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Fish on a bikeWhat Has a Fish Riding a Bicycle Got in Common with Fax Marketing?

Not everything in black and white makes sense.  Sometimes it just works!

OK I’ll explain:

Guinness once did a TV ad campaign featuring a monochrome image of a fish riding a bicycle, followed by the slogan "Not everything in black and white makes sense"

Well OK, it’s an ad that appealed to my sense of humour anyway! But yes, “Not everything in black and white makes sense”...

Boxes are for containing

We stand at the door of our marketing department eagerly anticipating the next exciting design, hoping that it's going to be a stellar success. Sometimes though the designers have boxed themselves into a corner and just aren't producing viable results.

The Guinness ad certainly captured attention because it was so far out of the "norm" that it just couldn't help but be noticed. It was thinking outside the box to the n'th degree!

Sending out a marketing message by fax to thousands of Australian businesses still gets good response rates and a respectable ROI. It requires to think outside the box and a bit of imagination and an open mind to exploit fax as a viable marketing channel.

While the technology of fax may not be at the cutting edge of the digital frontier, it is without doubt an established business communication medium that still lends itself well to the delivery of a marketing message.

Just as putting a flyer through a letter box will always be an inexpensive and effective way for a window cleaner or a gardener to generate more business, sending an appropriate special offer to a business by fax is a viable means of generating enquiries for many business types.

Back to (fax) basics

So what kind of businesses advertise by fax? And which ones shouldn't even think about it? How come one company can spend less than a thousand bucks on a fax campaign and generate hundreds of leads, while another business struggles to get any response at all?

Well, before I answer those, a more appropriate question is what kind of offer works well on fax?

The raw simplicity of fax forces one to revisit some marketing basics.

  • Know who you are targeting and offer something that they will respond to.
  • Design an offer that elicits a response (not necessarily a sale)
  • Have a process in place to deal with responses and convert them in to a sale
  • Survey, test and measure and constantly tweak the campaign to reduce the cost of acquiring a lead.

Fax as an advertising medium is quite a unique proposition if you think about it. Low cost, versatility, no spam issues, geographically focused.

As to what kind of companies would benefit from fax marketing, it is used by a variety of businesses for many different reasons. For some, it’s a way of sending out a price list to their regular customers every month. For others, it’s a great way of shifting stock sat in a warehouse. It has so any different potential uses but most of our clients use fax to generate new business enquiries.

Fax blasting for the masses

Although it’s essentially a B2B medium (i.e. how many fax machines live in residential dwellings?) there are exceptions. Faxing has worked remarkably well for many B2C campaigns like Cheap Holidays, Solar Conversions, Career training etc. Although the fax is going to a business office, the individual employee who picks it up has their own needs that the offer may fulfill.

Faxing can sometimes reach companies that other marketing methods and budgets can’t reach – so can be used to compliment other elements of the marketing mix. Plus it’s worth mentioning that we don’t usually advocate a single method of marketing at the exclusion of all others.

In summary

Faxing isn't the answer to everything, i firmly recommend you should try a mix of email, mail shots, ad words, SEO etc etc to drive traffic through your sales and marketing funnel.

There are some obvious examples of business that shouldn't even consider faxing; like butchers bakers and candlestick makers. Mining, banking and large retail etc. If you’re in any other sector and you have an open mind. Feel free to contact us to see what kind of responses we've seen for businesses in your sector. 

A small business marketer needs a closed mind like a Fish needs a bicycle!

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