Emailer vs. Print Promo (Part Two)

Introducing: The Print Promo

Ding ding ding! That's the sound of the bell folks as we start the next round of this epic marketing battle between Emailer (or as we defined in our last post a Newsletter) and Print Promo. 


Let's Start with the Pros:

When you are looking to make a lasting impression on a prospective client, there is no better way than with a thoughtful Print Promo. Many people under estimate it's power! Sending direct mail might seem like a lost art reserved for grandparents and Chinese takeout menus but less traffic means your Promo has a better chance of being remembered. It's hard for a client to ignore or even discard a well executed Promo, which means it has much greater potential to outlive it's digital counterpart.

Unlike a Newsletter, the design possibilities are endless. From statement Promos like the "Seven Assignments" promo piece by Terry Vine to something modest yet unique like Josh Anderson's pin promo, what matters is that your content makes an impression! Direct Mailers can also be designed for multi-purpose use as a leave behind at portfolio meetings and networking events or sent as a "Thank you" after a recent shoot. 


Here are some tips to help you send a successful promo


Template: There really isn't a cut and paste template for a Direct Mailer piece because there are so many directions it can take. The key is to first establish what your budget is, make the most of the resources you have and of course, be creative. So if you can afford more than a standard postcard, think outside the box. Even something as simple as adding stickers or incorporating 3D glasses can make an impression. Consider your specialty! For example if you are a food photographer, what are some ways you can tie that into your Promo's theme? Perhaps design a mock recipe or cookbook. Once you have a template designed you can reuse it 2 or 3 more times by replacing the images with fresh content, which means it's important your design is financially sustainable. 

Content: Keeping your content fresh is important! Promos should be highly curated with little text; include your name, email, website and a short greeting. It's always nice to handwrite the greeting in your Promo when possible because it shows a personal touch. While working with photographer Carmen Chan, I had a client specifically mention her "beautiful handwriting" before scheduling a portfolio meeting. Don't hide your Promo in an opaque envelope. Why not use a clear envelope that shows off your imagery and encourages a client to open it? Don't forget to consider seasons, holidays and your audience when choosing imagery so the content is relevant to the recipient. You can also correspond your Direct Mailer with other marketing promotional pieces to create consistency.  

Recipients: Since Print Promos are generally more expensive, the list of clients you send it to should be meticulously gone through. Double check addresses and don't send to more than 2 or 3 people at one company. 

When to Send: It depends on the extravagance of your Promo. A less demanding Promo can be mailed as often as quarterly but something more elaborate you might be better off sending twice a year. Oh and don't forget to consider holidays and other blackout dates as well!


It's Not Perfect: 

Alas...there are cons to even the most splendid Print Promo. Firstly, they are undeniably more expensive to design, make and send. They will also take more of your time...time that you could be out there making magic happen.

You can't track analytics in the same way as a Newsletter, which is frustrating for the photographer who loves hard data. If you have motion or video work that you're looking to promote it might be tricky to do this by mail (although John Fedele seems to have made this a possibility). Lastly, a Newsletter connects the client directly to your site but a Promo requires the recipient to consciously search for your website. 


In the End...A perfect marketing strategy Needs both:

Call them yin and yang...peanut butter and jelly...Abbott and Costello...because to have a complete marketing strategy for your brand you should incorporate both a Newsletter and a Print Promo. Why? For all the reasons we discussed in the last two posts. Where one tool falls short, the other will pick up the slack. It also shows clients you have a serious and professional brand. If you are just starting off and can't fit both into the budget right now, don't stress. Just keep this information in the back of your mind so when you are ready you'll be that much ahead of your peers.


* Thanks for reading *