Val-Pak? Other Direct Mail?

Business By CakeMom75 Updated 16 Jun 2011 , 3:38pm by dchockeyguy

CakeMom75 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
CakeMom75 Posted 3 Jan 2010 , 8:02pm
post #1 of 13

Has anyone done Val-Pak mailers to their zip codes? I am looking for ways to announce my store opening - perhaps with a coupon/discount. Has anyone had luck with direct mail or Val-Pak?

VP is $0.04 a piece as opposed to my own mailing - which would be the cost of a post card and the postage...and a list. But my own list could be more targeted and not in an envelope with a bunch of other stuff. Any thought or suggestions?? thanks....

12 replies
ButtercupMama Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
ButtercupMama Posted 3 Jan 2010 , 8:11pm
post #2 of 13

HI! I did coupon envelope mailers for about 6 months when I first opened. I also was trying to introduce myself to surrounding neighborhoods. I'm not really sure if we made our money back on it, but it did bring some people in the door.

I think it will depend on what type of business you have and what your location is like. If you are very available for walk-in traffic, and bakery case sales, I think it could be a good thing. But most of our income comes from folks who find us online because they are looking for custom cakes. IF you plan to do a lot of cupcake sales and stuff, this might work out great for you.

We had three coupons on our mailer; one for a free cupcake from our bakery case (one coupon per customer!), one for $10 off a cake, and one for a cookie cake for a reduced price.

The free cupcake is what brought people in; I highly recommend it. The cake coupon was used here and there. The cookie cake bombed. To this day, we sell very few.

I hope this helps! thumbs_up.gif

cakesdivine Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
cakesdivine Posted 4 Jan 2010 , 12:45am
post #3 of 13

I have done Val-pak & other direct mail for all my businesses. The only business that really saw a great reward from it was my dance studio. We did 3 months in a row with the final month being the month we opened for the school year. It paid for itself and then some.

indydebi Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
indydebi Posted 4 Jan 2010 , 5:14am
post #4 of 13

The key is to get people to actually open the Val-Pak envelope and go thru the coupons. At my house, it gets thrown in the trash, unopened.

I've talked to a number of marketing folks (it's almost a hobby with me ... I'm fascinated by marketing ideas and how they work). An oversized postcard will almost force people to at least look at it. One marketer told me his wife got some postcard mailing from JCPenny on some designer purses on sale. He said, "I never buy purses ... but I DID at least look at their ad that came to the house as I sorted the mail!" If they will look at it, you've double your odds of it getting used.

Val-Pak .... in the trash .... unopened.

When Val-Pak approached me, yes the price per unit was pretty good, but it was a one-year agreement, with a minimum dollar amount per quarter. I can't recall specifically, but it was something between $350-$500 per quarter. I just wasn't spending that kind of money on a non-focused, random mailing. They didnt' sell one-time shots.

So ..... as I always told my brides .... don't ask the (Val-Pak) sales rep how much it costs ... ask them how much you have to write the check for.

YOu might also contact some of the folks in your last ValPak envelope and ask them how it worked out for them. Do a reference check.

CakeMom75 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
CakeMom75 Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 12:18am
post #5 of 13

Thanks for the input guys! I really appreciate it! Still not sure what I'll do. It will really depend on whether my advertising budget is still intact after my build-out. Regardless, I'll track any marketing closely to gauge ROI...thanks again!

-Tubbs Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-Tubbs Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 2:35pm
post #6 of 13

In my area, a lot of folks have No Flyer signs posted by their houses and in their mailboxes: "Save a Tree" type stuff. These days the only junk mail I get is that which comes fom the mailperson with my name and address on it.

icingimages Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
icingimages Posted 7 Jan 2010 , 3:16am
post #7 of 13

What I would do is market to schools public and private. Go in to every public or private school and preschool I could find and ask who the PTA/PTO President is. Offer them a dozen cookies for their next meeting. If you have an edible printer, I would make a copy of their logo and place it on each one with your business card underneath. This way when they were done with the cookie, they had your business card. I would spend money on this before a printed advertisement. Taste and generosity in a school go a long way. With the gossip a school generates, thats all you need! Take it from a PTF president I tell everyone when someone donates something to the school. I make sure everyone knows and boy will I recommend generous people! You can even go 1 step further and offer school event cakes a discount. Layout your brochures at each event you send a cake to at a school and let the parents and teachers do your work for you!!!

brensmom12 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
brensmom12 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 9:46pm
post #8 of 13

My husband & I used Val-Pack for his business. Typically they require a minimum monthly order (like 3-6 month minimum) and the price changes per house if you sign on longer. We did not see a huge return with that form of advertising. Most people throw the Val-Pack away as some of the other posts have mentioned. It was also VERY EXPENSIVE (0.04 per house sounds good but they divide the city/towns into different locations and you buy per 10,000). Unless you have a large budget for advertising this can get pricy! The best direct mail form we have used was something called Money Clip which is like a coupon magazine. Huge return! The best form of written advertising by far has been Google AdWords (if you have a website). Hope everything works out!


icingimages Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
icingimages Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 12:36am
post #9 of 13

Now a days, with the economy, you can often bring your price down. I am the PTO president at a small Christian school and a guy came to offer an advertising opportunity at a local flyer that is displayed at several resturaunts in the area. It started as a business card ad for about $800. In the end, I paid $200.00 for a double business card. Since it is space and there is little cost involved, if you tell someone the price you can pay, they may come down in price. Especially as you get close to their deadline. It is worth a try, the worse they can tell you is no. But they may call you back or call you the next month. Name recognition is what you want the most to get through to them so the more often you get in front of them the better.

CakeMom75 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
CakeMom75 Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 2:53am
post #10 of 13

Lots of great ideas here - thanks all! I like the PTA/PTO idea...and I will check on the other mailers/magazines that are available. I want more bang for my buck - that may count Val-Pak out. I want to offer some Grand Opening specials, which is why I am contemplating direct mail. Anyway...thanks for all the ideas!! Keep 'em coming if you have more!

scp1127 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
scp1127 Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 8:29am
post #11 of 13

As a former marketing company owner, not my first choice, and probably my last. So many other ways to get your name out there with a much higher ROI. Val-Pak has a market, but not this one. The successful people have been in it every time for a long time. It is also not their primary advertising. You are seeing people with large advertising budgets, of which this is still a small part. No group effort is as effective as a stand alone effort. Also, impersonal marketing to the masses is tremendously less effective than opportunities that provide one-on-one contact. In this business, the best marketing is free... get out there, meet the public, get involved with your community, and stay in touch with your clients with regular, interesting emails.

sillywabbitz Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
sillywabbitz Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 2:28pm
post #12 of 13

As a consumer, I toss my valpacks in the trash. I used to open them but most of the time I didn't need the services that were currently listed. If I got a glossy post cards with pics of cake on them, I'd be a lot more intrigued...especially if it said...bring this in for a free cupcakeicon_smile.gif I would grab a girlfriend, have lunch then check out the new bakery...that may be because I love cake but that's the kind of people you're aftericon_smile.gif

dchockeyguy Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
dchockeyguy Posted 16 Jun 2011 , 3:38pm
post #13 of 13

This has been great feedback. I'd been wondering about Val Pack myself, and now I think I'll just avoid it entirely. However, I do like the idea of the oversized post card.

Quote by @%username% on %date%