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.
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.
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.
It’s hard to imagine living life without a cell phone these days, isn’t it? But more and more consumers are turning their back on traditional long-term cell contracts in favor of pay-as-you-go models. These contract cutters are often younger, make less money and often move around quite a bit. So how do you get in touch with them and let them know that there’s freedom beyond contracts? With the Internet it can be difficult to target the correct customers, and many people interested in pay-as-you go phone services may not be big computer users.
It doesn’t matter how pretty your direct mail piece is, how many people it goes to, how award-winning its design. All that really matters is the offer, the ask, the reason people need to get in touch with you right now. But how do you do that?
The first key is that the offer must be relevant to each customer. This might mean segmenting your mailing list down to current customers who have bought certain services or it might mean geotargeting your list of prospects down to just those who live in a certain zip code and make $100,000 each year. The things that motivate each group will be different, so the message needs to be different as well. After all, you don’t catch sharks with bluegill bait. Make sure you’re putting the right worms on your hook to get the customers you want.
Telemarketing is almost a dirty word in some circles these days, but it’s still a common prospecting technique? Why? Because it works. But because of stringent regulations like the Do Not Call List that stop those pesky marketers from calling just as you’re sitting down to dinner, you’ve got to find ways to get permission to make that call, forge that personal connection and make the sale. One powerful way to do that is by warming up that cold call with direct mail marketing.
To do good in this world, whether that’s for a not-for-profit, a university or other worthy cause, it takes money. And that money comes from both passionate big donors and small trickles of $10 here, $100 there, from regular Joes. But just how do you stay in touch with both the big and the little fish? While there are as many ways to reach donors as there are donors themselves, one tactic you shouldn’t discount is direct mail marketing.
Let’s say you work for a company that sells Medicare supplements. You walk into a room with 100 people who by all accounts should be your target customer: they’re just about to turn 65, they’re middle class or upper middle class, they’re health conscious. On paper, they should be all over you.