Tactile attention

Companies are always handing out trinkets and toys and even swag. They do that because they want you to remember them and they want you to take some action. Obviously, that action is to hire them or buy their product.

But, does a “leave behind” accomplish that? I bought a Pets.com sock puppet. I still have it. I adore it. But, the truth is, I never bought anything else from Pets.com even though I had three indoor cats and Pets.com is a well-known story of failure.

It was not entirely my fault that Pets.com failed. It also had to do with the dot.com bubble bursting.

But, Pets.com is proof that just giving (or selling) someone a marketing piece does not guarantee a response. Even selling them a cool marketing item does not spell success.

When I worked at the University of Illinois, our department needed to conduct a survey of our stakeholders but we were feeling discouraged because there is always a low survey response rate, especially compared to all the work that goes into creating a survey instrument and collecting all that data. I suggested something I remembered from grad school. In the most simplistic explanation I can give you, we remember what we touch or interact with.

We sent a teabag with each survey, and invited the respondents to relax with a cup of hot tea while they answered our survey and then returned it to us. Yes, it cost a bit more. We had to buy teabags and we had to take time stuffing them into the envelopes by hand. But, the survey return rate was huge!

Authors can leave “leave behinds.” (The more I use that term, the less I like it.) Just use your imagination. What will inspire readers or editors or retailers to interact with you?

I recommend that you choose a “leave behind”—what a cumbersome term–that will inspire not just a single response but an ongoing interaction with you.

I’m always looking for a new way to gain the attention of customers. As I have mentioned previously, I will be participating in Writers On The River, as a sponsor. I want to create some swag but I’m not fond of junk. I am very fond of anything that is unique and that will actually be used.

My newest innovation is the portrait-orientation style folded business card. I added my basic info and when you flip it over, you find, in light gray ink, “Pssst…I am a foldover bookmark.”

Below that is a list of my self-publishing services. Writers read. Writers use bookmarks. And I want to keep my business card in the hands of potential customers. I don’t want my card in a Rolex. Plus, I want my potential customers to have the menu of my services, located on the back, literally in their hands when they need it.So, if they use it as a bookmark, they are likely to use it—and perhaps several times a day. And, a reader can’t resist reading something, right?


I found some really unique business cards at Tiny Prints, which is where I ordered mine. Take a look. Explore.

If you want a copy of my business card, attend Writers on the River, in July. Fun fact: Do you realize the acronym spells WOTR which, if you say it aloud, is Water? 

Anything I can help you with? Email me at contact@thinkfastwritefast.com.