I quit the mass mailing habit cold turkey in 2007

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I think it’s safe to say that in most cases, mailing out promos offers pretty much the same return on investment as giving your money to the printer and paying him to set it on fire for you.

Granted, whenever I visit a client or creative, there are usually a few mailers stuck to the wall or sitting on their desks — but there are generally a lot more of them in the garbage. And often as not, the stuff pinned up is either from photographers they’ve worked with before, or shooters who’ve recently won awards or garnered some attention elsewhere and are therefore already on their radar.

via planet shapton.

There Are 11 Comments On This Article.

  1. Patrick Downs (@PatDownsPhotos)

    When I was a Photo Editor (LA Times Magazine) there were a few photogs who did something I appreciated a lot. After a shoot for me, they would pick an image and make a nice small print or two and signed them. They always went on my wall, and became a mini gallery.

  2. as with anything in direct mail, it’s a numbers game. when magazines, just to use them as an example, send out mail to get people to subscribe, they jump for joy if they get a 4% response… but, because they’re mailing 500,000 pieces, it makes sense. similarly, they know that – overwhelmingly – people chuck out the little cards that are inserted in the magazine but have they stopped doing them? no – because they don’t have to get a lot of ‘yes’s’ for it to make sense.

  3. It seems that when I do get around to sending something out to potential clients, it does occasionally get me work, but not always from clients I find terribly desirable. I suppose that could be more of a reflection on the research I have done than it is on whether or not mail campaigns work to promote my business.

  4. let me see, photographer says mailers don’t work, then mails out a kleenex box with his work on it…ah I see, its “promo” not a “mailer”…

    both can be ideas. to be snarky, if a creative can’t distinguish between a good idea and a mediocre idea then that might be the problem.

    photographs are objects, that is part of their appeal. good ones get saved.

  5. Completely disagree… I quit the mass mailing for a few years and moved to only email. Now I’m back to one mailed promo evey other month and I’ve been getting far more work since I restarted last year.

    Of course, it could just be a cooncidence :-). But, that’s the one thing I changed.

    I still do them since they dont cost anything, but I will say that my email marketing has become far less useful. Clickthrough rates used to be significantly higher than they are now. When I started doing email promos in 2005 (basically when I started in photography) not as many people did them… I can see a distinct trend downwards year over year.

  6. Sure lets have the same marketing plan so we blend into a menagerie lack luster creatives. Just what every AD to PE wants to see.

    I have to think that everyone would agree a well thought out marketing plan is needed. Whether it includes mailers or not is up to the individual and I am sure the fewer of them out there works really well for those who are creating a couple each year.

    Yeah, I have to agree with those who said stop sending mailers, it’s a waste of your time.

  7. Different creatives like different things. Some people hate emails. Some people hate physical promos. Some people hate phone calls. I hate to sound cliche – but its all about the work, what you can do / afford and making the time to keep doing it.

  8. Totally disagree. I had two huge jobs come directly from a printed promo I sent out last fall. Put a lot of work into its design and curation of the images in it, and even more work and time into figuring out a tailored list of those who would receive it. It wasn’t “mass marketing” in the grandest sense of the word, but I sent out at least several hundred; the difference is that I pretty much hand-selected every agency or creative who got one. It paid for itself many times over after the first month.