Another Direct Mail Thread

I know we have went through this in other threads but I have Specific questions Id like answered all in one place. We are an eat in/carryout/ delivery pizza/ deli. Our sales are about $8,500-10,000/week. After all the catering and camps/schools we do about half a million per year.None of this with advertising since we opened 2.5 years ago. we have basically been doing these numbers since the day we opened. i feel we could do double with some advertising? that might be expecting much, just wondering about your experiences. Thank you in advance for what im sure will be a lot of help.

  1. What is your response rate from door hanging to direct mail?
    2)How often do you do it/How many per drop?
    3)how long does it take to get a response?(avg)
    4)Has it ever just flopped?
    5)Who does it for you?
  2. whats the % difference from before direct mail to now in business?

I just started mailing my database my new full color menus from Taradel. I’m starting to see a bump in sales. I’m dropping 250 menus each week and they are hitting the mailboxes on Thursday or Friday… Its costing me around $60 to mail them, which is cheap. I don’t want to mail too many as i may get bombarded. My goal is to run my database 3 times to see the full effect.

My sales were similar to yours. I averaged 550k a year. Our shop has been around since 1959 with no advertising.

I started direct mail in November of 2008. I mail 10,000 menus to different zip codes spread out over a ten week cycle. The first cycle produced some good results but the second cycle and all there after were the big ones. 2009 sales 800k!

Cfm Concepts did my menu design and print. Cfm concepts personnel are a pleasure to work with and very professional. They send it to a great company in Kentucky called Mailwise solutions. Mailwise sends all the menus to the post office each week and all I do is order more menus when needed.

do your menus have any offers/discounts/specials on them?

I did three package deals on the first 25,000 menus and four package deals on the next 50,000 menus.
I receive around 90 coupons each week from my menus. I send out an average of 1,000 menus a week.
But the point is my sales went up $200k a year. This January we are up $12k over last year already and I lowered some prices!

All I changed was to use direct mail. It cost me $14.5k to get $200k in business! That works for me.

first off I was able to find a printer I could work with total out of pocket is .36cents each menu
that includes

Full color 4/4 on 60lb. 8.5" X 11" menu; No. 10 envelope w/return; fold; insert in envelope & seal; CASS certification; bar code mailing list; addressing by machine; affix precanceled stamps; sort & band mail; delivery to post office w/postal reports. - $.17

Postage will be approximately $.19@ in our area.
While it is not the 11 by 17 beauties that some have do you think a good 8.5 by 11 will still be effective?
The major up swing to these guys are that I can print off and pay as i go, I do not have the extra upfront expense as with the initial run of 25000. and I get 100 instore menus on 80lb paper to hand out each week.
to summarize:
$500.00 equals 1250 menus mailed a month (325 a week) plus an additional 100 in store.
sounds good?

question number 2,
we were thinking of to save valuable menu space is to place them in envelopes… rather than leaving a block on the back…whats you take on that?

  1. menu, vs flier vs million dollar letter
    I was thinking of doing a full color flier with coupons on the bottom.
    do you think response rate will drop?
    do you think it would be any difference on the million dollar letter?
    thanks guys

Ron it might take some testing to figure out what scenario gives you the best return…How much extra would an 11 x 17 tri-fold with no envelope cost?..An 8 1/2 x 11 will usually not pull as well, however, in some situations it may give you a better return on investment…The 11 x 17 might pull better but not enough to cover the extra costs…The results can only be determined by testing over a period of time…

Also, you need to figure out if your market needs offers to pull or if you make a more frequent effort to get your menu out can you do better without offers…Once folks get fixed on your offers it is hard to get away from them…


  1. Hard to say because I don’t think door hangers really hang them all but it seems door hanging is better if actually done.

  2. Every week I am not doing something else – email excluded.

  3. First day they hit

  4. Yes, during the holidays. People are so busy and are so bombarded with other advertising is the reason I figure.

  5. Staff labels the postcards when not busy and I drop off at Post Office.

  6. Signifacantly up after one year of “consistently” doing it. When holidays became ineffective I discontinued latter part of year but started up again this month. I do about 3k a drop for general direct mail and “always” include an offer so I can track and compare.

It’s very encouraging to hear that nobody has really flopped. We are more on the gourmet end and dont discount often. Of course you need to track these people some how, is there any other way? has anyone been succesful w just a menu No Coupons?

Has anyone done this themselves through the post office?

Im worried about my returns on both ends…i dont want to spend a lot of money and not get a return or at the same time getting pounded and not having the product or people to handle it…

  1. Just sending out menus will give you a kick but it is not measurable – at least not in practical terms.
  2. already answered
  3. Maybe its just me, but I’m usually more concerned with getting a good response than getting pounded. Start out small and work your way up. I started by doing 1k per week and did as much as 4k at different times. What I feel works well is to get a list that you can mail to over a five week period of time. Rinse and repeat again and again. As your sales grow increase the list count. By spreading it out you can maintain a constant labor rate and not have to deal with fluctuations.

