Handbills that perform

Are you having trouble finding a printer who will print evangelistic handbills just the way you want them——and at a price you can afford? Are you tired of the same old two-color design you've been using since college? Are you having problems obtaining lists of the residential occupants in your town? And have you given up trying to get your church members to hand-address 10,000 envelopes? If you answered Yes to any of the above, we have help for you. Russell Holt recently interviewed Tom Hall about the services available to ministers at Media, Incorporated.

B. Russell Holt is the executive editor of Ministry.

Q. The card that you just handed me says, Mecit'a, Incorporated: Specialists in Lithography and Direct Mail." What exactly is a "specialist in lithography and direct mail"? 

A. Basically, we are specialty printers and mailers. Because we want to help our church, we have developed a service for pastors and evangelists that we think can really help them prepare effective hand bills and get them into the hands of people.

Q. Could you explain in more detail just what you can do for a pastor or evangelist who wants to use your services?

A. Sure. First of all is the handbill. Some pastors and evangelists feel that four-color is too expensive for them to use. And it may be, if they go to their local printer. One advantage of our service or a similar one (I'm not the only person in the United States doing this) is that we provide a handbill that is sharp, colorful, professional, and that has proved appeal — and at a price that is far less than anything comparable printed locally.

Here's how. We have developed a variety of attractive, four-color handbills that can be adapted somewhat according to each person's needs. Local information regarding subjects, time and place of meetings, speaker, etcetera, can be placed into our standardized-format handbills to create a "custom-design" piece. And because the artwork, mechanicals, and other expensive preparation have already been done, the cost is much cheaper than it could possibly be if printed from scratch.

Another advantage of our service, I feel, is that the pastor or evangelist is working with handbills that are fairly well proved in their ability to get results. We don't expect a pastor to be a printing expert or a design specialist. But even if he doesn't really understand printing or how to design a good handbill, by matching his meetings to one of our handbills, we can help him have a brochure that will be right for him and that he can afford.

We feel that four-color is an absolute necessity in today's direct mail communication. One large national advertiser has said simply, "Black and white is for budgets; color is for results." The average person today is constantly deluged by information and mail pieces. He has become more sophisticated and less impressionable. Our piece, then, must be simple, yet professional in appearance. We feel that its purpose must be to assure the reader that he can find the answers to the problems of daily living—and that he will find them at these meetings. We have only a few seconds to grasp his attention, so the piece must be striking and speak to enough needs to be sure that it will touch one of his. However, we don't want to include too much copy—just enough to whet his appetite and instill confidence in the program and the speaker.

We think our handbills do that.

Q. But you are a mailer too, isn't that right? You don't just print a handbill and deliver it to the pastor or evangelist.

A. That's right. The second part of our service is to provide mailing. We will determine the ZIP codes needed to be covered and the dates of the mailings. We then work with the post office to see that the brochures are delivered on time.

Q. But you're located in North Carolina. Suppose I'm holding meetings in Minnesota or California. You can't help me there, can you? 

A. It doesn't matter where you are in the United States, we can handle it from North Carolina! Right now we're working with twenty or thirty evangelists across the United States on a regular basis, as well as many, many pastors who are running Daniel seminar series.

Q. Do you mean that all the evangelist or pastor has to do is to select the handbill he wants to use and give you the information to be printed on it along with the ZIP codes to be covered? Then he doesn't have to worry about a thing as far as the post office is concerned?

A. Well, it isn't quite that easy! He does have to worry about the mailing. He has to check on his end with the local post office at certain intervals and make sure that they are following the instructions we send them. There's always a certain element of headache in mailing, and the pastor needs to do everything he can to be sure the post office is following through. Don't take anything for granted. But we send a letter to the pastor or evangelist outlining just what steps he is to follow in checking up on

Q. Give our readers an idea of what your service costs. Suppose I'm a pastor in a small Midwestern town. I select one of your handbills, have it printed with my information, and want you to mail it to the three thousand homes in my town. What would that cost?

A. It's not easy to say, because we have so many different handbill styles and so many different prices within those styles. Actually, with four-color work, a person would have to buy a minimum of five thousand handbills for us to be able to print them economically. Most of our handbills are running from a low of $105 per thousand on up to $200 per thousand.

Q. And that price includes the total pack age printing, mailing., and all?

A. That's right.

Q. Does a pastor or evangelist have a chance to approve the handbill before it's printed?

A. If we have enough advance time and he requests a proof, we can do that. Most of the time we don't send a proof; we just proofread it ourselves.

Q. You have a service involving Bible study enrollment cards, don't you, in addition to the handbill service?

A. Yes. We've been having terrific success with Bible study enrollment cards through the mail. I've been surprised at the results. Many church members say, "I'd like to give Bible studies, but I don't have anyone to study with." This is a way to obtain contacts—someone who writes back and says, "I'm that individual; I'd like to study the Bible. Come and see me!" 

Q. How does this work?

A. Again, the church gives us the ZIP codes to be covered. But the post office is refining ZIP codes to the point that in many cases they can pinpoint an exact carrier's route, even to which side of the street an address is on! It's called carrier route presorted, and it goes at a less expensive rate because we presort the computer cards in the exact order a carrier walks that particular route. Then the cards are sent to him already addressed in that order so that he doesn't have to do any sorting; they're all ready to go.

With this system we can pinpoint very specific areas to cover, which is an advantage for a church that is sending out Bible study enrollment cards. This system allows you to be very selective in whom you wish to reach.

Q.  Is the cost feasible on this? Could a church send out ten thousand or twenty thousand in its immediate area, for example?

A. With the total package, the cost would be perhaps ten cents apiece—$100 per thousand—on such a mailing. That includes everything. Of course, these aren't usually mailed all at once. If they were, the church could be covered up with the returns all at once. We usually send out a certain number each month.

Q. How can a pastor or evangelist learn more about these services and how to use them? 

A. We have a pastor's package that will explain the whole program and how it works. We'll be happy to send it to any pastor or evangelist in the United States who asks for it. Just write: Media Incorporated, P.O. Box 18464, Greensboro, North Carolina 27419.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

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B. Russell Holt is the executive editor of Ministry.

December 1982

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