View Post

        @John Durham - You're right. Whatever it is ...I think it would be better than fighting Google $40/CPC. (It's just too expensive to make experiments with CPC Media)
        Hmm... what is it you are expecting this mailer to accomplish?
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        • Profile picture of the author John Durham
          Originally Posted by Irish Intuition View Post

          Hmm... what is it you are expecting this mailer to accomplish?
          To generate a handful of call ins that are 60% sold already. Also to put "pens" out there and generate a pipeline of awareness that results in more call ins down the road.
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          • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
            Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

            To generate a handful of call ins that are 60% sold already. Also to put "pens" out there and generate a pipeline of awareness that results in more call ins down the road.
            How long do you hold onto an average pen for before it is lost?

            Have you noticed that majority of these types of pens work
            for about 5 minutes?

            Do people read micro-print on pens?

            Are the marketing results measurable?

            I can see using these as a 'grabber', but for actual sales. I don't
            understand how it brings in sales. The enclosed letter better make
            the sale and the pen hopefully inspires reciprocity.
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            • Profile picture of the author John Durham
              Originally Posted by Irish Intuition View Post

              How long do you hold onto an average pen for before it is lost?

              Have you noticed that majority of these types of pens work
              for about 5 minutes?

              Do people read micro-print on pens?

              Are the marketing results measurable?

              I can see using these as a 'grabber', but for actual sales. I don't
              understand how it brings in sales. The enclosed letter better make
              the sale and the pen hopefully inspires reciprocity.
              Im no expert at direct mail, but my intention was to engage the law of reciprocity and make it a really nice pen, that comes along with a nice presentation folder and business card... I think it will get 3-5 out of 100 peoples 100% attention if it is a total class package, and the pen is presented as a GIFT... not so much an advertisement. I also think it would be important to keep mailing these same people every time you get a new pen designed or a new promotional item.

              This is all theory for me because I havent tried a direct mailing....only classified ads...

              However, it seems to make sense with everything else I know.

              If each follow up mailing produces two additional customers and you grow it and scale it...it could be something.
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              • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
                Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

                If each follow up mailing .
                That is the key John! Following it up continually is what
                creates more opportunity. A one time mailer would likely
                go nowhere... but continued contact (even if the next
                method is a call or email) is paramount.
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              • Profile picture of the author bejanski
                @Irish Intuition - the things that John Durham mentioned and also to make Call Follow up easier in a sense. Something like
                "Did you receive my mail?" - What mail? - "The one with the pen" - Yes.

                How often do you receive a pen in a mail? ... Should I go on?

                @John Durham I haven't tried either, but I think I have the right intuition.
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                • Profile picture of the author John Durham
                  Originally Posted by bejanski View Post

                  @Irish Intuition - the things that John Durham mentioned and also to make Call Follow up easier in a sense. Something like
                  "Did you receive my mail?" - What mail? - "The one with the pen" - Yes.

                  How often do you receive a pen in a mail? ... Should I go on?

                  @John Durham I haven't tried either, but I think I have the right intuition.
                  I was also thinking of including informative articles in the demonstration folder about "Why SEO Doesnt Work"... "Is your Web Designer Nickeling And Diming You To Death?" among a few other sheets...Let's say that for $3.00 you could put out a first class package with value in and of itself.

                  I can see that working, especially if you give to people consistently.

                  Just brainstorming. I tend to talk about these things in one season, and plant the seed, then months later the opportunity to try them pops up... sometimes years.
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              • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
                Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

                Im no expert at direct mail, but my intention was to engage the law of reciprocity and make it a really nice pen, that comes along with a nice presentation folder and business card... I think it will get 3-5 out of 100 peoples 100% attention if it is a total class package, and the pen is presented as a GIFT... not so much an advertisement. I also think it would be important to keep mailing these same people every time you get a new pen designed or a new promotional item.

                This is all theory for me because I havent tried a direct mailing....only classified ads...

                However, it seems to make sense with everything else I know.

                If each follow up mailing produces two additional customers and you grow it and scale it...it could be something.
                That's it! The pen helps the envelope get opened, but it also makes the mailing memorable, and reciprocity is at work.
                National pen has pens that look good and last for a long time. I buy them by the gross to give to customers. Do the imprints result in later sales?

                No. I've never seen that happen. But the pen gives you a point of reference. And nobody ever says "You're the jerk that gave me that nice pen? Never call me again!"

                I used to send coffee mugs saying "World's Greatest Marketing Genius" on the side. I sent them to people that bought my book, to help sell my course. They added about $2 to the mailing cost, but these were my buyers. So it was profitable.

                I do have direct mail experience. I would never send a gift (even a 39 Cent pen) to a cold list. To a list of buyers? (of a product appealing to the same audience) Sure. But cold? No. A postcard to have them raise their hand showing interest, and then the mailing begins in earnest.
                Or people responding to online ads, SEO listings, videos, classified ads, etc.

                But spending $2 sending sales material to cold lists of non proven buyers.....is almost a sure recipe for huge losses.

                Sending these gifts to a cold list for followup with a phone call? By a trained telemarketer? Absolutely.

                By the way, it may as well be said, followup mailings never produce as much as the first mailing. But typically mailing #2 and #3 will, combined, equal the results of the first mailing. Of course, this isn't set in stone...but it happens most of the time in my mailings, and the mailings of fellow direct marketers. In other words, if you lose money on the first mailing, don't mail them a second time hoping for a better result, it won't happen.


                Any direct mail guy here will tell you about the same thing.
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    • Profile picture of the author RRG
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      You also have to remember to weigh your costs, not to be obvious.

      Let's say you spend over $2.50 per mailout to make sure its a class presentation that converts.

