< back to full list of articles
Opening a Large New Market for Your Books:
The PMA Corporate & Institutions Brochure Mailing

or Article Tags

This issue of the PMA Newsletter debuts a new member benefit–a cooperative mailing program targeted to Corporate and Institutional Libraries. Look for it in the “Marketing and Direct Mail Programs” section. The deadline for applications is October 2002.

PMA’s cooperative mailings are powerful marketing tools. I know because we distribute more than 90% of our brochures through them and they are largely responsible for making our flagship publication, the Energy Efficiency Manual, the world’s top energy conservation book.

All PMA mailings radically reduce the cost of promoting your books and relieve you of the drudgery of direct mail. You don’t have to get a mailing list, don’t deal with a mailing company, and don’t need to do list selection or preparation. Now, with the new Corporate and Institutional Libraries mailing, you can reach a vast new audience–one just about as big as the reach of PMA’s other mailings combined!


What Will They Buy?

The Corporate and Institutional Libraries mailing will go to roughly 9,000 members of the Special Libraries Association (SLA), the second largest organization of librarians. More than 45% of these librarians control six-figure annual budgets. They work in libraries that serve businesses, research companies, government, universities, newspapers, museums, and other institutions. More than half work in corporate settings. Approximately 87% hold master’L¿dågrees in library or information science.

SLA members view themselves as “information professionals” whose role extends beyond the classical library functions of collecting and cataloging information. Because they are proactive, often initiating the flow of information into their organizations, the PMA mailing will include a letter that asks recipients to circulate your flyer to all the interested persons within their organizations.

Is this market right for you? Companies and institutions have specialized functions, but they will be interested in a wide variety of subjects. For example, Energy Institute Press will participate in this mailing because all organizations want to reduce their energy costs and most employees have an interest in protecting the environment.

In addition…

  • The managers and employees in these organizations are interested in careers, relocation, management, motivation, etc.
  • Most of the organizations this mailing will reach are interested in business, finance, legal, and computer books.
  • Their Human Resources departments are a market for the career, education, health, self-help, multicultural, parenting, recreation, and how-to titles.
  • Their staff editors and writers will be interested in writing and communications publications. Staff members who travel will be interested in travel books.
  • Educational institutions, research organizations, and technical companies on the list are markets for textbooks, dictionaries, and other reference books, as well as scientific and technical books.
  • Organizations that own or manage properties will be interested in architecture books.

Now you understand just some of the many possibilities.


How to Use PMA’s Coop Mailings

Participating in PMA’s brochure mailings couldn’t be easier. Start by sending the order form that is included in each issue of the PMA Newsletter.

After PMA receives your order form, they will send you a mailing label for your flyers. It is addressed to PMA’s mailing service, which is located near Los Angeles. Attach the label and send your package. That’s all you have to do.

PMA’s mailing service inserts the flyers of all participating publishers in attractively designed envelopes, encloses a cover letter written by PMA, and sends the envelopes to the selected list by bulk mail. Mailings typically arrive about two months after their ordering deadline dates.

You will receive a complete copy of the mailing, which will let you see what other publishers are offering, and how well they present their books. This is a valuable way to pick up techniques for improving your own presentations.

Virtually all PMA members who participate in the coop mailings use a 8_” x 11″ single sheet flyer. You have the option of mailing an 11″ x 17″ folded flyer at extra cost.


Your Economic Incentives

PMA mailing programs are profitable for publishers because they exploit the economics of direct mail effectively. As attendees at the PMA Publishing University learn, the key to success with direct mail is minimizing the cost per sale. This has two components: (1) maximizing the response rate and (2) minimizing the cost of the mailing.

The response rate depends on the quality and appropriateness of the mailing list for your book. You can choose one or more of PMA’s updated, verified lists of prime book buyers in: (1) Public Libraries; (2) College, Junior College, and University Libraries; (3) K-12 Libraries; as well as (4) the new Corporate and Institutional Libraries list–depending on which is appropriate for you.

Of course, the response rate also depends on the quality of your mailing piece. The best mailing list cannot sell a book with a poor brochure. A future PMA Newsletter article will give you tips on producing brochures that sell.

Direct marketing professionals will tell you that a low-priced commodity, such as a book, is almost never a good candidate for a mailing by itself. It costs between 60 cents and $1 a piece to send a mailing of good quality. Even book catalogs that feature a selection of titles don’t fare well alone because the average sale from a large catalog is likely to be only one or two books.

Cooperative mailings overcome this cost barrier, partly by dividing the costs–postage, mailing lists, envelopes, cover letters, and labor–among all the participants. This makes it important to get as many participants as possible.

Cost is also a function of the overall size of the mailing. Big mailings have a lower cost per contact because a high-piece count makes it possible for the mailing company to exploit the capabilities of high-speed automatic machinery. An individual mailing to U.S. public libraries might involve about 5,000 pieces of material plus the envelopes. In contrast, a typical PMA coop mailing for 40 participants includes about 100,000 pieces plus envelopes, which is much more economical.

The bottom line is that a PMA coop mailing costs a very small fraction of what it would cost you to distribute your brochure yourself. For example, an individual mailing to the 9,000 librarians of the Corporate and Institutions list would spend at least $6,000. However, the PMA coop mailing costs only $500 (and the cost of this mailing may be reduced as additional publishers participate). A coop mailing also eliminates most of your in-house labor costs.

Furthermore, in my opinion, you’re likely to get a better response rate with a coop mailing because it has a synergistic effect, stimulating the urge to buy. The attractive PMA envelope and a diverse selection of interesting topics get the librarians’ attention.


Shipping Tips

Boxes of flyers are heavy. The Energy Institute Press ships 66 pounds of brochures for each College and University Libraries mailing. Originally we had to open and repack the boxes that we received from our printer. To avoid this, we now ask our printer to ship brochures to us in boxes that are sized for the PMA mailings that we use.

We send our brochures by UPS so we don’t have to lug the boxes to a post office. For pickup, we call UPS on the previous day, tell them the weight and dimensions of the boxes, and then pay by credit card. Their telephone number, for your reference, is 1-800-PICK-UPS.

It’s important to use the shipping label PMA provides, even if your shipper attaches its own label. The PMA label tells its mailing service which program your package is intended for, so your brochures don’t get lost in their warehouse. We make it a practice to attach two copies of the PMA label to each package because our shipper sticks its own label over one of the PMA labels.

Also, it will help the PMA mailing service if you mark all the boxes in multiple shipments to keep them together.


You Gotta Play to Win!

If your book is appropriate for one of the markets covered by PMA coop mailings, I recommend that you participate. For us, the PMA mailings have proven to be far more effective than any large-scale publicity we have tried.

Do yourself and your fellow publishers a favor by becoming a charter member of the new Corporate and Institutional Libraries mailing. It’s too good to pass up.

Remember, the deadline for the first Corporate and Institutions mailing is October 2002. Be sure to print enough flyers for this big new marketing opportunity.

Donald Wulfinghoff is the Founder of Energy Institute Press. Its flagship publication, the “Energy Efficiency Manual,” has become the world’s leading guide to energy conservation in buildings and industry. The book is a winner of two silver Ben Franklin Awards. To learn more, visit http://www.energybooks.com.

Connect With Us

1020 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Suite 204 Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
P: 310-546-1818 F: 310-546-3939 E: info@IBPA-online.org
© Independent Book Publishers Association