It was hard enough, back in “the day”, to get your customers attention via snail mail.
After all, you yourself loathed sorting through a stack of advertisements and coupons in order to find your bills and personal letters.
Same went for your customers. But it was a necessary evil and it was likely that you looked through your mail at least once a day.
But “these days”, it’s even tougher! With the advent of paperless billing and email notifications, monitoring one’s snail mail is not the urgent task it once was. There’s no guarantee any more that your prospects will so much as glance at their stack of mail until they are good and ready. Or bored.
So how to stand out? Neon paper stands out…but not necessarily in a good way. It’s hard to brand yourself with any sophistication when you’re printing on eye-scorching pink paper. Glossy full color paper isn’t just expensive; it’s become as commonplace as black type on white paper.
Luckily, there remains a way to stand out a bit and make your prospects take notice. A way to raise their eyebrows and pique their curiosity. A way to get them to want to actually open what you have sent them rather than immediately recycle it.
Bulk it up! Make it misshapen and odd. Mail it lumpy, bumpy, what-the-heck-is-in-there-y.
Before I dive in with some neat examples and clever ideas, let’s talk nuts and bolts of what it means to mail more than a flat letter to your clients and prospects.
- Bone up: Before you invest in trinket one, familiarize yourself with Postal Service rules and regulations. A little research can keep you from getting hit with an exorbitant postal bill. Or a warehouse full of un-mailable matchbooks with your pricey logo printed on them.
- Consider your audience: Most people have relaxed their nerves since the Anthrax scare a few years back, but you still might want to hold off sending anything that spills loosely and messily out of an envelope. You might also want to not get cute with mailings to public officials, who still could be on high alert.
- Send it home. The best way to gauge how an item will weather the postal journey is to send it to yourself. Try to send it from two fairly far apart locations so that you can see what condition it arrives in, after being passed through a few different hands, trucks and offices.
- Test, test, test. Don’t send 5000 kazoos out all at once. Send 100 mailers with them and then 100 more without. Code the offers differently. Track and monitor whether the kazoo really increases engagement or conversion at all. If it doesn’t, you might want to test a different item or offer, rather than waste the product and postage money that probably won’t suddenly result in better ROI on a larger scale.
Now that you understand the technicalities of mailing more than a letter to your prospects, let’s get creative. Here are few stunning examples of clever mailers. See if any of these could apply to your industry, product or services…
Thicker than the average piece of paper, this will add a little curiosity to the mailer while still sneaking through most post office machinery.
Look into cut outs that pop up into all kinds of neat and useful things. Cute origami sculptures that add humor and flair to your customer’s cubicle, or pencil holders. Or even a clever candle holder like the one the World Wildlife Federation sent out to encourage companies to turn their lights off during Earth Hour:
If you’re lucky enough to be able to send your prospect a small free sample of your products, go for it! Anything that works in a tradeshow environment will work wonderfully here as well. If you’re a metal manufacturer, send samples of your final product in cute, collectible disc form. String small cardstock samples on a keychain or dangled from a bottle opener. Here’s how Noxzema packages and mails samples of its Triple Clean Cream.
Maybe your industry or service doesn’t really lend itself to small samples. That doesn’t mean you can’t send lumpy mail. Just get goofy and punny. A small stack of preprinted post-its are a useful way to stay on your prospects desktop and remind them to “stick to the plan” this year by using your product or service.
A magnet could be packaged in a way to demonstrate how your company can help them become more magnetic to their friends or customers.
A company called First Western Trust sells retirement plans. How the heck do you send lumpy, compelling mail for that kind of company?? They pulled it off by thinking outside the box and using the “hidden fees” their competitors often charged clients.
They mailed their prospects a box with a small black light and an image and words that were only visible when the black light was shone on them. Brilliant!
If you’re still scratching your head on how to stuff that envelope with an item that’s both curiosity-invoking and relevant to your customer base, don’t worry. You can simply stand out by using an unusual mailing container. The good news about going this route is that more often than not, these containers are preapproved by the USPS and will not cause you any issues come mailing time.
Although the mailer tube is the most common choice, you can go crazy with all kinds of nifty options. Several companies offer interesting and unique direct mail choices (like http://www.uniquemailers.com/ and LumpyMail.com)
Containers like the T-shirt can below can be pricey but might be a great way to get on the radar of a big prospect.
So what’s in your mailbox? What are some of the most eye-catching promos you have ever received in the mail? What worked and what just made you throw it in the recycling bin even faster? Have you ever experimented with lumpy mail yourself? How did it work out for you? Boom or bust? Tell us below!
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