Getting the word out

Hello? Hi? Can you hear me?!? HELLO!!!!….
(crickets… frogs… distant coyote howl)

Sometimes it may feel that no matter how hard you try, getting a client to look at your work can feel like whispering in a circle of vuvuzelas. Introducing my trojan horse; a brick-sized-self-promoting white box.

Fortunately my previous job as an Art Director for national magazines put me in the position to receive self-promotion mailers from aspiring photographers. Most of the promo pieces were 4×6″ postcards with a picture on one side, and printed addresses on the other side. Stale, non-personalized, and probably frayed at the edges, the postcards rarely made it from the mail room to my desk. But a box?!? A freakin’ box??? NOW you have my attention. Maybe it’s just me, but when I get a box in the mail with a hand-written address, a slow fuzzy feeling comes over me and my eyes open 43% more than usual. YOU good box are coming back to my desk for a thorough dissection.

Above all I wanted to make a self-promotion mailer that wouldn’t get tossed in the trash right away. Considering the caliber of ad agencies, magazine photography editors, athletic teams, and select others that will receive this mailer, that is a tall order to accomplish.


The first step. Well, I wish this was the actual first step; neatly stacked boxes of everything I need suddenly appearing at my office. Everything from the dimensions of the boxes, size of the stickers, color of the camera, size of the camera, color of the stamps, dimension of the print holder, size of the foam packaging, pictures to use… well, you get the idea. After an endless amount of virtual measuring and imagination, I pulled the trigger and ordered everything you see above.


Here is everything involved in 1 mailer before any folding, gluing, plucking, sticking and stamping.


I practically modeled my entire mailer around the slogan “GIVE ME A SHOT”. Sending out shot glasses to possible clients wasn’t really a wise option, so why not place stickers with the slogan on disposable cameras. In return I hope to see some cool pictures.


Sarah, my big sis, kindly lent a hand in the tedious process of assembling the boxes. Here she’s gluing in the foam to the edges so the camera doesn’t get banged up.


Additional little foam bits were glued in to hold the camera in nice and snug as a bug. Each mailer comes with a personalized note. When testing the boxes on my artsy neighbors, I noticed they had a hard time opening the plastic card box. So on each note I included a diagram on how to open it. Problem solved.


I couldn’t send out plain white boxes, instead I stamped each box with my logo, address, and “Emergency Photo Kit” on the inside flap. The personalized notes were then taped to the inside.


Oh my gosh, Moo cards… What would I do without you for this project? Practically the centerpiece of my mailer. Of course when sending out a photography self-promotion piece, pictures MUST be included. I’ve heard great things about Moo cards, and now I’m the preacher. The quality is top notch, and the option of printing up to 50 different looking cards in 1 order is perfect for my project. Here they are stacked and ready to be sorted into each mailer. Bogart did a good job of watching… and scratching… and licking… Good boy.


400 total cards were ordered. 40 different images, 8 included in each mailer, however not chosen at random. In this case I’m sending this mailer out to a cycling company, and therefore include mostly cycling pictures. Each mailer contains a unique set of cards in a hard plastic case. Each Moo card has my contact info on the back, and for good measure I included my personal business card.


Good to go! After a few dozen more, I just need to close em, lick a few stamps, write addresses, and ship em out!


“Without advertising, something terrible happens… nothing.” Once this famous statement became rooted into my brain I started my project. Creativity, personalization, and budget-friendly were key in building these mailers. Each mailer has a different message along with a different set of cards to view. A small idea turned into a 3-month long project. Now I feel confident with what I’ve sent out to my prospective clients, and hopefully, they give me a shot!

  • http://www.dogstudio.ca David

    Pretty amazing idea Clint!
    The time and attention you took to make all this project personal for your client will payoff in the long run!

    Keep us updated on the feedback you get from these!

  • http://www.andysapp.com andy.

    This mailer is one of the most professional promo pieces I have seen. In fact… it blows the doors off several ‘agency’ mailers I have seen.

    This promo piece shows your attention to detail, creativity, ability to out-source, and your overall vision to bring all the elements together better than a Voltron cartoon.

    I almost want one to say I have one… but I would rather have one more set of eyes have their socks blown off by this mailer.

    AWESOME work Clint!

  • Ben Sassani

    Looks great, Clint.

  • http://www.tonyharrellphotography.com Tony Harrell

    Nicely done sir. I suspect the targeted images, and the whimsey of the “Emergency Photo Kit” will definitely get some attention. It’s different – so it will definitely stand out.

  • http://www.s3mag.com ShockerJoe

    I think you’ll end up with more offers to be an art director than a photographer! WOW.. Amazing.

