The Secret of Co-Op Mailings…

For many retail and service businesses, Val-Pak and Money Mailers are what they use consistently and what I will call “basic” advertising media.  And they should be.  Their success is because they are “low cost and have a high readership since they go to so many people.

 I’ve read that over 80% of the recipients open and browse through the mailings, probably because everybody knows there will be coupons inside that they will use.  Because it gets opened is the reason it is so successful.

This media can work for odd businesses also and should be tested by a wider variety of businesses that don’t currently think about using it. 

There is also a nationwide card deck that goes “business-to-business.  I have found this works best when you have a multi-step process of follow up, which could include follow-up phone calls to the businesses.

Here comes the interesting part.  I believe that all businesses should do their own shared-cost, co-op mailings.

A dentist, chiropractor, dermatologist, optometrist, podiatrist, etc., are logical co-op candidates.  All of the stores in a shopping center, carpet cleaners, gardeners and plumbers, just to name a few more, are candidates for co-op mailings.

I’ve always believed and suggested to everyone that all merchants can have a much greater impact by working together rather than individually. 

And guess what?  When the big “Giant” comes into town, the small merchants often either prosper together or hang separately.  By banding together, they can survive the onslaught of the large companies. 

If any of you have used Val-Pak or Money Mailers, let us know your results.  Remember, most of the time the inserted piece was put together by the salesperson and isn’t responsive. When I receive them and open them, I’m in awe as to how much money is wasted. 

Can you imagine if your piece was direct-responsive, with more than 80% of them being opened, the results you would get and how many new customers/clients you would have coming through your door?

All you have to do is create a short report.  You can say, call (your number) for a free report that reveals (whatever) before you buy from anyone.

Just one example…

 If you are in the carpet cleaning business you can say the following: “Call (your number) for a free report that reveals the 3 questions you should ask before you hire a carpet cleaner.”

I’m sure you get the general idea. 

Again, If you use Val-Pak or Money Mailers, let us know your results.

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13 Responses to “The Secret of Co-Op Mailings…”

  1. Mike says:

    Great idea, but what about B2B companies?


    Ken Varga Reply:


    Hi Mike, as I mentioned in paragraph 4 above, this can also be done for B2B. But additional follow-up steps should be incorporated, like offering a free report in the card, then a follow-up call (maybe with an additional free offer), etc.


  2. Ken,
    What a great idea!

    I used Val Pak before and the response was terrible. I had the sales person make up the ad aand like you said it was not too good.

    I’m going to try it again with a free report I’ll create and our free “Everything you need to know about power washing and roof cleaning in 4 minutes DVD”

    I’ll let you know how it works out.

    Brian Hegarty
    A+ Powerwashing and Roof Cleaning


    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Brian Hegarty,

    Hi Brian, great!

    To your success,


  3. Liam says:

    Mr. Varga,

    I want you to know I get a lot out of reading everything you write.

    Here is my question: under what circumstances would you recommend using a co-op mailer for lead generation versus going for the direct sale?

    Thanks for everything you do,



    Ken Varga Reply:

    Hi Liam,

    You are welcome! I’m glad you are finding the articles useful.

    Regarding your question, in most instances, it is very difficult to make a direct sale with co-op mailers because it’s hard to build your case in the small space provided. I suppose if you are selling a commodity product like duct tape and you offered 100 rolls for $10, people might take you up on it. But for most products you’ll have to build interest, agitate the interest, build trust, provide social proof, etc. for a sale to happen. There is just not enough space in the mailers to do that. So it’s best to use them as lead generators by offering something free,like a free report, a free sample, a free seminar, etc.


  4. Mary Leedy says:

    I used Val-Pak and what an expensive lesson to learn. It didn’t for me at all, while the peice looked nice, it wasn’t designed by a marketing expert who knows what words sell or get people to take action. They asked me what I wanted the ad to say, almost word for word. This is not my area of exspertise which should have been my first red flag.


    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Mary Leedy,
    Hi Mary, that’s unfortunate! It’s important to have a clear concise message that is direct responsive and is going to a targeted audience. If you believe you have a well-targeted audience, you may not want to give up on this method of reaching them. Part of success is learning what worked and what didn’t work, and then improving the process over time. And, as you discovered, the person putting together the sales message must be capable of delivering a message that converts.


  5. Chris says:

    Ken, I’m glad I ran across this article. While Valpak, clipper and other such avenues have a high rate of open that doesn’t mean it’s gonna get you noticed. I can’t tell you how many of my clients have tried one of these before they become one of my clients.

    Like Mary Leedy they have been ‘burned’ by poor results and been ‘assisted’ by a commissioned sales person rather than a caring consultant. The key as you stated in direct mail is make it direct response. Give the reader a reason to call, fax e-mail or log on to a web site. Make it trackable so you can see the results. Unless you sell pizza, oil changes or clean carpets you are going to have to make your add stand out and work to get more than a casual glance.

    If any one wants a free marketing review that reads this I’m willing to give one. Just e-mail me at chris at lingoink dot com. I offer a free consult no strings attached for small and medium sized businesses.


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  8. Ken Varga says:

    @xbox microsoft points, Thank you for your kind words! Ken


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