What’s a Filler, Anyway?

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Hanging around work-at-home-mom (WAHM) websites or forums, you’ve probably heard the term “filler” mentioned more than once, and may have been unsure of what it really means. Let’s talk about fillers for a bit since becoming familiar with this little goodie will help you build your direct sales business on a shoestring!

And goodie is just what it is.

You know all those goodie bags you get at parties, seminars and events? And inside are all those little coupons, business cards, pens and pencils and such? Well, all those little items are called fillers because they fill the bag. (See, you were familiar with them… even if you didn’t know what they were called!)

Fillers are anything that are used to fill a goodie bag that will be distributed to others. And fillers for your direct sales business will be used to promote your products, business opportunity, sales or website.

So, what kind of things make good fillers? Some ideas include:

• Coupons
• Half or quarter-page fliers
• Keychains
• Pens or pencils
• Mintbooks (like matchbooks that you make and staple a mint inside)
• Business cards (plain or with something attached)
• Small samples

Once you decide on what kind of filler you’ll use, you need to decide how you will actually create your filler.

If you plan to use business promotional items such as keychains, you’ll need to have them printed by someone who offers that service. Keep in mind that even if you get them made cheaply, costs will add up on these items as you can distribute a lot of fillers in a very short time.

As for coupons, fliers, mintbooks, bookmarks and similar items, you can create and print them yourself or hire someone to do it for you. These are much more common fillers since they cost less to produce and can be distributed in greater volume.

You can use Microsoft Word or Publisher to easily create your own fillers. Just be sure to include complete contact information, including your website address, email address, phone, etc. Also include the discount amount and discount code, if you’re designing a coupon.

For bookmarks or mintbooks, it’s best to print them on cardstock so they’ll be more sturdy. And include a simple graphic or your company logo for visual interest. Several items will fit on one page and save printing costs, as will using minimal (if any) color when you print. Don’t feel full color is mandatory. Black and white designs can be striking and eye-catching.

Remember, this is your business. If you choose to make your own fillers, be sure they are nicely designed, error-free, printed cleanly, and cut neatly.. Professionalism matters.

Once your filler design is complete, print or copy a bunch of them, cut (with a paper cutter for neat edges!) and separate in stacks of 25-50 if you plan to share them with others to put in their goodie bags.

There are two primary ways to distribute the fillers – either in your own goodie bags or by giving them to others to use in their bags. You can do one or both.

If you make your own bags, you’ll need a bag (zipper bags will work, but you can get cellophane bags with resealable edges much cheaper). Select the size bag you think you can easily fill. You’ll also want a label to apply to the front of each bag with your company name and information and the purpose of the bag. For instance: “Enjoy this Goodie Bag provided to you by Nicole Dean of ShowMomTheMoney.com!”

You’ll also need your own fillers and fillers from other businesses. Place a simple post on online direct sales and WAHM forums that you’re accepting fillers. People will contact you and you can make arrangements for them to send you their fillers.

Be sure to specify the size, quantity, and other stipulations of the fillers you can use. Tell them what companies you won’t take (those you represent) so you won’t have competition. After all, it’s your bag… Use it to promote your own business first!

Direct Sellers who make use of filler advertising recognize what a great promotional opportunity it is, so you shouldn’t have trouble getting several items to fill your bags. If you find you’re receiving too many business cards, post again and ask for coupons or more substantial fillers if you desire.

Once you have all the items in hand, simply fill your bags with one from each company. Put your own filler on top so it will be seen first when the bags are opened. Then just start handing them out!

If you plan to give your fillers to others for use in their bags, post that you have fillers to offer. Tell what they are (as in a coupon, bookmark, etc.), what company they’re for, and how many you have. Then when someone asks for your fillers, send them the agreed upon amount in a timely manner and wait for the response! You may want to code your fillers for each mailing in a certain way so when you receive a response, you’ll know where they found you.

There are any number of ways to distribute your goodie bags once they’re complete. Consider giving them to:

• Local office workers
• Receptionists
• Nurses
• Your friends and family
• Teachers
• Cashiers
• Servers
• Hair stylists
• Pet groomers
• Babysitters
• Seminar participants

The possibilities are endless! With a little creativity and imagination, fillers can help you build your direct sales business inexpensively while helping you support other direct sales consultants at the same time.

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