When it comes to your gravy, lumps are bad. When it comes to getting your marketing message through the mail room, past the gate keepers, and onto your buyer's desk, lumps are just the ticket. I love direct mail for small business marketing and I'm particularly fond of something I call "lumpy mail." Lumpy mail is a direct mail piece or package with some dimension to it. A box is lumpy mail. A balloon arrangement, a kitten, a hoola hoop. You name it. The point is you just can't ignore a piece of lumpy mail.
It's getting harder and harder to get your message through all of the advertising clutter so sometimes you need to up the ante and make a real statement. A lumpy mail package screams notice me, open me.
A lumpy mail campaign can give your marketing message center stage attention. Of course, you've still got to deliver the performance. But half the battle is finding an audience.
How to run a lumpy mail campaign
Go to your core marketing messages. You core point of difference or benefit. The primary things you promote when you want to tell your prospects why they should hire you.
Now think of some unique items, trinkets, or packaging that you can use to help communicate your point. We'll jump through hoops to get your business – the hoola hoop. We're the key to your success – a box of keys. We provide total solutions – a box of Total brand cereal. We've got the tools to help you get the job done – a box of play tools. It's very important that you can create a very strong image and metaphor for the message you are trying to communicate.
Like any good direct mail campaign, repetition will improve your results. I usually suggest looking at three installments in your campaign. If done correctly this will usually leave the recipient eager to perform whatever call to action you request at the end of the campaign.
A building series
A very powerful way to construct your campaign, particularly if your audience is not too familiar with you, is to create your three pieces in a story fashion. Each piece builds on the last and delivers an integrated message. You can use this method to build intrigue. Many times I will send the first piece in a lumpy campaign without a company name, logo, or return address. Generally, I will imply that there is more to come. The impact of this technique can be pretty strong. In some cases your prospects will actually look forward to getting the next piece. People love a good mystery.
The Call to Action
Like any marketing campaign, decide what you want the final outcome or call to action to be and deliver it in the last piece. If you want them to call your office, take your call, visit a website, attend a workshop, make it painfully clear what the price of the game has been.
I've actually had clients tell me that prospects who wouldn't even return their phone calls, eagerly made appointments and sometime still displayed the items they were sent throughout the campaign in their office. People don't get this kind of attention from much in their lives and they want it. More than ever your prospects crave two things – content and contact. A lumpy mail campaign had the potential to deliver both with a bang. (careful with too much auditory impact)
How Much For Those Lumps
A lumpy mail campaign can get relatively expensive when compared to, say, a postcard mailing so its important for you to consider two things when you are designing yours. How many clients you can serve and what the lifetime value a new client has to your business.
Most small businesses only need a handful of new clients at any given time to thrive. Lumpy mail is perfect for that kind of growth. Carefully target 10 new businesses at a time, throw the kitchen sink at them and watch your appointment rate soar to about 70%.
If you are in a business that sells a one time $19 product then you can't really spend to much to acquire a new client but if your business can generate thousands of dollars from a long term, loyal client then perhaps spending even $100/new client running a creative lumpy mail program makes a ton of sense.
So get to your local toy store to get the creative gravy flowing and pass the mashed potatoes already.
Copyright 2004 John Jantsch
About The Author
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant and creator of Duct Tape Marketing, a small business marketing system. You can reach him at John@DuctTapeMarketing.com.