  • http://linhbergh.com Linhbergh

    A+++++ Would buy from again.

  • http://www.moo.com Andrea

    Hi Clint

    I’m from MOO and we absolutely love your package here at MOO HQ! I’d love to write it up and feature it on the “Inspiration” section of the site, which would obviously include links back to this blog and a credit for your photography.

    Please do get in contact if you’d like to be featured.

    Hope to hear from you soon

    Andrea

  • http://www.georgiafightclub.com Aaron

    Dude this is dope! Im always amazed with your creativity in your work and photos. I still think you need to make a special trip out to your old living quarters to take some action shots of me punching and choknig people out. Jiu jitsu and MMA lend themselfs to great action photography plus with your skills in photoshop I think you could take jiu jitsu photography to the next level. Hit me up if your ever back in the A-town! Best of luck man! your work is da shit!

  • Marcus

    This is so cool, I admire your patience putting alla together. Great idea, hope you will get lots of clients.

  • http://clintdavis.net Clint Davis

    @andy, LOL, Voltron! I used to have a Big Wheel of Voltron as a kid. Thanks!

    @Ben, Thanks dude, looking forward to seeing you in Austin

    @ShockerJoe, I can definitely see myself sitting in the Art Director chair again :)

    @Linhbergh, I <3 you

    @Andrea, check your mail, coming soon!!!

    @Aaron, KNUCKLE UP BRAH! I’ll be in the A-town quite a bit.

    @Marcus, yea took longer than I anticipated considering each mailer is personalized, but it’s very worth it.

    Thanks everyone!

  • http://www.twolightphoto.com Jeff

    This is great! Very creative, affordable, and just plain neat! A tip of the hat to you for thinking out of the box if you will. One can only hope there is a positive response. Good luck man!

  • http://brightvillage.com/blog/feed/ Jeff N

    Genius!

    You deserve an boom in client base from this! I bet you’ll find a new loyal following from this campaign as well. Well done!

  • http://john.onolan.org JohnONolan

    What an amazing idea! I’d be fascinated to hear what the response is like from the people who you send them to and how many jobs come out of it :)

  • http://JasonStrongPhotography.com Jason

    Love the entire thing.

    I’d also love to hear about the business side of things as well (now and as info becomes available). Things like total cost (including postage) to send these out. How many returns you get from them… as time goes by obviously.

    I’ve heard you should spend 8-10% (at least) of your desired income on marketing. I think you did a spectacular job at showing that even affordable options, if well planned out (it took you 3 months), can get great results.

    Again, BRAVO!!!

  • http://www.cristianhamed.com cristian

    Owesome

    Thank for Sharing your amazing ideas with Us..!!!!!!!

  • MissDib

    Hi
    Can you tell me where you bought your small boxes?
    thank you

  • http://Www.koryjohnsonphotography.com Kory Johnson

    Wow, just wow! Great idea and thanks for sharing, with creativity like that, your efforts will go far!

  • http://www.jodiwarren.com Jodi

    Congratulations on doing something awesome. It looks like your hard work is paying off.

  • http://www.jorofoto.com Jose Rosado

    Go getttt em boy!!.. Was excited as shit to see Chase blogging about it.. now we just gotta get him to wear our shirts on one of his videos! :)

    Remember me for a 1st asst gig when you blow up big.. 😀

  • http://matthewmorgan.net/blog matt

    dude, this is thoughtful, outside the box with a box, cheers and hope you get a shot

  • http://michalfanta.com Michal Fanta

    Awesome idea! I love it mostly because it is one thing to say or write on a piece of paper that you’re creative but the other thing is to show it and say I’m creative without using words.
    Thank you very much for sharing this.
    Michal

  • http://clintdavis.net Clint Davis

    I’ll try to keep you updated, but a good sign they’re working is if I have cool new stuff on my blog :)

  • http://clintdavis.net Clint Davis

    Many thanks. Each mailer cost 2.45c via USPS to ship, not so bad in my book. Total cost of everything is around $800, but I may need to go back and do some exact math. Either way FAR cheaper than other elaborate promos I’ve seen.

  • http://clintdavis.net Clint Davis

    Thanks Jodi, what really spurred me to do this was all of my peers saying I had good work, just needed to market myself. I certainly hope this is a big turning point :)

  • http://clintdavis.net Clint Davis

    Lol, love this reply…. Makes me want to rename my blog title to “Thinking outside the box with a box”, Cheers!

  • http://clintdavis.net Clint Davis

    Hopefully the recipients realize I pieced the mailer together myself and not some paid package designer…. But either way I think that’s OK with me :)

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  • Robert

    You, sir, are a genius.

