Here is my secret for getting affluent senior citizens and boomers whose attics, garages and basements are stuffed with rare antiques and vintage collectibles to call me and hire me to sell their treasures online.
In this age of e-mail and social media marketing, printed direct mailing campaigns which adhere to a few proven effective practices, still outperform e-mailings and social media by substantial margins. Don’t forget we are mailing to seniors, people who are accustomed to receiving printed mail, delivered every day to their front door by a postal carrier.
Long before I became an eBay consignment seller, I founded Mr. Mailer, Inc., a direct mail processing company headquartered in Central Florida.
We offered the full range of direct mail marketing services from creative, concept-development, copywriting, list rental and mailing list compilation services. Then, the final stage of mailing processing which included: affixing postage, labels, direct imprinting of addressee information on self-mailers; as well as volume personalized laser letter printing and matching envelope-addressing.
As a rule, we always encouraged mailing clients to conduct smaller, sample mailings of usually 5,000 pieces to test two key direct mail components. First, the accuracy of the mailing list. Second, the pull of the offer made to the addressee to incent their response. If the test mailing was successful larger mailings of 10,000 to 100,000 list addressees commenced; and if not, we went back to the drawing board to improve the offer or rent a more accurate mailing list.
We opened the doors in 1978 and l sold the company in 1983 to a New York City based direct mail advertising agency who was seeking a presence in the booming Central Florida marketplace.
During these five years, Mr. Mailer, Inc., processed 18 million direct mailing pieces on behalf of 192 Florida and Georgia clients. Several of my advertising agency clients represented manufacturers of products and services aimed at Seniors and Baby Boomers so I had plenty of practice accessing these target prospects. So, when it came time for me to incent affluent seniors and boomers to pick up their phones to call me, I knew what worked and why.
Case in point. Whenever I auctioned a rare antique or vintage collectible in excess of $1,000, I’d shoot a color digital photograph of the consignment seller client holding their greenbacks, usually in denominations of $50 and $100 bills fan-folded in front of their smiling faces. I’d ask them to wear my eBay hat as they posed for my picture in all their greenback glory!
Tip: If you decide to do this, make sure you have your consignment seller client sign a ‘consent release form’ which authorizes your use of their picture in any future medium, without compensation to them.
Their color image was printed on one side of a 5.5″ x 8.5″ Jumbo size postcard together with 3-5 lines of copy in 12 point size type which told the story about their auctioned item with testimonial wording about my expert online consignment seller services.
On the face of the Jumbo size postcard, where the stamp and address-label were affixed, my picture with my eBay hat was printed with my contact information from my business card.
Along the bottom margin of the face side of this card this copy was printed in 14 point size type:
“Don’t give your goodies away at a garage sale for pennies. Call Gordie, toll free: 1-800-xxx-xxxx. Look what Gordie did for me!”
So, why go to the expense of color printed Jumbo size post cards? Because, like a mini-billboard, they stand out from the smaller, standard smaller size US Postal Service postcards, especially when they are delivered and bunched together with other mailing pieces.
Tip: don’t use third-class postage. Granted, perforated, first-class stamps are more expensive but first-class mail receives priority-handling by the US Postal Service. Also, if an address is incorrect, the post office is obligated to return the undeliverable mailing piece to the sender with the correct address imprinted on a yellow label strip attached to the returned mailing piece, for a nominal fee. Thus, enabling you to correct any address errors for future mailings. A Cardinal Rule of successful direct mail is to diligently maintain the accuracy of your mailing list. It’s well worth the few pennies the US Postal Service charges you to maintain an accurate mailing list.
Jumbo size postcards were used for highly targeted mailing campaigns of 1,080 pieces to clusters of seniors and boomers who lived in The Villages, Central Florida’s largest cluster of Senior and Baby Boomer retirees. To learn how to identify and target senior citizens and boomers and where to rent mailing lists, go to the Grey Power page of this website.
We mailed 1,080 labeled and addressed postcards. Within 6 days of the November 5, 2005 mailing date, we booked six new consignment sales clients, who called me.
One of these six had a collection of 42 each, Leica and Zeiss still photo cameras in mint condition. Commission earned on this one sale were $49,800. My total mailing, printing, list rental and postage cost for 1,080 mailed postcards was $658.80.
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