Does Print And Mail Advertising Work? Definitely Yes! (Written January, 1997)

I believe that print and mail advertising definitely works when done properly! In this article I will explain what print and mail advertising is, what it is supposed to be used for and how to make it work.

Print and mail advertising is whereby a person can get their circular(s) mailed with other flyers inexpensively and in smaller quantities. Unlike tabloid publications that have a stated circulation, with print and mail advertisers, you may have as little as 1,000 mailed or you may have up to 100,000 mailed.  For example a tabloid publication may have a circulation of 10,000.  Well every copy for that publication must have your ad in it because it is printed on a giant web press. So in order to advertise in that publication, you must pay for the 10,000 circulation. Ok? What are your alternatives? You can do a mailing yourself. You buy the envelopes, mailings lists and the printed material. Then you take the time to put this mailing together and then get it out in the mail. Pain in the neck for most of us. The only real alternative to tabloid publications is print and mail advertising. With print and mail advertising you can have 1,000 printed and mailed if you like. If you prefer you can have more printed. You are in full control of the amount you want printed and mailed. That is the beauty of it. Why? Because a print and mailer does not put your ad in a tabloid publication. Instead your circular is printed by itself and then collated with other flyers together in one attractive package and then sent to potential customers. This is great for everyone who is on a limited budget and it is great for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money.

With print and mail advertising, you usually can have your flyer or circular distributed quicker and cheaper.  Quicker because there usually aren’t any deadline dates. Basically your order is received today and printed tomorrow. Then it is collated in a mailing for next week’s mail. With tabloids there usually is a deadline date so the publication can be put together and then sent to printer. Print and mail advertising is usually cheaper also. Since your flyers are being mailed with others and being printed independently of others, it isn’t necessary to wait for anything. Therefore the work to put together a mailing is evenly distributed and your overall cost to advertise is usually cheaper.

Now this is not to say print and mail advertising is better. Like with any advertising you must constantly test your offer. One offer may be better suited for print and mail advertising and one offer may be better suited for tabloid advertising. Other offers may be better suited for other avenues of advertising. Your offers must be constantly tested, retested and further retested. A constant testing of current offers and new offers is necessary to successfully promote. Now that I got off the subject let me go back.

Print and mail advertising should be used to test your offer(s). Then if it does well, you may wish to expand your efforts into other avenues. Remember it’s quicker, cheaper and you may only mail a small amount to get a “feel” for the potential of your flyer.  If it doesn’t do well with your initial test, you may wish to “change” part of the offer and try it again. For example you are promoting something and you really don’t know how it’s going to do. You want it to do well, but since you have never did anything with it, you are not sure what to expect. You have a print and mailer mail out 5,000 copies next week. You give it a couple of months and you see that your total response was less then what you desire. So now you “change” your offer and make it more attractive and again you have a print and mailer mail 5,000 and again you wait a couple of months, but this time you are ecstatic about the results. The change worked well! Now you know you have a good offer.  Now you may wish to get into your own mailings, etc. The key here is that you tested your offer inexpensively with a print and mailed. Despite what you may wish, testing will take some time, some effort and some money.  But be patient, track your results, and keep your creative juices flowing.  Do not jump head long into what you think might work without first testing it. Using print and mail advertising is your quickest and cheapest advertising available to test what you have.

Print and mail advertising like almost all advertising should be used to generate a lead, which you are then going to follow up. Now most of the time I recommend offering the information free and then you should send out your information pack. A few more letters and phone calls would dramatically increase your results. The reason I think you should offer your information for free is because if it really has a benefit to your potential prospect, it is worth it to you to send it free and then follow up on it. If the information you send has value, your prospect will see it immediately and jump aboard! But critics will argue with me and feel you should pre-qualify your prospect. Charge them a stamp or maybe even a dollar for your information. Keep in mind this will dramatically decrease your response, but increase the amount of more qualified leads you get. Either way is acceptable, but the key is that the initial contact your prospect has with your company is for free information. It’s up to you to go like gang busters after this prospect now that you know their interested.

One final thought to keep in mind. As with all advertising, since it is a service oriented business, I highly recommend you contact any advertiser that you plan to do business with and open up a dialogue with them.  Since trust is a major part of all advertising, you must feel comfortable with whom you are dealing with.  If you are uncomfortable, do not deal with that advertiser. Happy printing and mailing!

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.