We’ve talked about objectives, we’ve talked about lists. Now let’s focus on the importance of great messaging in your direct mail marketing. Do you have a piece of marketing material lying around? Anything will do, a brochure, a direct mail piece, even your website. Go through and count how many times you use your company’s names or words like “I,” “we” and “our.” Now repeat the process with the words “you” and “your.” Which one is there more of?
As we continue our series on direct mail basics, we hope you’ve already gone ahead and clarified your objectives. If not, go ahead and read that blog post before moving on. Ready? Let’s go.
Now that you know why you’re sending your direct mail, who you want to send to and what you want to accomplish, it’s time to figure out the best way to reach them. There are three main components: who you send to, what you ask them to do and how you ask them to do it.
Since the title of this blog is “Direct Mail Marketing 101,” we thought it’d be good to go back to the very beginning and walk you through the process of sending direct mail from getting the idea to evaluating your success. Today, we’ll talk about a simple and often-overlooked step that can catapult your direct mail campaign to massive success or leave you stuck on the ground.
When someone asks what you do, what do you say? Do you say you’re in insurance or Medicare or fundraising or car sales? Or to you tell them that you help give people piece of mind, help them afford good medical coverage, make a difference in your community or help people live their dreams?
Even when your not-for-profit does great and important work, it can still be hard to make that all-important ask for donations. You don’t want to come on too strong, but at the same time you know it’s critical to get those funds. One simple, heartfelt way to get your message across is by using direct mail. Here are a few ideas for tastefully asking for—and getting—donations for your non-profit:
- Include an envelope. Does this sound too simple? Believe it or not, simply including a return envelope can be a huge way to make it easier for donors to whip out their checkbooks. Make sure you pre-print your address on the envelope for maximum effect. For bonus points, also include an easy way to donate online so donors can sit down in front of their computer immediately and make a difference right away.
- Attach to a specific case. You’ve probably seen those late-night commercials telling you how you can sponsor a child. They don’t just talk about any child; they’ll give you a picture, a back story, even letters from the child so you can feel a strong emotional attachment and connection to a child a world away. You can make the same thing work. Maybe it’s sponsoring a particular animal, event or stretch of highway; maybe it’s sponsoring a meal or a child, as we discussed. Whatever you want people to donate toward, give them specifics, including pictures and follow-up after the fact to show them how their money made a difference.
- Show success. Even if you don’t want to give each donor a specific case study, everyone likes to understand how their dollars will be spent. At least once a year, give a detailed breakdown of how donations were spent—what went to overhead, what went directly to programs, what’s carried over for next year, how much was drawn from the endowment. Obviously you can’t track a donor’s particular dollars, but by giving the big picture, you can help make them feel more secure in donating again.
- Remind them donating now saves money. Direct mail is a way to make a personal connection, but it can be expensive. Many not-for-profits, including NPR stations, remind donors that by donating at the first request, they’re saving the not-for-profit the cost of repeated reminders, thus making their dollar stretch even farther.
Interested in more information on how direct mail marketing can help you? Contact Premier Advantage Marketing. We’ll help you reach your donors and prospective donors, make an emotional connection, and do more good in your community.
Triggered mail is mail that is sent in response to an event of some kind. In most cases, these are sent automatically, with little input from the marketer after the initial setup. As a result, it’s a very cost-effective form of marketing that relies on catching customers at exactly the right moment when they’re ready to buy. But what are these triggers that initiate the direct mail piece?
There’s this idea out there that marketing must always reinvent the wheel. Every time you go to create a new marketing piece, you must start from scratch, keeping the page blank and creating something wholly new every time. Not only will that notion cost you more time and money, it’ll result in a lackluster marketing campaign.
There are some products out there that explode onto the scene with the force of a thousand suns. They change everything—think about the iPhone or the Kindle. These new products redefine their space and give us whole new modes of vocabulary and ways of living. But let’s face it, not every new product is quite so earth-shattering. It might be as simple as a new insurance product or a new way of buying pre-paid cell phones. It’s exciting, it can change your business, but you’re really trying to break into a mature market, not create one all your own.
Direct mail isn’t easy, but it’s simple. We’ve made it our business and life’s work to know everything there is about the strategy and creation of great direct mail campaigns, but when you strip everything else away, there are only four critical elements to a direct mail piece. Sure, there are subsets upon subsets, but everything falls into one of these four categories:
Great marketing is really, really annoying.
Sounds counter intuitive, doesn’t it? After all, you want your business to be liked. Loved, even. But the irony is, if you execute irritating marketing well, it will be.
What makes marketing irritating, you ask? It’s the kind of marketing that’s everywhere. Everywhere you turn, there’s another message worming its way into your subconscious. It’s absolutely ubiquitous. That’s what makes really great marketing: the kind you can’t escape from.