Basic Approach Works for Workbook Mailer

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A no-frills letter for an advertising workbook has produced a 7 percent response rate with an expected response of 10 percent by the end of the year.

Florida Mail Press, Old Town, FL, mailed 1,075 copies of the letter that went out with 37-cent stamps manually placed on the envelopes. The letter contained no art, photos or graphics -- just plenty of text promoting the $125 binder-style Transactional Advertising workbook, which is designed to help small printers and photographers improve the advertising services they offer clients.

"There's nothing extraordinary about the letter," said George L. Griffin, director of Florida Mail Press and the signer of the letter. "The only thing special about the letter is it follows the principles of the workbook. The money-back guarantee is absolutely essential. I wouldn't sell it or buy it without it. Not a soul has taken me up on that, but we would honor it for someone for whom it wouldn't work. We wouldn't want them to pay the price."

Two-thirds of the letters went to principals of small printing companies with the rest going to professional photographers. Names were selected from about a dozen lists obtained from printing and photography associations.

"Principals at small printing companies will benefit because [the workbook] will improve their ability to provide better advertising services for their clients," he said. "They will learn how to improve their ads and their clients' ads.

"It's the same principle for photographers because so many of them are thrust into a full imagery business. Many of them must learn how to promote their own services and help their clients promote their businesses. The more they go digital, the more they need to know about advertising."

Griffin informs recipients that he has "over 35 years of active engagement in the advertising profession and [he's] even more convinced that advertising is a wasteland." He also writes that "at least nine out of every $10 spent on advertising is wasted."

The loose-leaf workbook is described as a study course presented in 10 lessons. The back of the letter includes a pull quote that reads: "When times are good even bad ads can work. When times are bad only good ads work."

The $125 price of the workbook, which is about 100 pages, is described as "far less than a seminar or workshop on the subject."

The company's per-piece printing cost for the pitch letters was about 20 cents, bringing the total per-piece cost of the letter, including postage, to 57 cents.

"We add pages as we get new evidence of how this principle works, and there's no additional charge for the additional pages," he said. "That's a lifetime agreement. Everything we do is done manually. This is a successful cottage industry."

Future mailings to different target audiences are planned.


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