Plumber Uses Unique Direct Mail Tactic to Gain New Customers

Lucas Elsing wanted to get work from home-remodeling contractors and found a way to stand out from competitors when pitching them his services

Plumber Uses Unique Direct Mail Tactic to Gain New Customers

Lucas Elsing, owner of Kegonsa Plumbing in Madison, Wisconsin

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When Lucas Elsing first started Kegonsa Plumbing in Madison, Wisconsin, he figured he’d have to do something unusual to carve out a toehold from which to attack his target market: home-remodeling contractors.

So to do something that would truly differentiate his company from competitors, he opted for what he calls “lumpy mail.” It involves sending contractors a large envelope containing an introductory letter and something that’s shaped irregularly enough to attract attention.

In this case, it was the right foot from a mannequin.

“Some people send emails, drop off business cards or make phone calls,” Elsing says. “But I really wanted to do something memorable and set myself apart. So I found some mannequin feet on Amazon for less than $10 apiece. The wife of one of my guys painted the toenails. And I became known as ‘the foot guy.’

“When people open up the envelope, they’re curious about why there’s a foot inside. So then they read the letter, in which I introduce myself and say I’d like to get off on the right foot and do things right the first time if they give me a chance to work for them.”

How well did the marketing effort work? Elsing says he sent feet to eight contractors, and five hired him. That’s an excellent hit rate for direct-mail marketing. 

“I targeted well-established remodeling companies and I’ve been getting repeat work from those five general contractors ever since,” Elsing says. “So those $10 mannequin feet probably turned into $100,000 worth of business or more over the years.”

One key to success: Use a large envelope with protective packaging material inside, not a box. That way the recipients can feel that there’s something “lumpy” inside.

“It’s all about jacking up their curiosity,” Elsing says.

The marketing technique also served another purpose: It indicated which contractors had a good sense of humor and, as such, would more likely be easier to work with and build relationships with. 

“One guy thought it was a little weird,” Elsing says. “He was very old-school and not very pleasant. So I knew to not bother him anymore.

“Something like this gives you a glimpse of people’s personality and character. In a sense, you’re interviewing them and at the same time they’re interviewing you to see if it’s a good fit.”

Read more about Kegonsa Plumbing in the April 2021 issue of Plumber magazine.


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