The Power of Inserts
With more than 450 million mail-order packages being delivered annually, package insert programs are a versatile and cost-effective medium that deserves more marketing attention. Perhaps the biggest challenge is creating a package insert that grabs the customer's attention, which is likely to be more focused on what she ordered than on a package insert.
You also need to keep in mind your insert probably isn't the only one in the box. Established programs normally insert from four to eight pieces and may have waiting lists, particularly during the holidays. Some programs provide a special carrier envelope for the inserts, so they aren't scattered throughout the box.
Here are four ideas to get you started.
Idea #1: Discount Offers
Because the package insert format must be lightweight and simple in design, you need to grab your reader's attention with an irresistible offer in a strong headline. When in doubt, the word "free" or a significant discount makes an effective offer.
For example, Current Inc. used an insert to cross-sell checks to stationery and gift customers. The offer is for free birthday cards and gift wrap with a first order for checks.
Idea #2: Samples
In your own packages, you can insert whatever weight you're willing to pay for. For example, Esolis Asian Skin Care inserts a full-size catalog, plus a cellophane-wrapped packet of product samples along with a reply card that requests referrals. This use of free samples is an effective technique for getting the customer to open the packet, read and complete the referral card. The catalog can be used either for customer re-orders or as a pass-along to an interested friend.
Make sure to source code your package inserts so you can track and measure their effectiveness. If possible, code pieces by the month they're inserted so you can track not only which programs work, but which months are most effective.