Mailers, Boxes And More: Going Traditional In Small Business Marketing

As someone that has helped small businesses find their way around online marketing for the past few years, it’s always the ones that employ traditional marketing that draws my interest. Not because I have a preference toward online marketing. No, it’s because it blows me away to see how effective these small campaigns and strategies can be in terms of their return on investment.

Want to know which interest me the most?

1st: Handwritten Mailers

One business I work for puts the effort into having one of their older employees write business thank you sayings in letters to each of their customers. Think of the simple, but genuine, mindset behind this act. The customer receives a handwritten note thanking them – it feels sincere because it is! – and that sticks.

I’ve also seen them use this strategy for brand awareness campaigns and promotions.

It works because people are less likely to throw away letters addressed to them that look genuine. The mailer isn’t immediately discarded. It’s an actual letter, gasp! These handwritten letters help create a connection to the brand; this connection encourages repeat business and referrals.

All for what? A few minutes to write and the cost of a stamp.

2nd: Branded Boxes

Here’s another biggie a client uses that’s inexpensive but has significant value: branding the boxes.

Ask yourself why you get excited when the mail arrives and you see a brown box with the familiar Amazon logo on the side. It’s not just that you’re receiving what you ordered but that you’re calling up the fun and exciting experience you had with the e-commerce platform.

Custom printed boxes are dirt cheap in bulk and super flexible in terms of look, size, and strength.

You already need boxes to handle the logistics so what’s a little extra to slap on the brand name or a recognizable image? The customer builds an association with the brand from the moment they land on the site to when they open the box. It creates a continuity. Plus, it could have neighbors taking notice of the box, asking questions, and becoming a customer via word-of-mouth!

3rd: Freebies

Who doesn’t like getting a little bonus gift with each order?

  • Candy
  • Stickers
  • Trinkets
  • Pens
  • Flash drives

This is the same reasoning behind handing out swag bags at small business conferences and meetups. These bags have little goodies that help tie the experience to the brand (and business). They’re often practical – a mouse pad, for example – so they’re used in the day-to-day operations… this keeps your brand image in the face of the customer always.

Tack on a phone number, web address, and some personalization to entice and direct the customers to remember your business and come back when they need products.

4th: Business Cards

It astounds me how many new business owners do not have a card to hand over when inquiring their products or services. They scramble to grab a pen & paper to jot down their email or web address. I, like many, aren’t going to keep this paper – it’s going in the bin without a second thought half the time. Every person (in the business) needs a business card. And I mean everybody.

Creating a business card is dead simple and inexpensive. With every person with a card, they’re able to promote the business at any given moment. You could reuse these templates to include promo codes, links to landing pages, and similar targeted strategies (that are trackable).


It’s great knowing businesses still rock the smart marketing strategies – and show a healthy ROI – despite the massive shift toward online methods. There’s opportunity especially since it’s become neglected by so many others.

What traditional marketing methods do YOU use in your business?

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