Following are some ideas for eco-friendly objects you can use in your next 3-D mail campaign, as well as sample concepts for working them into your promotions.
Nuts – “I must be nuts to be offering discounts this deep” “Are high heating bills driving you nuts?” “Let’s get cracking on a solution!”
Acorn – “Mighty oaks from tiny acorns” – could work for insurance, any kind of investment.
Pine cones, leaves – Marquette, Michigan home improvement contractors The Window Store once sent a mailing to existing customers promoting their gutter cleaning services. Along with the sales letter, they included a handful of pine needles and leaves raked from an employee’s back yard. The letter was extremely successful, bringing in enough business to keep their crews busy for several weeks.
Seashell – gift from Nature; emphasizes your company’s respect for the environment.
Shark tooth – “Eat your competition alive!” (Or, if your business has been around a long time or you’re selling a product that’s been successful for decades, make an analogy to the shark. Most of the critters that evolved at the same time as sharks are long gone, but sharks are still supremely successful creatures – you can’t really improve on their design.)
Fossil – “Still using fossil fuel?” or “Don’t let outdated [technology, etc,] make you look like a fossil.”
Flower seed packet – Great tie-in if you’re representing a product that helps businesses (or consumer savings) grow!
Live bamboo plant http://www.epromos.com/product/8815209.html – Also good for a growth theme, or for healthy living (plants are their own little air purifiers.) Or call it a “desktop meditation garden” and let people know your product will save them so much time they’ll now have time to relax.
Small rocks or pebbles – “Help is just a stone’s throw away.”
Eraser – “Wipe away your troubles” (could work with a microfiber or organic cleaning cloth as well.)
Pen/pencil – These are tried and true promotional items when imprinted with your company’s name. Promotional pens and pencils are available now in a number of eco-friendly choices, including bamboo, corn starch, and recycled paper. Pens and pencils make great practical promotional items because they’re almost guaranteed to get used, and frequently get passed from person to person. Make full use of them by including an involvement device in your package for which they’ll need a writing implement.
Pencil sharpener – “Let’s sharpen your advantage.”
Flash drive (USB stick) – Load it with your promotional materials. “Flashy” packaging your prospects are guaranteed to appreciate!
Sticky note pad (recycled) – Everyone uses these and they often get passed around. Print some up with your logo and URL. Make sure you indicate some reason to visit your website or call (white papers are great for this) – but leave plenty of room for notes!
Fair trade coffee – “Wake up to [your favorite benefit]!”
Organic tea bag – or how about two? You could do a “Two for Tea” promotion or fundraiser, using the tea bags as tickets to your event. The tea bag then gets redeemed for a prize; the extra bag lets them get their friends in on the fun, encouraging referral business. (Extra points for snide copy related to Tea Baggers!)
Organic nuts – “My wife (husband, kids, boss, dog, etc.) think(s) I’m nuts (to offer prices this low, etc.)” or “High heating bills driving you nuts?” or “Let’s get cracking on a solution!”
Organic candy –“For the sweetest savings of the year…”
Fortune Cookies (probably best sent in a box) – Fortune cookies have insanely high open rates, and you can order them with custom messages. And did you know you can now even get organic fortune cookies? Why not have your prospects break theirs open to find out which one of several free gifts or discount offers they win? (The message then becomes a coupon.)
Marbles – “The boss is losing his marbles (to be offering a deal like this!)”
Pressure gauge – “Feeling pressured?” or “Take the pressure out of _____.”
Origami – From lotus flowers to sailing ships, no matter what you’d like to represent in your mailing, somebody’s probably made an origami version of it. These folded paper objects are beautiful, intriguing and much more eco-friendly than plastic objects. True, they may not be readily available commercially, but most origami pieces are quick to make and if your mailing is small you should be able to find someone willing to earn a few bucks for folding paper into pretty shapes. (My eleven year old daughter comes to mind!) 😉
Wooden/bamboo spoon – “Stir yourself up some savings.”
Coin – You’ve probably received mailings that had a penny or other coin glued to the sales letter, perhaps visible behind a window in the envelope. They’re effective because no one wants to throw away money, so you can almost guarantee it’ll get opened. Just make sure you have a killer headline to draw them in once they’ve ripped it open!
Balloons (biodegradable) – If you’re sending birthday greetings to your customers, good for you! Make them even more special by including balloons. Or use the balloons to spread the news of your company’s “birthday” or the birthday of a famous person related to your industry (link it to a sale or promotion, of course.)
Candle – Could be a great involvement device, especially for a nonprofit. For example, you could ask them to light the candle on a certain night to show their support for a cause – then visit your website to pledge that they’ll do so (and hopefully make a donation, too!)
Switchplate – If you offer energy-saving services, consider printing up switchplates with your logo and a “Turn out the lights to save energy” message for your customers to use at the workplace or in their garage, basement or attic. You could include them as a courtesy gift with your direct mail promotion, or send them as a thank-you to recent customers, along with a survey for gathering feedback and testimonials.
Book – Who would throw away a book? Especially one that addresses their needs or interests. Books make terrific lumpy mail additions. For maximum impact, send them one you’ve authored (or co-authored) yourself. Best if you can subtly weave persuasion into your book along with useful information – and include a bio page with your contact information at the end. This could well be the most powerful sales tool you ever lay hands on. (If you’re not into writing, no worries. Just hand your ideas over to a ghostwriter – like yours truly!) 🙂
As with any promotion, when you send a 3-D mailing just make sure to keep it targeted, relevant, clear and focused. And if you’re planning a large mailing, be sure to test it on a small portion of your list first (500 names is ideal for a test run.) Good luck, and have fun!