Monday, November 01, 2010

Bulk Mail Design Study #6

Bulk mail received - 1 Nov 2010 - FRONT

5 bulk mail pieces were found in the mailbox today.

  • 1 postcard
  • 3 envelope mailers
  • 2 flyers
Piece 1 (top left): Nice white envelope with gold imprint offering a "limited time" offer for reward points and notes "See details inside".

The back uses a fancy gold sticker. The amount of material inside gives the envelope a heavy weight and an important feel.

Piece 2 (top right): Bold colors and uncluttered design. Safety is an issue that most of us are unlikely to ignore. The back includes two coupons with a large "FREE" and savings up to $3,500, both great for grabbing attention. 

An excellent piece of marketing is this little piece: 

E-mail marketing is infinitely less expensive than almost any other form of marketing. Having a direct, inexpensive connection to your clients so that you can continue to offer special discounts, educate and inform, and build a relationship is invaluable. But is a $10 discount worth just one new subscriber? You bet! Sometimes we assume people will sign up for our newsletter just because we ask them to. But it's usually not that simple. Give them a reason to sign up. 

There is one possible improvement I would recommend. Their offer says: "Sign up for our Email club on our website" - but it doesn't give their web address. The address is only found in place on the postcard, very small and easy to miss and opposite this offer.

Make the path clear and void of obstacles. They should put the web address right by the offer. Or they could make it possible to sign up via e-mail for a one step process. 

They also include social media buttons - great idea - but they don't include any details on their location on any of these platforms, leaving the client to search them out on their own. 

I actually just tried to find them on twitter and a search for "Thompson" and "ThompsonandSons" didn't bring up their company. I had the same result on Facebook. No one is going to work to follow you. Make it as easy as possible.

One other note for anyone that is in the heating, air conditioning (HVAC) or plumbing business. Heaters, duct work and water heaters are all metal, right? If there's a problem with anyone of those items most homeowners are going to go and take a look at it first to figure out why it's not working or what that strange noise is. Wouldn't it be ideal if you and your phone number could come to mind right when they needed you most? More than ideal, it's actually possible. On your next mailer include a magnet, with instructions to "Keep this magnet on your water heater", or "Place this magnet on your furnace". It's the "We'll be there when you need us approach." You could even make the magnet like a coupon for a discount or special service. 

Be sure and order some extra magnets so that when you visit someone who hasn't received one of your mailers you can leave one with them. 

If you use magnets well next time customers in your area need some help they won't have to search online or go to the phone book. They already have the name and your number and they'll be ready to make the call. 

Piece 3 (bottom left): Is it Christmas already? Nice full color photos. The text on the front "Open to the public" almost makes it seem like us common folks are getting a special deal by being able to go to their store. I think they do that on purpose. More product photos on the inside, and the back includes coupons which are sure to be loved. 

Pieces 4 and 5 (center): These pieces are considered together because they are identical - one addressed to me and one to my wife. Nothing of note on the front except the company name and return address and a stamp. The thing about this piece is that it doesn't look like advertising. It looks like someone sent me something. 

Sometimes as we've seen on previous pieces, the company name is left off. The piece is made to look mysterious hoping that curiosity will get you to open it. But why not make it obvious who the mail piece is from? Why not tell them who you are. If you assume that if they knew who the mail was from they wouldn't open it then it seems like your mailing is going to be ineffective right from the start. 

Piece 6 (bottom right): This mini-catalog has a nice fold-back front cover imprint which entices you to open it up and look inside. If you do you'll find coupons and special offers. The entire back is a coupon, with a bar code, which they ask that you present at the time of purchase. One benefit of making this piece large is that the coupon is unlikely to get lost. Wherever you keep it until you go to the store you are likely to see it sticking out. It's possible, unless the recipient is organized with a little coupon carrier, smaller coupons could be cut out and get lost and go unused. 

For that reason an effective approach to coupons is a magnet postcard with perforated coupons. Request a free sample to see this beauty for yourself. The entire postcard can be kept on the fridge thanks to the strength of the large 3.5" x 4" magnet. And then the coupons can be tore off as needed. The multiple coupon approach (some for now, some for later) is a great way to get extra mileage out of one mailing. You get sales now with the coupons that expire the soonest and you get sales later when the customers make a return trip to your store to use their 'post-dated' coupons. Which is something they are likely to remember to do when they see your coupons on their fridge on a regular basis. 

And the winner is:

Piece number 2. It's a solid mail piece with clean design, special offers and an effective invitation to continue the conversation via e-mail. 

Sure, it could have been awesome if it included a magnet and if their website and social media connections were more obvious but it was still good enough to win (barely). 

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