Nonprofit: Getting the most bang for your buck with direct mail
Many nonprofits wonder if direct mail is still a relevant and effective way to reach donors, volunteers and community members. The short answer is yes. Study after study shows that people continue to value and respond to direct mail from companies and brands they trust. Here are a few key points that illustrate just that:

  • According to Direct Mail News, in 2012, the average response rate for direct mail was 4.4 percent.
  • The Direct Mail Association (DMA) reported that 65 percent of consumers of all ages have made a purchase as a result of direct mail.
  • Direct mail has a long shelf life—2 out of 3 consumers have a tendency to keep their mail.
  • 56 percent of consumers think that printed marketing materials are the most trustworthy of all communication channels.

Whether you’re looking to incorporate direct mail into your marketing plan, or you already do and are looking to fine-tune your campaign in order to get the most bang for your buck, this e-newsletter may help.

Fine-tuning your direct mail campaign
Here are five simple tips on planning direct mail campaigns that are effective and cost-efficient.

  • Update your list: In order to increase the return on investment (ROI) of your next direct mail piece, you’ll want to be sure that your list is clean and up to date. A postcard directing people to update their contact information, or a mailer with a return address card that can be used to confirm the address you have on file are great ways to start.
  • Personalize direct mail pieces: Studies show that personalized mailers consistently out-perform generic ones. You can start by using a person’s name in the greeting, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Try including a notepad with a hand-written note from the Executive Director. Or, what about a handwritten card to thank donors for a recent contribution?
  • Include a defined call to action (CTA): Mailings that include a defined CTA, such as a donor card, sponsorship form or volunteer sign-up can increase the effectiveness of your campaign and give you a good sense of how many people are receiving and acting on your mailers. Let people know specifically what you’re asking for—chances are they just may do it!
  • Provide multiple opportunities for engagement: When sending direct mail, always include multiple ways for recipients to contact and follow your organization. If sending a mailer promoting an upcoming event, point people to your website for more details. Or, when sending your next annual appeal, direct people to your blog for the latest news and information involving your organization. And in every mailing, ask recipients to like you on Facebook® or follow you on Pinterest®—reward those who do with prize draws for promotional T-shirts, lunch bags or travel mugs.
  • Test, test, test: Performing splits tests or A/B tests with direct mail be a great way increase the effectiveness of your mailer. Choose a single variable, such as a mailer size, format or promotional offer. Then, randomly split your mail list into two groups and send two separate versions of your mailer—all things the same except for your chosen variable. Measure response rate on both versions to see which is most effective. Continuous monitoring and modification helps improve mailers for maximum reach and effectiveness.

Direct mail can be a great way for nonprofits to reach out to donors, gain volunteers and educate the community on their cause. By incorporating one or all of these simple tips, you should reach more people and see better results. Happy mailing!

Laurie, Beasley. “Why Direct Mail Still Yields the Lowest Cost-Per-Lead and Highest Conversion Rate.” OMI Blog RSS. N.p., 13 June 2013. Web. Retrieved 15 Nov. 2013.

Macleod, Ishbel. “Infographic: consumers more likely to deal with direct mail immediately compared to email.” The Drum. N.p., 23 Oct. 2013 Web. Retrieved 17 Nov. 2013.

Clayman, Margie. “How to Prepare for Direct Mail Cost Increases.” Inspiring Generosity. N.p., 07 Cot. 2013. Web. Retrieved 15 Nov. 2013.

“How a Simple Test Can Improve Direct Mail Results.” How a Simple Test Can Improve Direct Mail Results. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 15 Nov. 2013.

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