Free Sample Gets Prospects Hooked
Sometimes the best way to sell a product is to give someone a free sample. This method has certainly worked for U.S. Diary, a company that provides personalized monthly planners, as well as desk diaries and executive gifts.
U.S. Diary, one company out of many under the umbrella of parent company Executive Greetings, sends out a 71/2" x 11" package asking prospects to purchase a supply of 2001 Monthly Planning Guides to use as thank-you gifts for clients or employees (104USDIAR0800). The textured cover of the planner is stamped with a gold foil imprint of the logo of your choice, as well as company contact information. But what really makes this campaign effective is that U.S. Diary includes a 2001 Monthly Planning Guide in the mail package. Prospects can sample what the product actually looks and feels like, and since a planner is a functional thing, many people will use it.
"Once you get them hooked on a diary, they want to use it every year," says Laura Holloway, products line manager at U.S. Diary. Holloway points out that they want to get the planner in people's hands, because once prospects use it and rely on it, it provides great repeat business. The planner is the company's best selling item, so mailing a sample is definitely worth the cost.
The mail package also includes a brochure that features the variety of logos prospects can choose from, a letter from the vice president of marketing, a reply envelope and a premium buckslip. Holloway says the company recently started testing the mailing with the premium offer for a world time clock calendar and calculator, so it is too early to determine the results. However, they have tested the mailing without the planner in the past and it did not pull as well. U.S. Diary also tests the package with different planners, and the one with a navy blue cover has been getting the best response this year, says Holloway.
U.S. Diary has been using this control package for about four years. Plus, the sample planner has U.S. Diary's name and phone number on it, giving it an added bonus. "[The planner] is a reminder of your company all year," says Holloway.