Back in 1997, Chuck Creacy and Chris Eddy began publishing the Chevy Chaser, a monthly magazine that covers a thriving, established neighborhood in Lexington, Kentucky. They did it all, from managing editorial to selling ads and overseeing printing. The business partners even delivered the publication with the help of friends and family, who were sometimes paid in six-packs.
“We carried it door-to-door to 12,000 homes, and it would take a couple of weeks to get it all delivered,” said Creacy.
After a year of slogging through rain, sleet and snow, they began to look for an easier and more efficient way to distribute the Chevy Chaser. They landed across the table from me.
Bill had a solution for the partners, something they had seen but weren’t sure how to go about using–the detached address label (DAL) postcard. It is a useful way under certain circumstances to distribute certain types of mail promotions and product samples.
“Bill walked us through the process, explained how it worked and told us about the regulations we would have to meet to make it viable,” said Creacy.
Using DAL, Creacy and Eddy found they had many more hours to focus on growing their business, Smiley Pete Publishing.
“Two weeks to deliver the Chevy Chaser became hours and now, it takes minutes of our time to do it,” Chuck said. “Bluegrass helped us get it done quickly and efficiently.”
DAL poses a number of advantages for Smiley Pete and other publishers.
Addresses are printed on postcards, delivered with the magazine. The flip side of the card is available as ad space. “With our two monthly magazines, we have 24 postcard ad opportunities to sell and we typically sell out at the beginning of the year,” said Chuck. Advertising income from the cards creates a revenue stream that helps offset some publishing and mailings costs.
Those who design magazine covers typically are forced to leave blank spaces for a mailing label or accept the fact that part of their design will be obscured by a mailing label. With DAL postcards, a magazine’s cover remains unmarred. ”When you have a label on that cover space it breaks up the beauty of the magazine,” said Chuck.
With DAL cards, printing the magazines and printing mailing information can be done independent of one another. So, postcards can be printed in advance of the magazines’ press dates. “Printing and sticking labels on 30,000 magazines would take days,” said Creacy. “These postcards can be preaddressed, labeled and waiting for the magazine to be printed, then it is off to the races.”
A simple idea like DAL postcards has been a key to Smiley Pete’s growth. The company now publishes three magazines, including a bimonthly, subscriber-based business magazine. Bluegrass has been involved in developing a distribution system for all of them.
“Bluegrass has gone over and above for us,” said Chuck. “We have referred dozens of our clients to them for direct mail.”
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