April 18, 2007

Fax Marketing

I got a chain letter by fax.
It's very simple.
You just fax a dollar bill to everybody on the list.
-- Steven Wright
Do you use your fax machine for marketing? Do you even use a fax machine any more?

I was passing by mine and saw an usually large stack of paper. About 50 pages. The first 23 pages were for me. The rest were garbage.

Here's what I got
  1. Bookkeeping software with a special offer for signing up before Feb. It's already April ...
  2. Getting logos put on clothing
  3. An anger management course ($400)
  4. An accounting course ($700)
  5. Training for supervisors ($800)
  6. Training for office managers ($800)
  7. Car insurance
  8. Mortgages ... no income verification!
  9. Collingwood timeshare ($130 for two full nights) ... what's a partial night?
  10. Water cooler ($20/month)
  11. Public speaking seminar ($280)
  12. Mortgages ... up to 100% financing
  13. Cleaning supplies
  14. Mortgage insurance
  15. Loans for any purpose ... 6% interest ... rates subject to change
  16. Warm leads
  17. Supervisor training ($270)
  18. Florida vacation ($600 for 8 nights and 11 days) ... 3 more days than nights?!?
  19. Florida Disney and Bahamas cruise ($700 for 8 nights and 9 days) ... $5,000 value
Who Pays?
Not only do you get junk faxes, you get to pay for the paper and ink. Doesn't that make you more receptive to the offers?

Opt Out Option

The faxes did give an option to get taken off the distribution. Or so they said. Interestingly, you'd have to phone to be removed. You couldn't just send a fax. So you can't retaliate by sending the senders junk faxes. Their privacy is more important than ours.

Death of Faxes
In the 1980s, fax machines were rare and expensive. At Metropolitan Life in Ottawa, ours was called a "telecopier" and my department had the only one. In the 1990s, fax machines became commonplace. Do you remember the funny or rude covering pages?

Most nights, fax machines would call our voice line. And keep calling back, thinking our (nonexistent) machine was out of paper. Thankfully, those calls have disappeared. Either there are better filters or -- my guess -- fax use has dropped.

In contrast, email spam isn't so bad.

Marketing By Fax
If you're thinking of marketing by fax. One word: DON'T.
Unless you're giving away a free anger management course.

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