Marketing mailing ideas?
July 28, 2006 4:30 PM   Subscribe

Marketing Ideas? I am looking to send out a snail-mail mailing in order to reach out to new clients for my web development company. I already have a list of contacts at several companies in my city, but I'm looking for ideas as to what to send...

I would like to attach a list of capabilities, with the main goal being to drive traffic to our website, where potential clients can see our portfolio and read more about our company. I'm looking for something that can be well-designed. Something that will attract attention, either by unique packaging, or form-factor, or some sort of "giveaway."

I have seen design firms send out magnets, or posters, etc...the idea being things that people like and will keep around, hopefully prompting them to hire that firm when they have a need.

We're not so "in-your-face-creative", but I can spend a bit of money since it is a small, targeted list.

A brochure seems a little bit too un-creative. Then there is the pre-printed corporate-tchotchke route, but that seems too generic.

Any creative ideas? What would grab your attention (but still be seen as totally professional)??

Thanks :)
posted by eileen to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
CD/DVD with samples of your work, link to your web address, etc?
posted by notyou at 5:13 PM on July 28, 2006

If you choose to send snail-mail, it needs to be ultra-targeted. Most advertisements for products or services sent via the USPS are thrown out after only a perfunctory glance.

Your mailing has to be flashy, and get to the point. As for sending some sort of physical object, it should have something in it that people will feel when handling the envelope and prompt them to open it.

Good, inexpensive options:
1. Stress balls with the company name and logo.
2. A mini-version of your product (or didn't specify what the company does, so I can't be more specific.) 3. A pocket/purse mirror with the company's name (people, especially women, love these.)
4. Mints (in a case with the company name/logo.)
5. ...All the usuals (pens, coupons, magnets, note paper.)

In general, the more useful, the better.
posted by tnoetz01 at 5:13 PM on July 28, 2006

Coffee mugs.
posted by leapingsheep at 5:37 PM on July 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

First of all a small but important caveat. Don't get too bogged down on the creative side of things. The copy of your marketing material and the layout will be more important than any widget you sent out to potential clients. Have this part perfect first. Also, make sure you have tested it on some experienced fellow business people whose advice you trust.

As for your question - what I would use would be something simple but creative. You might include a mini-measuring tape with your logo and www addresss on it. You might also include a tag line like "measure how your sales grow with ABC web design". This would be a tangible reminder of the benifits of your core product.

Pens, mousepads etc are to be quite honest a bit passe -
any small-time huckster can think and easily aquire these. Whatever you choose tie it into to the core benifit you will offer to clients.
posted by jacobean at 6:03 PM on July 28, 2006

My aploogies for not directly answering, but you gotta pick up the phone and arrange visits. If you choose to fulfill your sales leads with tchotchkes, your marketing effort will fail.

posted by Kwantsar at 6:56 PM on July 28, 2006

I agree with Kwantsar, wholeheartedly. Face to face is still the best sales method, period. I think that holds true even for web design, as the customers (e.g. me right now) need to have a comfort level with the person/company doing the work.

However, the marketing tchotchkes and/or mailed brochures can still serve a purpose in doing pre-call prepwork for you, as something cool in the mail will at least make your potential customers aware of your company. If it's nice/cool enough, they may even check out your website.

If you do a marketing brochure, it should be super easy to read, have bright colors, and heavy, glossy paper. Think "Web 2.0" sterotypical design, which is eye-catching. (Oh, and copyedit that content to the nth degree, but you knew that already.)

As for promotional products, I would totally disregard the passé stuff like pens and mousepads, as most people I know tend to laugh and throw them away, or stick them in a drawer unseen.

I liked some suggestions above, if done in an eye catching way - with your logo and web address, of course:
--Really funky looking stressballs or bouncing balls, like tie dyed or neon colored ones
--Mint tins or other small candy containers
--Cell phone charms
--USB flashdrive with logo outside and pre-loaded with marketing info.

