If you ever buy mail-order products … hold on. Let’s back up a minute.
It should be WHEN you buy mail-order products. You SHOULD be an active direct mail buyer.
Why? Cuz you get to see the entire marketing process. How the business takes your order, what the packaging looks like when it arrives, what’s included in the package, and what follow-up sales pieces you get after the purchase.
So, WHEN you buy mail-order products, I’m sure you’ve found, along with the item you purchased, sales pieces from other advertisers. These other sales pieces offer similar products or services to the one you purchased.
Those “third-party” advertisers are taking advantage of what is known as a Package Insert Program (PIP). This kind of advertising program offers a number of advantages that can result in a very high return on investment (ROI).
Looking at the advantages may help you decide whether this is a good option for you to experiment with for your business.
Advantage 1: Highly targeted audience.
You can choose to place your inserts in packages sent out by a company whose product or demographic is perfectly suited to your product. For example, if you sell fishing equipment, you could put your inserts into the packages of a company that sells clothing to sporting enthusiasts.
By inserting your sales piece in the packages of the right seller, you can pinpoint an audience of your most likely customers who are already proven buyers.
Advantage 2: Very high open rate.
You can be certain that every package containing your insert will be opened. Not only that, they will be opened by eager people, excited to have received their package. That good feeling will be associated with your sales piece.
Advantage 3: Immediate credibility.
When your sales piece comes in a package, it comes with the implied endorsement of the company that your prospect has already bought from and trusts. That good-will-by-association amplifies the power of your own sales piece.
Advantage 4: Cost-effective.
Obviously, the company sending the package or newsletter is NOT going to do this for free. So there WILL be some Cost Per Thousand pricing included.
Still, PIPs allow you to reach a highly targeted audience without having to pay the higher cost of a solo mailing.
Advantage 5: High level of recency.
In direct mail, the “fresher” the names you mail to, the more successful your campaign will be. Normally when you rent or buy a list of names, it could be 30 days to three months since those individuals made the purchase that landed them on the list. Those names have lost some of their freshness before you even get them.
But when you participate in some PIPs, your sales piece is in the hands of those buyers between one and seven days since they made their purchase. Now, that’s the kind of recency you can bank on!
Always Test – and Give it a Chance to Develop
As with any marketing program, it’s essential to test whether it works as you go along. Try it with several different vendors whose customers are good prospects for your product.
There are great advantages to PIPs. But there are also a few disadvantages.
First, you will likely be competing with other inserts in the package. So do check on how many inserts will be included with yours. Some vendors guarantee that the number will be limited.
Second, the number of pieces that go out on any day depends on the sales or subscriptions of the host company. This is one reason why PIP works best when it’s added to your other advertising programs, rather than being your sole form of advertising.
Third, depending on the vendor, you may not be able to target a specific geographic area. If that’s a concern for you because of the nature of your product or services, PIP may not be your best option.
Be sure to be patient. Your first PIP may not be as successful as you’d like because you are still figuring out what approach works best for your offer. Allow time to see the results of this new kind of advertising campaign. You may find that it can be a great addition to your overall marketing program.