When we started unpacking from our recent move, one of the first things I took care of was a bag of magnets and other stuff that goes on our refrigerator door.
You probably know what I’m talking about. A calendar. Some family photos. Coupons. A thin notepad. A note from my aunt.
And holding it all together? Magnets.
Magnets from the nearby hospital. And from the local dry cleaner, vet, plumber, you name it.
The problem is, now I need new ones, from newly local businesses.
The week before last, I attended the National Postal Forum in Baltimore. Walking the floor, something a vendor said got me thinking about good uses for magnets that I’ve seen in direct mail. As Mike Reed, the regional sales manager for Magnets 4 Media put it, “they give shelf life to the printed piece.”
That’s not sales speak; it’s the sign of a good direct mail practice.
Here are just a few of the many good magnets appearing in some of the mail I’ve curated for Who’s Mailing What!
1. Provide Information
A lot of healthcare facilities like hospitals and urgent care centers mail magnets. I wrote last year about the word cloud magnet mailed by Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia to new movers.
Here’s another good one, promoting Mount Sinai Health System’s Brooklyn Heights Urgent Care. It’s sealed onto a laminated 5-1/4×8-1/2” postcard. It includes contact information, address, and hours, all vital information when it’s needed most.
2. Make Them Laugh
Some people read The New Yorker only for its cartoons, and save the ones that make them laugh. This magnet shows the 2 things most people know the magazine for: its cartoons and its writing. It’s been mailed as part of its subscription and renewal packages for the last few years.
3. Thank Your Customers
Magnets can reward the loyalty of your best customers. Here’s one –a magnetic bookmark – tipped to a letter mailed to a past AIG Travel Guard insurance client. If they read a print book while traveling, they’ll be reminded of what company is protecting them.
4. Thank Your Donors
Nonprofits use magnets to reward donors, as part of a mix that includes other time-tested premiums like pens, stickers, etc. Much of the time it will have a logo on it and a maybe a tagline.
The American Red Cross enclosed this magnet calendar in a year-end appeal to past donors. The Norman Rockwell artwork is a nice nostalgic touch.
So what do all of these examples have in common?
They provide something of value. They build the brand. And best of all, they stick around for a while, literally.