What works best would really depend on the potential customers, though. A tie dyed stressball in the shape of a funky face might go down really well for a young Executive Director of an environmental non-profit, say, but not so well with a close-to-retiring CEO of a law firm...
posted by gemmy at 9:09 PM on July 28, 2006

Planning calendars are still pretty popular with clients, and those in the popular monthly format can give you 12 facing pages to fill with your success stories, unique web developments & applications, and personality shots of you and your employees. Design them right, and you might even get additional business from some of the people you are putting in them, since people that do you a favor (allow themselves to be a reference) buy into your success in limited ways, and are then more likely to do you additional favors. Elective projects they have in mind, might just become "active" shortly after they become one of your calendar "reference accounts."
posted by paulsc at 10:16 PM on July 28, 2006

I have to weigh in on this as someone who used to be inundated with sales pieces, because I bought advertising and hired designers and chose printers and so on. Skip the tchotchkes. I used to get scads of them - if you must do it, send me more of those triangular pens with the little rubbery grip. I love those - I'll never visit your site, but I do like those pens. My office was littered with that stuff and frankly, there's nothing about a coffee mug that's going to make me interested in looking at a website. A mousepad, maybe, but probably not.

Remember that there are lots and lots of people sending out stuff all the time - printing companies in particular seem to sink fortunes into crap like that. I don't care if they send me stress balls and hats and things that go boing - I want to know if they are a) going to be significantly cheaper than the competition and b) going to be significantly better than the competition. Those are my two cold sales criteria.

What would make me interested in looking further at someone's work is a simple, straightforward, SHORT piece - a beautifully designed postcard will do the trick. A nifty postcard with holes in it or a transparent bit or that folds has potential, but most of all it has to be gorgeous and glossy and it needs to have all the information I need right there. Tell me why, in simple words, I need your services above all the other people who are telling me I need their services. Tell me who you are, what you do, where you are and what you can do for me. Show me why I should hire you. Send me something that is slick and unusual - but not so unusual that I can't figure out what you're selling, because that will go into the trash, so forget a beautiful four color glossy thing with one word and an URL on it: it's annoying.

A clean, simple, beautifully designed postcard will do the trick every time, and best of all, I can slip it into a folder and find it again. I don't want to go around the office hunting for a stress ball with your URL on it - I want to look at a postcard, say, that's very nice, maybe I'll call these people when I need some work like that done, I can file it easily here. Common sense - and after you've mailed the postcard, follow up.
posted by mygothlaundry at 11:37 PM on July 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

(Preface: I read a lot of goofy marketing books, and I'm about to start my own business doing something along the lines of web development. So I haven't implemented a lot of this stuff myself yet, but I know a lot of people, including my father-in-law, who have. And they've made a LOT of money.)

To echo some of the sentiments here, you need to make your content about the benefits that clients will get from hiring you, NOT a list of your services.

I don't know who in the company you're planning to contact--probably a manager of some type that makes purchasing decisions--but more than likely, they don't care that you're a Level 5 PHP/MySQL Uber-Nerd and that your Web 2.0 pages are the AJAXiest around.

What WILL catch their eye, however, is telling them that buying a web site from you will MAKE THEM MONEY. If you have some, include testimonials from past clients (you ARE asking for testimonials, aren't you?) that say things like "After Eileen designed my site, we were able to convert more of our visitors to customers. As a result, we've made around $X,XXX profit from our web site."

Now if you're trying to do more subtle things, like establishing brand identity and so on, the testimonials might not be as clear-cut, but you can still use them. It helps if you can get named testimonials from other business leaders in the area.

I'm rambling, but if you want to learn more than you care to know about direct mail, look into a guy named Dan Kennedy. He comes off as kind of a douche on some of his tapes, but the man knows marketing. He's got a good "No B.S." book about sales letters, and another about direct response marketing (which is what you're trying to do)... definitely worth a read.
posted by cebailey at 6:41 AM on July 31, 2006

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