Direct Mail

I’ve been trying to figure out the best type of direct mail to do. Has anyone used Val Pak and what type of response do you get?

What other direct mail companies are out there? I need to get into the apartments around here more then I already do. Some will insert flyers into monthly newsletters, which works good. Others put flyers in move in packages only. But you miss out on the ones already living there.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.


Val Pak is NOT direct mail.
It’s Val Pak - you get a different response when lumped in with everyone else than you do with an individual direct mail piece…

We just got a Valpak envelope at our house yesterday and I noticed that there was not a single restaurant advertising in it. Is this unique to my area (St. Louis) or is it not a good use of a restaurant’s advertising budget? I have met in the past with a Valpak representative but have never tried them. I was thinking about giving them a try but then when I looked at the envelope we got yesterday, I started to wonder if it was a good idea or not.

Any thoughts?


Sorry, I thought it was direct mail. I always see restaurants in them here. Is there a company to work with on direct mail?

I’m currently looking at the Val Pak competitor because I would be the first dine-in/carryout in this area. Helps with the return. My only problem is that it limits to a certain house value and I feel it cuts out some of the people. He tells me it helps in repeat business to use home values though.

Here there is a contract for Val Pak of $1500.00 per year. So make sure its’ what you want to do.


Val Pak is not, as MM posted, direct mail. Val Pak is a bulk mailing. I’ve tried Val Pak in the past and carefully monitored their return over a period of 6 months. My findings resulted in an avg of a .6% return. Meaning, out of the 17,000 envelopes we put out, 102 orders came back over a period of a month.

Val Pak is not your sure-fire sales booster, but will give you modest returns. If you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck you might want to look in another direction because this isn’t it.

Another route you can go is the route I’m going to experiment with. Pre-print postcards (as many postcards as you have addresses) because you can get a cheaper rate by doing it this way. Talk to mailhouses and find the least expensive/best value. Have them mail out a few carrier routes at a time (so it doesn’t hit you in the pocketbook too hard). One carrier route should be about 700 or so addresses. These direct mail pieces should generate close to what doorhangers do (5%-8%).

My strategy is to hit two carrier routes at a time every week until I’ve covered the entire delivery area (16 carrier routes = 8 weeks). Then I’ll start over. I’m going to give this a shot 3 consecutive times and I’ll let you guys know what the results are if you don’t want to take that chance yet.

SaraH, if you’re looking for a bulk mail that will give you adequate response, talk to advo. They’ve got an advertisement called Shopwise that costs a fraction more than ValPak, but will give you better returns (in the 1.3% range).

Jim(great name to grow up with btw) how many addresses for that $125/month?

You can not beat valpak if you want them to print your menu and buy extras.

I have the full color glossy 2 sided menu - 10,000 for $190.00

I use these for all my box topping and door hanging- it can’t be beat.

Valpak has become more of a national offers coupon company.

Clipper mag is trying to get my business now and they are pricey.

If you can afford it, keep your name in front of as many potential customers as possible.

Wow I can’t believe J_rokk missed out on this. If your looking to increase sales in apartments, the cheapest, most effective way is doorhanging. Hit them every month and watch your drivers start taking doubles and triples to the same complex.

j_rokk: Great idea with the post cards, I’ll look into that as well. Thanks for the compliment on the name, it’s worked well for me…lol
Val Pak is a $1500 contract based on about $350 per 10,000 people per zone.

Here, the area that I had thought about doing Val Pak has several pizza places in it. The one I decided to do has only 2 including myself and he doesn’t require a contract. I’m not in to long term commitments if I’m not sure it’ll work.

We did a Christmas card for all our delivery customers with a $2.00 off coupon, it worked really well for us.

And that data base continues to grow each week we get new customers since we’re only 4 months old.



Alot of the apartments around here have security locks on the doors. When I get into one, I leave multiple flyers on the mailboxes by the door.

That’s one thing that Val Pak does do is it hits everyone, but it also has alot of the same types of coupons such as pizza, oil changes, dentists, carpet cleaners, and numerous other kinds.

I’ll figure out the apartment thing, I did get into the schools on their discount cards that the kids sell, it was free for me and it covers numerous schools in my area, oh yeah, did I say it was free!! That could be one of the ways to help out in the schools as well as the school nights.


paul7979 writes:

Wow I can’t believe J_rokk missed out on this. If your looking to increase sales in apartments, the cheapest, most effective way is doorhanging. Hit them every month and watch your drivers start taking doubles and triples to the same complex.

What? I figured you’d be tired of me harping about the doorhaning again. That’s my “end all, fix all” here at my store. The subject was direct mail so I was just trying to help them with my experience (mostly failed experience) in that matter. That’s also why I DO harp on the doorhaning… it’s the only thing that consistently works and gives great return.

And for everyone else who’s reading this post I’ll give you a little insight on bulk mail. It’s the “crap” theory. Their theory, in essence, is to throw as much “crap” up against the wall as they can and then they see what sticks. That’s what you’re doing when you sign up for bulk mail. Or paul7979 would call it “going fishing”. BTW, Gators are lucky. -J_r0kk

LUCKY??? The only thing lucky was that I had some extra employees show up unscheduled after the game to help out. Third best night ever and double the best Monday ever. Just remember if you’re not a Gator, then you’re Gator Bait! I’ll save the rest of the rant for the sports boards.

I have used val pak every month for the past two years and it is working great. You must insist with your sales rep that that he keeps you in the front 5 offerings. You don’t want to get stuck in the back with all the other crap. You should get the front spot a couple times a year and use words like FREE to get peolpe to read your offers. The stronger the offer the better response. If you try it you have to stick with it for at least 6 months so each month you should get more and more. We send out to 40K addresses each month and get hundreds back.

I was disappointed with monday. We only did 5 grand in sales. I was expecting at least 7 because in 03 when the bucks won we did $6400.

It was a nice boost though compared to the normal $1500 monday.

I love Ohio!


Good job with sales. Keep it up. Also, thanks for backing me on what I was saying. While they do give you good response and you’re happy with it as long as you stay on them to put your ad in the first 5 or so, let’s look at your returns:

40,000 addresses
hundreds of coupons redeemed (we’ll say 200 since you say hundreds)

200 divided by 40,000 as a percent = .5% return

Now, of course, you might have meant 300

300 divided by 40,000 as a percent = .75% return

The thing you said that amazes me is that you’ve sent these out every month for two years and they’ve only gotten stronger. If that’s the case, when you first started were you averaging much less return? Like just a hundred?

100 divided by 40,000 as a percent = .25% return

I’m sure you know since you’ve apparently done this for a while, that when you’re just getting started or you’re a little bit lower in volume than a great place like yours, the advertising budget you have isn’t exactly limitless. You need to pick and choose which avenues work the best for the money you spend. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that if you truly look at the numbers you posted that maybe, for a small pizzeria with a small advertising budget, there might be better things out there that will give them a bigger bang for their buck?

I’m totally not shooting down ValPak because they are just one of the many who do the same type of bulk mail. I guess all I’m trying to say is if you’re a smaller independent, don’t count on this to be your savior because it simply will not happen. Yes it will give you a few new customers and yes, over time you will probably build your customer base to a much larger scale than what you’ve got now. Also, since they do the bulk mail thing, prices are usually much cheaper than they would be if you were to do solo mail.

This is your crossroads where you’ll have to make a decision on if you want to go to the saturation route or if you want more of a direct mail type approach. Neither are wrong. One route is good for some while other routes are good for others. -J_r0kk