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Anyone tried mailshots

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  • Anyone tried mailshots

    I hope I'm posting this in the right place.

    I recently did a Ladies Pamper evening at Primary school about 8 miles away. It was a successful evening which I thoroughly enjoyed doing and I took a nice amount in sales.

    There was another lady there from a local keep fit club who mentioned that she does a mailshot to the schools around the county offering to participate at these events.

    I just wondered if anyone here has tried this direct approach and what kind of response you got. I would dearly love to do more pamper nights but they don't seem to be advertised much outside of the school community. I don't have little ones anymore, as mine are all teens so I'm sort of out of the loop.
    Ruby xx

    Website - Cosy Candles & Aromas
    Blog - Ruby's Crafty Diary
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  • #2
    Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Always worth a shot, schools often have other events too, such as Christmas fairs etc, so if you get on a list then they may contact you about those.


    • #3


      I agree - it can't hurt to contact the local schools & nurseries about their fundraising events, there must be loads of schools in a 10 mile radius of your home. I live in a very small market town in rural Lincolnshire & we have 3 secondary schools & 3 primary schools just in the town never mind the surrounding villages.

      I know what you mean about being 'out of the loop' when you no longer have children at home. I went to a pamper evening at one of our local nurseries the other week - didn't know anything about it until my daughter happened to mention it. Paid £5 entry inc wine & nibbles (yummy!!), 1 room was for beauty treatments etc & another was stalls selling girly things - jewellery, cosmetics, home accessories etc. How did they know about the event & manage to book a space??

      I heard later that they sold nearly 100 tickets.

      Another idea is to contact the local charities (Macmillan, Marie Curie, Rotary Clubs etc) as they are always holding fundraising events.

      Good luck



      • #4
        I emailed a load of school before christmas, some got back to me with their christmas fayres, some didn't have a christmas fayre, and some didn't get back to me at all.
        One of those emailed me last week with their summer fayre details so I obviously got put on the contacts list
        Handmade personalised gifts for all occasions created by the art of pyrography
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        • #5
          A few years ago I wrote to several schools in my area. I was invited to several of them. Some good events some not so good.

          Be careful about the schools you contact.
          I turned up to one event and as I arrived I knew it was a bad move. the school was a very run down afair and the children looked like they needed a good meal.
          The evnt was held in the school hall and there were bouncers on the doors to the classrooms so that no one could sneak in. I felt extremely bad being there when so many of the kids came from really deprived backgrounds. I couldn't get out of there fast enough at the end.
          I took nothing all night and gave them my entire float as a donation .... God knows they needed it!
          full time mum and very very part time crafter.


          • #6
            Thanks for the replies. I think you've just re-enforced in my mind that it's a good thing. If I can get onto their list then it'll open up more opportunities.

            Luckily here in Basildon even in the run down estates, we don't seem to have the sort of problem whereby you have to have bouncers in the schools. Maybe this is more common in inner city areas, hasn't reached our corner of Essex, yet.

            Right, I just need to sit down and think of the wording for my letter now.
            Ruby xx

            Website - Cosy Candles & Aromas
            Blog - Ruby's Crafty Diary
            Facebook Page


            • #7
              selling ideas

              Valid points about the type of schools you contact - have a look at the Ofsted reports to get an idea of how good a school may be, it sounds awful but it seems the better a school does the more likely you are to get the parents to buy something, they're usually happy to part with money to support the school - even if it's only a pound or two.

              Or take a drive through the catchment area to see what it's like - if it's a bit rundown you aren't likely to make much or anything at all, so no point in contacting the school.


              • #8
                Don't forget playgroups and nurseries - these usually run fundraising events for their group.

                Before Christmas I did a mailshot advertising my fingerprint jewelley - these were sent to schools, playgroups and nurseries.

                Didnt hear a thing - until mothers day, when I got a couple of commissions, so it paid off.

                It;s all about self-promoting, you need to get out there and be seen
                Take care

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                • #9
                  The Annie bit of me works in schools so reckon I'm a mailshot queen by now.
                  Some things to think about.
                  If you do a letter you are paying for the paper and the envelope.
                  If you do a postcard, the card costs a bit more than paper but you can get 4 cards on a page and don't need the envelope.
                  You could tramp the streets and only target your local schools but the response seems to be a percentage of what you send out and it's pretty low.
                  If you resort to posting your adverts the cost can be horrendous.
                  It's costing me £200 to £400 (depends on which county I'm living in - I've moved around a lot - and my school addresses come by county.)
                  If you are clever you can dig out school addresses for free but things have been made very difficult and I had to resort to buying the information on this last move. If you decide to do that be warned - it's costly and the people selling are useless. I had to resort to my lovely technical husband to sort the information out for me. Eg the data base gave me all schools and I only wanted the Junior and Mixed Primary ones.

                  Anyway best of luck and I'm with you all the way. I'm just about to target my playgroups and Infant schools with my Little Chile finger puppets

                  Oh - time, as well. it takes time. 2 days out of your life...


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the tips AnnieAnna.

                    I haven't had the time to draft up anything yet, hubby is keeping me busy with his business too.