  • http://www.fstop57.com Alex

    Wow Clint. Fantisitic effort, you certainly deserve to pull in some work through this and I’m sure you will; you’ve shown what you can do for a client.

  • http://www.sachinkhona.com Sachin Khona

    Wow Clint.. WOW

    I know you’ve heard it before but WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW

    I’m knocked over by this.. Thanks to @ChinaShopBull for passing this link on to me yesterday

    I appreciate you bloggin’ this .. it has me thinking of an idea too and for that I thank you and will be giving you props for it when I blog it!.. Ill definitely be sharing it once I get it under way!

    All the best to you..

    Sachin

  • http://www.roundandred.com Georgette

    Wow – really inspirational. I often wax lyrical about the use of quality, targeted, relevant direct mails, over eshots and love the fact this has been showcased using social media! Brilliant!

  • http://www.thesharpagency.co.uk Richard Sharp

    A quite superb bit of self promo. Really hope it worked for you. Would love to know how you got on with it.

    Best wishes.

    Richard Sharp
    The SHARP Agency

  • http://www.strangepr.com Simon Gregory

    Brilliant – and not just the mail promotion. What impresses me most is the way your original blogpost is now appearing all over the internet – I was tweeted the link by a colleague. I work in social marketing and I reckon your campaign will get you noticed worldwide.

    Keep us updated!

    Simon Gregory
    Strange PR

  • http://www.PhatGrrl.com PhatGrrl

    Impressive.

  • http://www.artezendesign.com Melanie

    Hello Clint. Fantastic stuff you’ve put together! Can you please share where you got the frosted plastic card holder boxes you used? Not from the moo.com site from what I can tell, so I’d love to know where I can get some! Thanks in advance.

  • http://www.missemanuel.com missemanuel

    Hey there!

    Great great idea! I saw your site on Moo! FAb idea, im new to photography, need to get my name out, use Moo cards already as they are great but love your idea! Great inspiration indeed!

    😀

    Sara

  • http://tammysprinkle.blogspot.com Tammy Sprinkle

    What a fantastic idea! I love that you put together such an intriguing kit. It looks so professional. Would you mind sharing where you ordered those adorable little boxes?
    Best of luck and congratulations on winning the MOO advertising challenge!

  • http://www.talkstudiosphotography.com/blog Sara

    Brilliant and totally inspiring! Came across it through the MOOletter. Amazing work! I hope it pays for itself….or maybe it already has! :)

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  • Rainer

    You are an idol. This is way better than good and far far from average. But that has been said a few times already. Thus I wonder… did you take the very first picture of the “instant cameras” of something like yourself next to your Logo?? Wouldn’t it be great that after film development the customers get reminded of you once more?!

    Just an idea.

    Thanks for sharing your inspiration.

    Rainer from Germany

    ps: may I ask what you spend on this marketing campaign – workhours excluded?

  • http://www.lakayembah.com LaKaye Mbah

    I am completely blown away! These boxes are like Xmas any time of the year. You’ve really got me rethinking my boring old postcards now. What great inspiration!

  • http://amystine.com Amy

    This is amazing! It’s great to see someone flex their creative thinking, come up with a plan, and execute it! It’s also giving me some ideas of my own. Thanks! And congrats on the Moo recognition :)

  • http://www.zarphag.com Rob

    Superb idea, tons of detail and masses of hard work.
    Kind of a recipe for success if you ask me, you seem to have hit the spot on all 3 fingers crossed it pays off, I’m sure it will.

  • http://clintdavis.net Clint Davis

    Very funny you mention that Rainer.
    I was totally going to take a picture of me holding their magazine, or a picture of my name/logo, but i figured it was too much branding. I decided to let them enjoy all 27 exposures :)

    Answer to PS: I spent around $800 USD.. the work hours was about 3 months off and on. A LOT of research, googling, and measuring. I’m not too keen on sharing where exactly I bought everything, but I don’t mind sharing the idea.

  • http://clintdavis.net Clint Davis

    Think outside the box!!! no wait!? I took a peek at your site and you have very nice work. A solid promotion campaign will go a long way with you.

  • http://www.deirdreryan.com Deirdre

    Love this idea! So did it work? 😉

  • http://www.imagine-photographic.com Andrew Plant

    Hi

    I’m a Moo addict already and saw your idea on their website, Fantastic!!! But was it successful? If I received something like this I’d be embarrassed NOT to use you!!

    Andrew

  • http://www.customercrossroads.com SusanA

    I saw this on the Moo site, and really love the idea! You gave me just the inspiration I was looking for as I created my gift tags for my client Christmas mailer.
    I’ve been a big MOO fan for years, love the quality and ease of use.

