Advice in placemat advertising for a web based healthy snack delivery startup?


I'm starting a web based healthy snack box (consisting of a variety of dried fruits, nuts, organics, etc.) delivery business in a busy commercial area. The box is designed to provide a healthy snacking alternative for office workers.

The business model and the brand is new therefore I need to create awareness and word of mouth.

I feel like spending a portion of my offline marketing budget on placemat advertising in the vicinity of my target population may be a low cost way to create awareness.

I'm planning to design my own paper which will feature only my website and the product, and make a deal with 2 restaurants which host around 200 people /day. I will supply them for a month or two months for no fee in return.

Since most of my potential customers snack between 3pm and 5 pm, I feel that designing the placemat theme over 3 pm cravings may be a good idea. My primary goal is to make the restaurant visitors check out my website as soon as they go back to their offices.

Since these people will be exposed to placemats for at least 30 minutes while they are having their lunch, I'm guessing a 5% - 6 % of restaurant visitors may check the website as soon as they go back to their offices. And spread the word to 2 or 3 co workers and friends.

I need some advice from people who have used this type of media before to maket it as effective as possible.

I will be glad if you share your experience in,

  1. Designing the placemat - important details in design
  2. The % of visitors I should expect / day for this particular scenario.

Thank you all.

Marketing Advertising Conversion

asked Mar 5 '11 at 03:05
21 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

2 Answers


It is extremely difficult to get potential customers to read an advertisement, remember a web address, and then go look it up on the web. You need to get the customer to take three consecutive actions, spread out over time. If they fail in any of these three actions, you get no result.

Your 5% - 6% estimate is way too high. You will be lucky to get 0.1% (1 in a thousand) people to visit your web site in this way.

A much better approach is to pass out free samples and have the sample package mention your web site. This would improve your conversion rate. If a person takes the snack sample and eats it at their desk, they can immediately type in the web address mentioned on the snack packaging.

answered Mar 5 '11 at 03:44
Gary E
12,510 points
  • hanks for your suggestion. Freeboxes are a part of action set we are planning to execute. We are also offering 20% discount on first orders to initiate trials. owever I feel a bit different about the response rate for placemat. The restaurants I picked are very close to the offices. Less than 1 minute walk for people. So the time span is quite short. I'd totally agree with you if this was a billboard sign that you see on the highway we are talking about – Hakkasan 13 years ago
  • A well know software firm tried this approach years ago. They contracted to produce 1,000,000 "ads" to be placed at hundreds of local businesses. They abandoned the entire concept after 20,000 "ads" with virtually no response. – Gary E 13 years ago


"My primary goal is to make the restaurant visitors check out my website as soon as they go back to their offices. "

I'm not confident they would do that. A placemat says 'unsophisticated-consumer-commodity-coupon'. Would you hire an attorney you'd see on a placemat? Coupon for an oil change... sure. Have you ever bought from a placemat? According to you I've been exposed to placemats for 10,000 hours... I tune them out just like any other ad. I fear you severely underestimate the exposure need to get people thinking about such an item.

Yes, 1 in 1000. ... fanatics... the end of the bell curve...

Please DO NOT start a business with a solution looking for a problem... REAL research first... NOT "I have this great stuff and office folks would love it if I could just get in their hands."

I agree with Gary.

answered Mar 8 '11 at 10:27
249 points
  • Thanks Randy. I see that placemat advertising is widely used in states for small businesses. Well that's not the case over here. It's rarely used in restaurants. You don't see attorneys or oil station ads on placemats. And physical coupons are almost non existent in my country. These are different markets, I haven't given enough info about product and the service or the potential demand market situtatio – Hakkasan 13 years ago

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