By Darren E Laws
The other day I was reminded of the power of excellent local marketing when a leaflet popped through the door from a pub trading about a mile from my home. The leaflet was a folded A4 newsletter, it had spectacularly bad design. In fact its lack of design was part of its genius or rather the simplicity of it was. There was no graphic design, just a few sectioned areas that related activities the pub was undertaking through November, some samples of the food sold in the pub, and special offers.
A simple message told without any distracting graphics. The result of this naive missive was that it grabbed my attention. I knew of the pub in question and of its perceived reputation, but one A4 sheet had told me more about the establishment than 13 years of hearsay.
When I said genius, I meant it. Had the pub tried to fill the publication with images or even dabbled with some graphic design it would have weakened the achievement it accomplished. This newsletter, printed on the cheap, undoubtedly delivered to every home within a two mile radius managed to get its message clearly and succinctly to thousands of houses.
Like all good marketing initiatives it delivered news to an audience that was unaware of its product. If the pub is really astute it will follow the process with a further newsletter before Christmas. I am not for one moment suggesting that we all follow the footsteps of this pub and abandon good graphic design to deliver whatever it is we are selling (hopefully books), but what we can learn is never to forget the message we really need to tell.
No matter how good our images and design is, it is the power of the written word that really sells. Spurred on by my local public hostelry I have decided to run a test experiment within my local neighbourhood and produce a simple newsletter backed with a nicely designed postcard with some Caffeine Nights Publishing titles and target around a thousand randomly chosen houses. This will take time and effort but I think it will be interesting to monitor the response especially on the run up to Christmas.
Sometimes it is so easy to spend time looking at the bigger picture that we forget our own back yard. If nothing else I am sure this form of marketing will raise the profile of our books and publishing company at a local level and this is an audience that should never be neglected, because with it comes loyalty and local pride. If this sounds hokey it might be time to reevaluate your own core values. If it sounds like something you have been thinking of doing but never got around to, now might be the time.