    If my complete package looks as nice as yours, I’ll definitely write it up.
    thanks for posting your awesome idea!

  • http://behindthelashes.com Behind the Lashes

    My bf just showed me this. Absolutely amazing! I’m including this post in my next Link post on my own blog.
    -Heather

  • http://clintdavis.net Clint Davis

    Thanks Heather! Looking forward to your post.

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  • http://fionaflowers.ca Fiona Flowers

    Inspirational! Thank you for going through this project in pieces and detail; today you’ve introduced me to moo.com, fantastic photos, and a fulfilling blog. I came across you when searching for comments/reviews about the Prat Messenger bag before buying and saw your pic of it on flickr, I bought it after seeing that (very nice), and followed the rest of your posts and your blog. I’ll keep visiting; thanks!

  • http://www.annekristoff.com anne

    I am also curious about whether or not this worked? Did you get any responses or jobs from this?

  • Dave

    So how much did each kit cost in the end?

  • http://clintdavis.net Clint Davis

    Came out to ~$20 per box… with some leftover supplies to build some more in the near future; namely the actual boxes and foam. The smallest order was big! Speaking of I need to make some more since I just received a new order of moo cards!

  • http://www.inkmonkey.info Alexis Inkmonkeytatttoo

    hey, so smart1 i loved it. also loved the little personal card holder….can i have a lead as to where i can order those? thanks!

    -Alexis

  • http://www.emmaellisphotography.com Emma

    I’d love to know if this actually worked at all! Did you get any jobs from it?

  • http://nadinestudio.com nadine austin

    Wow. Great idea!

  • http://eschumannfoto.wordpress.com/ Emily Schumann

    This is such a phenomenal idea! This is definitely something I would want to try :)

  • http://avantipainting.com Dominick Guglielmo

    Clint, I’m from Portland, Or. and came across your website after checking out Moo.com and was extremely impressed by your marketing kit. What would it cost to purchase a kit from you? My painting company could use a jolt of that creativity when meeting potential clients for the first time. If your willing to sell a kit I would be more than happy to buy one from you.
    Thanks, Dominick Guglielmo

  • http://brankastudio.com branka

    clint,
    this is phenomenal! i love it, if i got this in the mail i would want to work with someone as creative as you! this goes way beyond showing pictures of work! congratulations and good luck… oh, and thanks for sharing your process :))
    -branka

  • Juli L.

    Wow, those are fantastic! What a great idea and an inspiration. I will have to try something like this one day. Thank you so much for sharing the process! :)

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  • http://arch-jm.com JM

    I have been trying to do this same thing. Where were you able to find boxes? Can you have them custom printed?

    I made a website thinking that would impress employers, but no one looks at it. A box and physical portfolio is a much better idea…I think!

    -JM

  • http://www.stuartslater.carbonmade.com Stu

    Did you get much work of that back of these???? I mean for $20 per promo, i hope you got that money back and thensome.

  • http://clintdavis.net Clint Davis

    Believe it or not Stu, $20 per promo is very cheap compared to most professional mailers. Check out http://www.noplasticsleeves.com/ And yes I see them as money very very very well spent.

  • http://www.markleethephotographer.com Mark

    You also convinced them of your ability to COMPLETE A PROJECT. Not to be lost on the quality of the delivered product. Awesome.

  • Ryan G

    Awesome Clint. You’re good!

  • http://www.hiceram.com hiceram

    I can haz shot?

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  • http://www.corbymartin.com Corby

    I just found your site/blog after searching for mailer ideas. This is the best I’ve seen. I am subscribing to your blog now. I have a question though, how do you compile your list of contacts? I find I get shut down by HR people when I ask for direct contact info for AD”s at companies. How do you find who to mail the mailers too?

  • http://www.Raven-Adams.com Raven Adams

    You did a great job! This is very inspirational…keep it up!:)

  • http://www.mockthefruit.com/ fruit mocking party

    Hi! I’ve been following your website for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the great work!

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  • http://www.google.com Acosta Enrique Vecino

    My name is Acosta Enrique Vecino , I just needed to say that your article is really interesting. Thanks!

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  • http://www.matthewdumouchel.com Matthew Dumouchel

    This is an amazingly brilliant idea! Words cannot describe how inspired I ma by this mailer! I am about to finish my studies at Humber College in the photography program and this idea is something that would take me from a student photographer to a professionally respected photographer.

    This idea will be something I model my first set of mailers after!

    All the best,
    Matthew

  • http://oevae.com Head Honcho

    Great imagination is priceless. Nothing beats a box, “I want to open it” is often the mantra.

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  • Shai

    All I can do … :::bows:::