How to Make Your Marketing Campaign "Hand Out"

by Melanie Boylan
Business Mindset
Social Media How To’s and Top Tips

Marketing with Emotions

This month I received a gift from the Irish Red Cross. It was unsolicited - so just arrived to my business address. Inside were two bright red gloves and just below it there was a brief note saying "A small token of our thanks and a reminder that sometimes it is the simplest gifts that are the most powerful".

Targeting the Audience in a Sensible Way

I don't remember ever sending a donation to them, maybe I have at some stage? However, I do understand why they reached out to me and told me a story about a young girl called Noa and attached a small photo of her in the packaging. To make donating easier they also dropped in a Freepost envelope as well - to me this all made sense. The challenge for us is to make as much sense as these guys do with our Marketing Campaigns, so let's draw down what we see into bite size chunks.

Why Did I Open this Envelope?

We have all seen this type of marketing before where it's unsolicited and 9 times out of 10 it's binned before even reading or opening it.

So why did I open it?  Because:

• It was addressed to me personally - with my name, at my business address.

• I wanted to learn more about the girl on the front of the envelope and inside found a small photo of a child loosely attached to the corner of the letter on a paper clip. Her wistful face in colour, etched with hope.

• All of it in colour, a bit stark and emotive, (oddly dated October) and all very meaningful.

Let's Learn More From Their Campaign

As I was looking at this campaign I wanted to drill down what seemed to work but also wanted to take into account the slightly different audiences they may meet during the campaign and what issues they may experience in replicating it. To this end I have done a brief Pro's and Con's list but obviously this is not exhaustive as each business and their budgets are different. I do hope this gets you thinking!

Emotive Packaging

This A4 envelope came with a large image of the child and branding on both sides. Not particularly cost effective for the smaller businesses among us. However, where paper does improve marketing is the extra sense it uses (touch) and that helps convey a message faster.

It massively helped that it said my name, that someone went to the trouble to check and see who to direct it too. Not just Sir / Madam or worse still Sir which I seem to still get an awful lot...

PRO: Actually getting post these days in of itself can be more meaningful as its a rare thing to do. It's lets likely to be dismissed as easily and as it was mostly recyclable - bonus!

CON: The reason why its rare is because people are trying to reduce waste and use less trees... #climatechange. To replicate this for a smaller business unless you get very large amounts of everything, its going to be expensive and hard to store.

A Useful Mystery Gift

For this the Irish Red Cross sent something out useful and timely and it helped that it was in brand colours. I'm sure I could spot people who have donated just by seeing the red gloves as they walk around. That's a nice touch.

PRO: Think of something you can giveaway that will be useful and very easy to put in place. If you're going to post it, make sure its not too heavy!

CON: This is just something you're going to have to design and budget for. What about storage space as well? How many miles will this product have to travel (carbon footprint).


Once I had opened the envelope I was drawn to the letter within and although it was 2 pages double-sided of storytelling, it was appealing and drew me through the contents. What actually helped in this instance was a picture of the young girl and who we could potentially be helping.

PRO: Every business can do story telling of some kind, explaining the problem you're solving and methods to do so, be it FAQ's, webinars, links to your shop etc.

CON: How much detail do you go into, when is there enough information, how general can you make the message?  Depending on your business, these will factor in your decision making.

Easy to Follow Instructions

Now in the Irish Red Cross example, I was already fairly au fait with what they most likely wanted, but that's not the case for every business. Even so, there were very clear instructions on the various ways to learn more, send your donation, etc.

PRO: Bullet points, flow charts, letters whatever works to convey your message and help people understand what to do next.

CON: Learning to streamline your business is essential and having this in place before you start your marketing campaign is vital. You may need to upgrade your CRM, add email databases or improve your website.

Website Links

Once you have read the letter, viewed the information as a whole and then visited the website to learn more you're captured by the retargeting they do. You can then take your audience from paper based marketing to social media marketing and potentially through to email marketing.

PRO: Great if you have a website and a fundamental understanding of how your pixel code or tags work. Quite easy to move your audience down a sales funnel from just this campaign.

CON: If you don't have a website and the basic knowledge to do this then its a gap you need to plug. Doing just one thing usually isn't enough to get your message across and clustering your marketing is much more effective. You will also need to look at your marketing budgets to afford the training and advertising going forward.

QR Codes

These are popping up more and more in my social feeds and even in general conversation. There was a QR code in this letter / pack as well as; another option to learn more about their campaign - maybe for those that were too lazy to open a browser. Maybe they're on to something?

PRO: It indeed does save time from our audience to click and search for the right page

CON: It's something else you have to organise but its still free to create a Static QR code at this time.

What's In It For Them and You

Donations that qualify for tax relief
Relief will be restricted to 10% of the donor's annual income if there is a connection between the donor and the approved body. An approved body may claim 31% tax relief on your donation. They receive the grossed up amount, net of tax deducted at the specified rate. 16 Jul 2021 -

Bring it all together and within their own time constraints, budget and target market they have identified people who want to do good, get a tax break (business owners) and have made it as easy as possible for them to do.

This marketing campaign identified their avatar (customers), what time of year to target them, methods to donate, a gift they could afford to send out and imagery that would add the emotional element.

Points to note:

People buy from people --> Imagery is has a person on the front

These people think "What's in it for me?  --> the gloves

What's in it for them?" --> Irish Red Cross identified Noa

Storytelling --> What difference you'll make to them and to Noa

Instruction / QR --> How to make it happen in a timely manner

If we can achieve as much (what I hope for) success as this campaign can for our own businesses, then we can also not just solve people's problems but raise the profile of our own.

I'm certainly going to try and replicate this campaign in my own way for 2022. If you have any questions on how to manage your own Digital Marketing Strategy, please contact me.

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