Addicted to DIY Promos: Photographer, Rob Prideaux

Check out these very cool and thoughtful promos submitted to No Plastic Sleeves by San Francisco based product and still-life photographer, Rob Prideaux. He also discusses his thought process behind the promos and some follow-up regarding responses.

From Rob’s blog, here.
Addicted to DIY Promos

Over the last six months I’ve made three promos at the office, and I think I’m addicted now.

It started with a suggestion by Chris Milliman. He said he’d been sending out small collections of prints to select buyers for some time, and always got really good feedback.

Frankly, sending out 2034872304563056 emails or postcards is really not that appealing to me anyway, so I thought I’d give his method a try. I have found that it takes a lot longer to create a promo in this way, but it’s not only more satisfying, but puts a certain wind under my wings when it’s time to do the follow-up calls.

Last time it was the Make Shoes Move promo. This time, Helpful Ideas for Busy Dads.

Late last year, when it came time to let people know about the APA SF Something Personal Exhibition, I wanted to do something different. – Rob Prideaux

From Rob’s blog, here.
Well Oiled Self-Promotion Machine. This Time.

I appear to have hit my self-promotion stride, on this go round anyway.

Since email’s dead* as a self-promotion tool, I needed to do something different. I decided to build my own three-fold mailer, using the “Make Shoes Move” demo campaign that Adam Weisman and Brad Soulas built around my running shoes photographs.

Using Adbase, I built a short list of companies and agencies that have something to do with athletic shoes, and rounded that out with a few reps I’ve been promoting to, for a total of about 40.

I used Moab Lasal doublesided, the same paper I’ll be using in my new portfolio.

After finally surmounting some bizarre mental block, I managed to figure out how to insert the paper to get the proper orientation.

I printed these on my Epson, so the print quality is stunning, but inkjet prints scratch real easily, so I ordered some glassine envelopes. I’ve also heard that buyers would rather not have to open something before they decide to bin it, so the transparency’s polite.

I included my new tag line, “Making good ideas beautiful, and bad ideas interesting”, as well as the concepts for the iPhone apps.

I included a personal note with each promo seemed like a good idea. Took forever though, with this many promos.

Although email’s dead, I still sent an email promo for the project, just to a much broader audience. Both the mailer and the email point to the Minisite I put together.

So, I sent the mailer, waited about a week, and sent the email. The following morning, I started calling all the people to whom I’d sent the mailer. I have been alarmingly bad at calls such as these, but this time around, it went really well.

It helps that:

  • the demo campaign looks killer, and the mailer is real nice
  • the target list is really narrow – I know they’ll have some interest in the subject
  • volunteering for the political campaign last year seems to have given me some sort of rapid-dial muscle memory
  • the first guy I called answered the phone and said “Oh yeah it’s right here on my desk it looks great!”

I got a lot of good feedback from the people I actually got to talk to, and a nice email back from one of the reps. Overall, I made 8 solid contacts, a response of 24% of the calls I made, and 18% of the mailers. Even the email did alright: I got a 14% click through on that.

*Everybody’s saying so. Plus, Adbase indicates whether the buyer wishes to receive email promos or not, and anecdotaly, I now regularly see the entire staff of a company set to “does not wish to receive”. More reliably, when I output a list, half of the buyers don’t want email, where it used to be like 15%.

What do you think? Are promotional emails a way of the past? Click here to comment.


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