Sunday, March 8, 2009

Shall I Tell You What I Think of You? Okay!

I thought I might write a few posts on different promotional tools I have used. Which ones were good, bad and downright ugly. Maybe I can help you save a few headaches or at least give you something to think about. Or I can help you hit the promotional lottery. We all want that!
Back in October, I'd read about The Little Black Box in the Etsy Forums. The idea is to send in your promotional products which are then sorted into outgoing boxes that go on sale monthly. You don't pay to do it, nor do you get money in return, but hopefully the exposure will bring you some new business. So I thought, "Hey, I'll try it out." I had read on the site that the more promos you sent, obviously, the more exposure you'll gain. Makes sense.
I spent a month assembling 150 single korker hair pony-o's to send out using my snowflake holiday ribbon. I was going to be in November's Little Black Box and thought it would be perfect for Winter. The whole thing turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself. Even the packaging was perfect. I included the bow on a hang card, a business card and a coupon for 15% off a single item in the store. Everything was sealed with a cute little mouse round sticker.
I shipped them out and waited to see what would happen.
On the LBB site there is a section in the forums for promotional item reviews. It's broken out into the monthly features and every participant has their own thread for customers to post reviews.
November came and went. I didn't gain any increase in traffic to the store. I didn't notice a change in items being hearted either. I also didn't have a single redemption on the coupon. I wondered if my items even went out. I assumed they did since I was included in the November box listing but I didn't even have one single review posted in the forum either. 150 samples were sent out and I didn't have anything to show for it.
Now mind you, all I knew about my audience was that they were interested in buying handmade items. I didn't know if any of them had any kids or knew someone with young kids. Perhaps some didn't even know what it was I'd sent them.
In any case, I would call my experience with The Little Black Box completely unsuccessful. You may have better luck (I've heard that some do really well), but don't invest too much time and effort. Maybe only submit a small number of samples, like 25, and see what happens.
I, for one, will not be doing The Little Black Box again and will try something that directly targets my intended audience rather than just "throwing it out there" and hoping it hits someone who may be interested.

Bottom Line: Mixed-Bag


Whimsical Creations said...

It's funny you wrote about this. I was going to do it, but re-thought it after I bought one. I wasn't really impressed. While I would have LOVED your sample, I really felt what I got in my sample box for my money wasn't worth it. I will not be buying another one.

sunsetsurf said...

Thanks for the info! That is very good to know. I thought about doing some of those, like the Sampler. good to here someone's experience!

Kala Pohl Studio said...

Great info, thank you:):)

Christina and Joe Waarvik said...

Thanks for the info! I haven't heard of the Little Black Box before this...
Sorry this happened to you!

Winklepots said...

Well, I wouldn't call it a bad experience, just a learning one. How will you know unless you try right? :o) I just think there are more effective ways for me to advertise.

ElegantSnobbery said...

Great review! I've thought about LBB, but wasn't sure if it was right for me. My target audience is similar to yours... I'm not sure if I would have any success with this either. Thanks for sharing, Holly! How frustrating!

Shimmermeblue said...

I've heard some things about this and was considering sending some stuff in. Now, I'm reconsidering.
Thanks for sharing!

Shandell's said...

Good for you to try and to tell. Thank you

Tip-Tops said...

Thank you for your post. I wonder about these sampler packs. My etsy street team is doing something like this for a local event that is huge in our state-except that we aren't selling the sampler packs. We're giving them away instead.
Anyway, I'll be curious to see if anything comes of it.
(I made remnant ribbon magnets, along with my business card and a coupon. I have a TON of remnant ribbon!!)

wunderbug said...

awww! that's so sad! i was totally expecting a happy ending on this one.

note to self - stay away from LBB!

Leah said...

Thanks for your honesty - I've thought about doing similar sample giveaways but it's so hard to tell what will/won't work.

PamperingBeki said...

Oh that stinks! I'm sorry you had no results from it.

If it makes you feel any better, I participated in the Etsy co-op advertising program for Mary Engelbriet magazine and didn't get a single sale from it either. haha!

I get far better results from just good ol' blogging and twittering and those are free.


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