Keys to success for any direct mail effort
The direct mail business card mailer sold by The Daily Star in Oneonta, N.Y., reached 10,000 households in Oneonta, West Oneonta and Cooperstown and earned a 39 percent profit margin for the paper. This was one of the entries in SNPA's Best Revenue Contest.
The Daily Star, which has a circulation of 12,000, is published by Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. Mitchell D. Lynch is publisher.
Lynch, who submitted the entry, said the direct mail business card mailer has perforated edges around the cards to make it easy to take the cards apart.
It was a seven-inch by seven-inch tri-fold product (on card stock) consisting of 19 advertisers. The premier spot was a three-inch by four-inch ad printed front-and-back, and priced at $699.
The other 18 advertisers each received a double-sided, full-color business card size, which was perforated for easy removal. Each of these were priced at $299.
Local advertisers were able to reach their core market for less than 3 cents per address.
Mitchell said, "The product completely sold out, with additional advertisers that wanted to participate but were unable to do so (for lack of availability), in approximately two weeks."
He said, "We had tried a direct mail piece before, but it was not profitable in its current format. Our customers were excited about this type of direct mail piece and we have several waiting for the next one." He said the paper's advertisers and the public are "coming to truly understand that we are more than a newspaper."
When asked about tips for other newspapers that might want to produce a mailer like this in their market, Sean Lewis, advertising sales director, said: "Our recent success in selling and distributing a 10,000 piece shared direct mailer can be attributed to two practices that we use in any new product launch.
"These practices are 1) performance of a comprehensive needs assessment of the market and key individual players; and 2) designation of a champion tasked with the success of the effort."
He said, "Many an idea has been a winner in the conference room and an absolute loser on the streets. It is easy to fall in love with a product or promotion, especially if you had a hand in its creation. What truly matters, however, is whether your customers and potential customers are as excited as you may be about the effort.
"Asking key advertisers if they would have an interest in such a product is vital to its success. So is incorporating questions within the everyday needs assessment process designed to gauge opportunity in a particular area. In short, jumping into the deep end of the pool without first knowing the temperature of the water can be a chilling experience.
"Additionally, tasking someone on your sales staff to be the 'champion' of any new product or promotion is also key to a successful launch. Whether it is a manager or a sales rep given this special designation, the champion will keep track of sales, keep the effort top-of-mind and provide crucial communication of successes, sold premium locations, goal attainments and the like."
He said Michele Clapperton, the paper's alternative media specialist, filled this champion role for The Daily Star and brought home a winner. "Without a good champion," Lewis said, "efforts can fall through the cracks, taking the expected revenue with them."
Read below what some of our contest judges had to say about this entry. And, add your own comments.