Let’s face it–most mail advertising ends up in the trash. That’s why small-business owners and entrepreneurs need to ensure that their mailings are low in cost and high in impact. Here are some examples of mailings that got results:


While in Las Vegas for a quick printers’ convention, the owner of a print shop bought 400 picture postcards from the MGM Grand. Back at her shop, she hand-addressed them to 400 businesses that were not currently her customers.

The message on the postcard read, “Don’t gamble with your printing needs. Bring this postcard in for a 10 percent savings on your first printing order.” She received 100 redemptions! That’s a 25 percent return.

The reason? It didn’t look like junk mail. If you got a picture postcard from Vegas, you’d probably think, “Who do I know in Vegas, and how much did they win?” Then you’d turn it over and read “Don’t gamble with your [insert the name of the service].”

It’s a safe bet that you’d remember the offer.


My favorite postcard mailing was done by a real estate agent who sent plain postcards to several hundred homes. He was offering a free home warranty if you listed with him. The card was gray stock with black ink and looked like junk mail. Not surprisingly, 100 percent of the mailing was trashed.

A week later, those same homes received envelopes. Inside were identical postcards that had been crumpled up and then flattened. Attached to the crumpled cams was a yellow sticky note that read, “Please don’t throw this out again! This is important.”

People must have been saying to themselves, “Is this guy going through the trash? He must really know the neighborhood. We have to give him a call!”


And then there’s the interesting use of an inexpensive postcard mailing by the owner of a scuba equipment store in San Francisco. The card announced that the store was planning a diving trip to Maui. Many customers inquired about the trip, but only a third signed up.

The storeowner made a list of those who didn’t go. From Maui, he sent them picture postcards with a brief message about what a wonderful time they were having. What a great way to build up strong interest for future trips!

He also gave participants three stamped postcards and asked them to write a “wish you were here” message to their diving friends back home. That was a great way to generate referral business.


A hair stylist used greeting cards when he switched salons. He was disappointed that 18 customers didn’t make the switch. Each month he would send them a different greeting card and simply write the message, “I miss you.”

One month, he only mailed his business card with that same message on the back. Over the next 12 months, all 18 customers returned to his styling chair.

Jeff Slutsky is president of Street Fighter Marketing in Columbus, Ohio. He is a speaker and author who specializes in low-cost sales and marketing tactics.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Success Holdings Company, LLC
COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

Trust Yourself Trust Others - By Mike Lipkin