10 Ways to Increase Your Direct Mail Success

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“Direct mail is a long way from death. It’s still the most effective fundraising  medium (after the church offering basket) and it’s many times more effective than email,” Jeff Brooks, author of The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications: Real-World, Field-Tested Strategies for Raising More Money

Is direct mail dead? Not by a long shot!

According to Yory Wurmser, director of marketing and media insights at the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), direct mail boasts a 4.4% rate, compared to email’s average response rate of 0.12%. And, depending on how one crunches the numbers, direct mail has a response rate of up to 10 to 30 times that of email — and even higher when compared to online display.

So, I asked Keith Franco, a colleague who works in direct mail marketing at Sull Graphics, Inc., for some pointers to creating a successful direct mail campaign.

He prefaced his comments by saying that what you are about to read may seem fundamental in nature, even basic, but make no mistake.  The following points are absolutely, positively essential to a powerful and successful campaign.

  1. Choose your list carefully –A well-targeted list is key to any successful campaign.  For prospect mailings use a smaller list. All nonprofits should create a direct mail campaign with their house list.
  2. Offer something appealing – OK, now you’ve qualified them.  So, hook ‘em.  Get their attention.  Make them want to respond.
  3. Make it easy to respond –Provide multiple ways for your prospect to respond.  Not everyone wants to respond in the same way.  Provide a 1-800 #, email address or Business Reply Card or drive them to a web site where you can capture even more info about them for analytics and optimization in future campaigns.
  4. Use the right medium (fish where the fish are) –If you’re targeting an older crowd, you may want to go with a standard letter package via USPS.  If you’re targeting a younger crowd, you may want to go with a very colorful, eye-catching mail piece, email and invite them to respond digitally.
  5. Write copy that offers benefits –You’ve got their attention because you’ve qualified them and reached them using their preferred medium.  Now you have to captivate them with relevant copy that offers them a meaningful way to make a difference so they respond.
  6. Pick 2 or 3 Channels –If you’re not too sure about the medium in which to reach them so test it.  Divide you list in to sub-lists.  Send an email to some and a mail piece to others and judge the response.  Take a 3rd sub-list and send both mediums, then determine the preferred medium along with preferred method of response.
  7. Create an Emotional Selling Point – A proven method of evoking response is to trigger an emotion that causes them to act on your compelling copy.  This is critical, as this emotion will surface again as they refer back to or pick up your piece again, even if they don’t act on right away.
  8. Talk about your organization’s mission and how you make a difference for the community– Remember… everyone’s favorite radio station is WIIFM or What’s In It For Me.  If you can press their panic button and offer a solution, that’s half the battle.
  9. Stand out from your Competitors–Need I say more?
  10. Write a great Headline – Grab their attention right away.  Make them want to read on and explore more.  A great headline should entice the reader to request more information.

Now, it’s off to the races!  Good luck!!

If you have any questions for Keith email him –  kfranco@sullgraphics.com. Keith is one of the most responsive people I know!