                    I was thinking of sending out in smaller batches. Essex is a huge county, but I'm just going to target areas within a 10 mile radius of where I live. This does cover quite a wide area, though. All the way from Lakeside to Southend to Chelmsford. Shed loads of schools.

                    I think most schools are in the Yellow Pages so that's not a problem. Just means that I have to do a bit of leg work. As for the expense, it's all tax deductible. Timewise, well, I've only got my business, hubby's business, kids, home, etc ...
                    Ruby xx

                    Website - Cosy Candles & Aromas
                    Blog - Ruby's Crafty Diary
                    Facebook Page


                    • #11
                      Mailshot or "Direct Mail" is a great way to reach a possible audience with a product - it works, which is why we all get ooodles of solicited and unsolicited junk.. Just remember that response rates can be low (2% is "good") so if you don't write to enough potential clients, you may not get a reply.

                      I used to do direct mail (charity appeals as well as prospecting for new clients) so I hope the following is useful!

                      1) Targeted is hugely better than untargeted.. if you can spare the time, find the name of the person you need to write to! the information you send can be binned by a zealous secretary long before a decision maker sees it.. but mail personally addressed is far more likely to reach the person's desk...

                      2) Make your "ask" (i.e. the prospect you want them to consider) simple, direct, and CLEAR!! and be BRIEF!! - no waffle, no wittering.. make it clear who you are, what you offer, and what they get in return.. and remember to make it simple for them to get back to you..

                      3) Do what you say you will - surprising this one.. if you send the info and say "I will telephone you in a few days".. make sure you do! they can always call you beforehand if they want to.. but if you make a tacit arrangement, your call is at least "anticipated" and you have valid reason to make contact.. phoning 6 months later is not "good"!

                      4) SPELL CHECK AND PROOF READ!! - in fact, ignore that at your peril!! there are 37.5 pedants in every 100 people.. but you will get a pedant 2 times out of 3! I promise!! Seriously, I have had to take a carving knife to a trustee over this matter.. tho she was no sad loss

                      Don't ever believe that people "dont mind" as long as you get the general gist of things.. - if you want proof of this, watch a group of teachers at the end of a meal out.. the bill will be dissected with a surgeon's skill and calculated to 142 decimal places.. after the arguments over who had orange juice and no starter, and who had wine and a dessert... (At this point, I will duck and run from all the teachers on the forum!!!)..

                      Ideally get someone else to proof read what you write.. not just for spelling, but for meaning.. We bought our car from a man who wrote "The car is economical, and my wife does 45 MPG regularly.." not quite the same thing as my wife finds the car economical as it achieves 45mpg on average..

                      5) Be you! sincere and honest is better than pushy salesy.. make sure "you" comes across in whatever you send..

                      6) Keep a list! make a note of everyone you write to, and unless they specifically ask you not to, write to them regularly (but also appropriately.. say 2 - 4 times a year on average) If you are comfortable using WP software, keep your mailshot contacts in a database, or in something like Microsoft Outlook, then you can use "mail merge" to quickly and easily run off your mailshot letters.

                      7) Be Politely persistent! - it is a widely held belief that a "customer" will generally only buy once they have heard of the product/company 3 times.. as someone they have not heard of, your success rate may be lower intially.. but should increase over time. (Note, I said heard "of" not "from!").

                      As for who to write to, Schools for sure, and all charities in the area..(ask for the community fundraiser) don't forget things like your local mayor too - they have charitable events through the year in aid of the mayor's fund from coffee mornings to civic functions.. a "donation" from sales can be an agreeable compromise to be included.. I would trawl things like local papers for upcoming events, or recently held ones, and approach the organisers.. also local "style" mags like "Essex Life".. they are like the county version of Hello or OK magazine.. and you will see reports of events in every issue.. well worth noting the date, and writing to the organiser to ask to be included next year, as well as any other opportunities they may have.

                      Oh, and one last thing.. I would get in touch with as many good quality participants from events you have already done, and see if they are willing to do future events with you.. and then you can offer a "ready made" event to someone looking to raise money for a good cause..


                      • #12
                        Very well summed up. I particularly agree about the proof reading - my husband is very good at spotting mistakes, so I always hand flyers etc to him to check first. I know I get annoyed when I see mistakes in other people's literature, so I try to ensure mine are OK (although sometimes something will creep in). I remember when I first set up a website and I had not had an eye cast over it - my brother-in-law rang up to tell me I had a card labelled as "Crap Apple" instead of Crab Apple - 100s may not have noticed, but he is a teacher!!


                        • #13
                          All the above has been excellently put.

                          I'm laughing because I started out in Essex too.
                          Why I suggested targetting all the schools in a county is that 2% thing. I think I got a slightly higher response (5%) but the response from my first local mailshot didn't amount to a hill of beans so I gradually went wider and wider. It's ended up with a big circle around my house, schools on the edges being two hours drive away. That keeps me as busy as I want to be. But that's for all day school visits. For fairs I've decided it isn't economical to drive further than 1/2 an hour from home for the small ones.