The key is to be committed. You can’t just try it and stop as many people need to see the mailing several times before trying. If you stop and do it again months later you will loose most of the campaign’s effectiveness (you can read up on the psychology of it). Better to hit a small group of people frequently than a large group infrequently. Figure what you can afford to do for at least a year.

Change Your Offers Each Time Around:

  1. to fine tune your offers
  2. to measure ongoing effectiveness
  3. to note times of the year’s effectiveness

Good morning Folks,

 Here are a few tips that you can use for on your menus that will generate higher response rates in most cases:

Direct Mail Tips:

  1. Make sure your Menu Mailers do not have the same appearance as a takeout menu that you have been distributing for years. For example, if your takeout menu has always had a green colored cover, change your Menu Mailer cover to red so that customers instantly know it is a new menu with new specials.

  2. The cover of the Menu Mailer is the key. Put a starburst/coupon on the cover that promotes your special offer or “call to action.”
    Example: Buy One Large Pizza, Get One Free!
    Example: New Menu, Lower Price, Coupons Inside!

  3. Offer something for everyone. If you are using coupons, make sure that you have a coupon for every demographic. Business lunch crowd offer, single person offer, family deal, etc…

Hope these tips help, all the best!

Do you have a link or book title?

It seems like you guys mail people in your own database? I don’t think that’s a bad idea, but what about everyone who hasn’t stepped foot in our store yet?

Not off the top of my head but its very common thought in most of all mediums I’ve read on about advertising. Many people need to become familiar with something over a period of time before they feel compelled by something to try it.

Everything I have posted in this thread has to do with “general” direct mail – not my own database.

In five years of doing direct mail I have had exactly one drop flop out of hundreds. I decided to get fancy with a new item, a new offer and a higher price point. I seriously paid the price for that one at the end of November, because I lost money on the drop and lost about three weeks of advertising. I couldn’t drop the rest of them (15,000) knowing they would lose money and they’re still sitting in my garage. When you find something that works (which I had!) don’t change it! I got greedy thinking I’d get an extra $2.00 profit out of every order and got 1/3 the return as normal.

I’m the same way as you - fairly gourmet and we don’t straight discount from the menu price. All of our offers are package deals geared toward families (my main demographic.) All are designed to have several upsell possibilities. A package at $19.99 will usually yield an average ticket of around $26.50.

I do them myself at the post office for half of my area because they are rural routes. The other half of my area are city routes and I have a mailing house handle that. It’s possible to do city routes yourself, but it’s much more time consuming and worth the 1.8 cents I pay the mail house. I posted a thread a while ago with all of the logistics of mailing for yourself.

It may just me being an analysis junkie, but I would never drop without an offer I could track. I need to know something is working or not.

Thanks for posting this thread… It has made me realize that I haven’t mailed menus in almost 19 months - I’ve been sending all postcards. I think it’s time for me to starting sending menus again, especially since we’ve had so many people move due to the housing crisis in the past 2 years.

If you have your artwork ready, I’d like to suggest using for your printing needs. They’re much cheaper than the other players I’ve seen and have a pretty quick turn around. Full color 8 1/2" X 11" menus (with bleed) come in at 5.9 cents each with shipping for 5,000.

Edited to add: My direct mail is also “general”, e.g. saturation. I mailed to my database for 5 years but stopped last summer. It’s much more expensive when it’s not saturation mail, 80% of my database resides in my delivery zone (so they’re getting the saturation mail anyway) and I’ve discovered the joys of e-mail marketing for my current customers. There was just no reason to blow $1,000 per month sending to my database anymore.

By starting a campaign obviously I would stick to it and ride it out. If I did add to my sales maybe 15%-20% would I most likely decline once I stop mailing. Is this the kind of thing where I’m always gonna be doing it? Keep saturating to stY busy? Anybody run once a year? Maybe once every 2 years? Never stop?

When I want to attract new customers, I always have our mailing house subtract out our database from the mailing list. In that way, you can offer one thing to potential customers and hit the regulars with something not as aggressive. I think the Million-Dollar letter is a good way to attract new customers, but the actual wording makes it an odd thing to mail to current customers.

You “will” gradually start declining in sales once you stop mailing.
You “always” need to do it.

We’ve all heard about places that have been around for many years that have a line out the door every day and they do no discounting and no advertising. Some people win the lottery. The rest of us need to keep advertising and working for a living.

we all wish. I was lucky enough to do 500,000 without advertising. Unfortunately that’s not enough for my partner and I to get rich. I want to do 1 million.