With increased costs and consumer behaviours shifting due to the rise of digital technologies, it might seem that direct mail is like flogging a dead horse. Not necessarily, reflects Anil Nair. Here are his suggestions to ensure your campaigns are effective.

With increased costs and consumer behaviours shifting due to the rise of digital technologies, it might seem that direct mail is like flogging a dead horse. Not necessarily, reflects Anil Nair. Here are his suggestions to ensure your campaigns are effective.

Direct mail

 

 

With rising postage costs, and the growth and apparent cost-effectiveness of digital channels, direct mail campaigns are under attack.

Response rates and Returns on Investment (ROIs) are challenged. Results aren’t as clear-cut. And access to data analytics to improve results might not be readily available.

But direct mail is also a channel that can be persuasive, personal and powerful. It remains the source of the majority of cash donations to Australian charities. And if used effectively, it has a critical place in a fundraiser’s successful marketing strategy.

For direct mail to be effective, charities need to remember that today’s supporters face a variety of messages – both offline and online.

On average, every day:

  • A person is likely to be exposed to almost 3,000 messages!
  • Of those, less than 2% are noticed.
  • And within that, only 1% will “stick”.

So direct mail needs to not only be good, it has to be relevant to the person who receives it!

To help improve your next direct mail campaign, consider some of the following pointers to help drive up ROI (these are by no means exhaustive, but they’re a good place to start):

1. Personalise – Go beyond “Name” personalisation. Think about personalising asks and images.

2. Use data segmentation and targeting – A highly targeted campaign can help boost response rates and ROIs. A highly targeted list or segment is essentially the “right person” part of the “right ask to right person” strategy.

3. Reactivate as well as acquire – It can be more cost-effective to reactivate/renew lapsed donors than acquire prospects. It can also be more rewarding, providing better response rates and ROIs.

4. Accurate contact details – Have your address, contact and website information on every part of your direct mail campaign, in case any part of the mail pack becomes separated.

5. Talk directly and warmly to the reader – Some of the more powerful direct mail letters use such words as “you” and “your” when addressing the donor. You can assume a level of familiarity if they have donated/supported before.

6. Thank your donor – Letters that begin with a direct thank-you or describe a benefit attributed to a donor/donation can inspire better responses.

7. Make your copy relevant and compelling – Sometimes longer copy can be more persuasive, and it will have more meaning to the donor if you tailor it to his or her interests as much as possible.

8. Integrate channels – Consider applying direct mail and digital channels together. They work well individually but even better integrated.

Direct mail is challenged. But it is far from dead. When used effectively, it still plays a key role in a successful fundraising strategy.

Anil Nair is Strategic Development Manager at Mail Makers integrated – a results focussed direct marketing fundraising agency that specialises in integrating direct mail communications with digital channels.

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