      So it cost you $500 to mail out 200 to your target market.

      Let's say you get a MINIMUM of 1% conversion on that, and your average sale is $1,000

      You make $2000.

      Not bad.

      I can see how direct mail works. You have to make sure you can count on a minimum conversion, and THAT average conversion number can never even begin to be calculated in less that 200 numbers.

      So you have one that converts at 1% lets say, and you make $2000 for every $500 you spend.

      And you spend 2.5 grand per week... and you make $10 grand.

      Thats not a bad system if it can work.

      You are spending ten grand per month, and grossing 40 grand.
      Good points, John.

      All that matters is ROI, not how much you spend. Of course, you have to have some sort of budget to invest to do some testing.

      But as John points out, the smaller the number, the harder it is to really assess whether the test was successful.

      For example, you send 100 pieces and you get zero response.

      But maybe if you had sent 500, you get 5 responses, or 1%. And the 100 that didn't respond were just part of the larger 500-piece mailing.

      The more targeted your list, the better off you are doing these sorts of smaller, costlier mailings.
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  • Profile picture of the author laird
    Promotional items are great as supporting brand elements that remain after the original direct response email was read (and hopefully acted upon) if that's your ultimate goal. (I used to work a lot with ASI and PPAI a good number of years ago.)

    Pens, biz card magnets, coffee mugs, notepads, hilighters, stress balls are all wonderful for novelty and elements showing off your brand, but are you trying to build your brand right now or build sales? If you got deep pockets, strive for both simultaneously, however most folks would rather build sales today.

    I think tying a promotional product or lumpy item with the sales letter is a better bang for your buck.

    Can I ask what product/service you're trying to sell and to whom you are sending the direct mail to?
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    • Profile picture of the author bejanski
      @John Durham - I have also informative materials, but Gary Bencievenga doesn't suggest to include them. He says that the eventual prospect would get confused if you send them two items in the mail. (I assume you don't want to just educate them.In other words you have a sales letter attached)
      @laird - brand and sales. I would expect a pen would increase the cost of the campaign with 30%. Target - Small Business owners. VOIP Industry.
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  • Profile picture of the author laird
    Cost depends on the type of pen and quantities you want.

    For instance a 1 color imprint on a Bic Clic Stic and 300 quantity will run you 47 cents each, no set-up charge and FOB shipping (5lbs).

    Meanwhile the gorgeous Sheaffer Prelude will run you $44 each (in quantities up to 24) and 1 line of text.

    (Yeah I cheated. I looked in my vendor catalogs)
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  • Profile picture of the author Yogini
    I have a few massage therapists that have repurchased my stress reduction booklets in bulk to send as promotional tools and they include a coupon for their services with it. I know that it can get expensive mailing things as Claude pointed out. If it's used with an offer to come in for a free 30 minute session for a family member or friend that though can work well, depending on the profession.

    Also, for customers or clients that haven't been seen in a while, sending something is very nice. It doesn't have to be a promotional item, but can even be clipping an article about something important to your customer such as an article on dog health or new research on a medical condition they have.

    Debbie
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    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Originally Posted by Yogini View Post

      I know that it can get expensive mailing things as Claude pointed out.
      I tend to think more in terms of ROI... but yeah cutting cost was never my forte. I have always been taught that in order to accomplish something new...you just do whatever it takes to hit the bench mark, then figure out later how much it cost you to achieve it, what your numbers are, quantify everything...and then refine the process.

      If you dont have money...you figure another way to hit the bench mark, use other peoples money, barter..whatever it takes.... just hit it, then determine later what it took to hit it, the next time it will be easier because you will see the process more clearly, and will be more efficient.

      I would think a good question to start with would be

      How many of x kind of packages, sent to x kind of prospects... would it take for me to get 5 sales within two weeks?

      Is the number 1,000? Who knows. That sounds like a decent number to me of the right package to the right prospect...

      Again, will be trying this in the future just to champion it, if nothing else.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Yogini View Post

      I have a few massage therapists that have repurchased my stress reduction booklets in bulk to send as promotional tools and they include a coupon for their services with it. I know that it can get expensive mailing things as Claude pointed out.
      The formula I use is that I keep mailing the same list until that last mailing produces less profit than it costs. You can keep mailing, and make it up on upsells and repeat sales, but that's my formula.
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  • Profile picture of the author dave147
    Today I got an octagon shaped fridge magnet from a plumber, looks pretty cool on my fridge
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  • Profile picture of the author jamtrading
    i think i would start off with flyers first and see how that goes before you go forking out...
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    • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
      Originally Posted by jamtrading View Post

      i think i would start off with flyers first and see how that goes before you go forking out...
      er, I have successfully tested letters (cost us $40) and we could tell
      whether or not the piece was workable.

      Flyers for B2B is unwise
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Bush
    I've been in the promotional products & printing business 23 years - I left radio broadcasting & advertising for it. Promotional products are used as incentives, thank you to customers etc. It's target marketing you hand to your customers. There are a lot of online cut rate places. Best I can tell you is make friends with your local promo product person listed in phone book under advertising specialties or promotional products. Just because Amersterdam or National is cheaper doesn't make it a good buy. BTW best thing that was used here locally (Illinois) was a marketing firm bought post cards with magnets attached to advertise a new recycling business. We printed the post cards in Ohio, printed magnets in Kansas to ship to post card printer to have glued to post cards, shipped order to mailing place to label & mail out. Expensive...!!
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  • Profile picture of the author joshef
    There are ample methods these days to promote your business. Using promotional product is one of the best method to advertise and gain. It's a long term process and have positive results in advertising your business.
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