Do you really need 108 tips to be a direct mail marketing success in 2013? You bet. Navigating the marketing waters is difficult – at best, and not getting any easier. Using direct mail to its full capability is a big advantage. It remains the best choice for rapid deployment of targeted messages, and with [...]
Do you really need 108 tips to be a direct mail marketing success in 2013? You bet. Navigating the marketing waters is difficult – at best, and not getting any easier.
Using direct mail to its full capability is a big advantage. It remains the best choice for rapid deployment of targeted messages, and with sample testing the chances for a successful campaign are very high.
Here are 108 direct marketing ideas and tips to consider as you plan for 2013.
The big picture
- View direct mail marketing as the competitive battle it is.
- Remember that direct mail victory does not go to the meek.
- Don’t think for a moment your competitors see it any other way.
- Remember the weapons for this direct marketing battle are data, relevant design, and testing.
- Remember direct mail marketing victory often cedes to the craftiest not the most powerful.
- Keep the battles in your marketing campaign small and under control.
- Realize your vendors are also your direct marketing tools.
- Establish objectives for your marketing mailers.
- Share them with applicable vendors and request their opinion.
- If the feedback is different than you expect inquire why.
- Insist they provide that information.
- Adjust your objectives to be realistic if they were not.
- If new information makes you question the project (s) – do not proceed.
- Repeat the same process until you have a plan that makes sense to everyone consulted.
- Commit the direct marketing plan to paper.
- Make certain you have the funds to execute the plan and all your direct mail costs.
- Highlight any ‘absolute’ and ‘under any conditions’.
- Review the campaign plan after every project.
Your target Audience
- Evaluate the financial health of your targeted market.
- If you have concerns be cautious about proceeding.
- If your product/service is not geographically sensitive – all things considered – send to the most affluent area.
- Take a closer look at your audience and be certain your direct marketing piece fits their demographic.
- Do the same with your offer.
- If you are uncertain about either – test.
- Be certain the tests are for 100 pieces randomly sent. Do not vary from this.
- If you need help developing a relevant direct marketing offer get ideas from a target customer rather than a designer or copywriter.
- When you have a direction then go to the designer and copywriter.
- View your target audience as disinterested – at best.
- Know herculean efforts must be undertaken to attract their interest.
- Know there is no shame in appearing to be a bargain.
- Know wealthy audiences want a bargain as much as anyone.
- Never underestimate the joy of saving money.
Using the web
- Use direct mail to complement your online strategy.
- Employ a strategy to acquire email addresses.
- Use direct mail to drive visitors to your website.
- Encourage purchases/donations to be made online – they are higher than those sent by mail.
- Make offers redeemable online.
- If appropriate run contests that involve direct mail and the web.
- Use Google Alerts and other services to learn more about your audience.
- Learn, or train someone to experiment with PURLs.
- Do not use an outside vendor for PURLs.
- Develop landing pages in conjunction with direct mail.
Maximizing the offer
- Be relevant with your offer but try to think past the obvious.
- Be extra bold with offers.
- Experiment with different ideas – but test before using.
- Repeat the offer several times through out the mailer.
- Never underestimate the word ‘Free’.
- Think through more clearly the intent of your offer.
- If you have a B2B business consider using a consumer product for your offer.
- Do not use percentage discounts as an offer.
- Do not use rebates for offers.
- Go ‘old school’ with offers (T-shirts. etc).
- Assume the offer will not be acted upon unless extraordinary.
- Don’t discount your product/service as the offer.
- If you cannot think of a strong offer – don’t do the mailer – your odds go way down without one.
If you are failing…
- Don’t impulsively discontinue but be willing to cut your losses.
- Ask your vendors if they know why the plan may not working.
- Again – insist upon an answer.
- If there is a problem outside your control – economic issues for example – cut your losses.
- If you feel the problems are resolvable, ask your printer and mailing house for a price reduction.
- If they offer to reduce by less than 30% ask for more.
- Do not be reluctant to try this. Your success is almost as important to them as it is to you.
- Find a partner with a related business to share the mailing costs.
- If needed run an ad in Craig’s List to locate a partner.
- Ask your printer for ideas on how to cut costs.
Playing the vendors
- Always negotiate.
- If you have a printer, direct mail service, and mailing house, know the mailing list house has the biggest margins – by far.
- Know the direct mail list business is usually all labor.
- Learn the difference between offset and digital printing. The knowledge will save you money.
- If your printer claims equal expertise in both areas– don’t believe it.
- Digital buyouts are more expensive than offset; if they regularly occur – find your own digital printer.
- If you have an ongoing arraignment, every 6 months request a re-quote. When done in a professional manner it will not create ill-will.
- Never negotiate after the fact.
- If there is a problem that requires an adjustment, take it as a credit for future work. It will always be greater than a refund.
- Know that printers and direct mailers have very different approaches to business and clients.
- Mailers make good printers, printers do not make good mailers.
- Know that ‘comfort levels’ do not work to your advantage.
- Know regardless of your order size – it is desired.
- Know small orders are often hotly contested.
- If you feel the need to take a vendor out to lunch – make it the direct mail company. They have more contacts.
- If you are likely to need a favor in the near future – make it the printer.
Design and content
- Deliver one – non confusing message.
- Use screaming headlines – tastefully.
- More than ever – relevant design counts.
- Much more than ever – relevant copy writing counts.
- Use testimonials repeatedly throughout the mailer.
- Beg, plead and cajole your customers into providing a testimonial.
- Go online to see how your target group is being marketed to.
- Get a Facebook page if for no other reason than to use their logo.
- Same with Twitter.
- Differentiate by using upgraded paper stock.
- If possible, avoid glossy stock.
- Understand direct mail is now all about impact – not delivering information.
- Understand images must be relevant or may be counter-productive.
- Use case studies if available.
- Try personalization (variable data), particularly if you mail to the same recipients.
- Use paragraphs of no more than 3 lines.
- Use bullet points, summaries and headlines to break up the copy.
- Be ultra-clear in your message.
- Make your point immediately and powerfully.
- Create a sense of urgency from the beginning. Do not just add it at the end.
- Be certain to make your call to action prominent and early in the mailer.
- Repeat the call through the mailer.
- Speak to the benefits of the offer – don’t assume they will be known.
- Avoid aggressive sales messages – keep it low key.
- Be cautious when using common sales terms like ‘Act now’.
- Offer a guarantee whenever possible.
- Offer a trial period if possible.
- Invest a few dollars in copy writing.
- Use postage paid return mail when accumulating emails.
- If you use PURLs, never, under any circumstances, print a PURL on the front of a postcard, regardless of what you might be told.
- If you use postcards realize how often they are used.
- If you use postcards substitute a letter mailer as a test.
- Know that testing is what separates direct mail from pure speculation.
- If you want to speculate go to LasVegas – the odds will be better.
- Replicate the final mailing as closely as possible for the most accurate testing.
- Be consistent in every way from test group to test group.
- 100 is the amount of each to test. More is irrelevant.
- If you find difficulty with the analysis, place an ad for a college or graduate business student who has completed basic statistics classes.
We hope you found this useful!
Writing high quality content is an important skill, and critical to the success of your direct mail fundraising letter. Two popular options:
1. Pay a professional copywriter to compose a direct mail fundraising letter.
2. Use someone on your staff or volunteer (student) to write and compose the donation request.
If you prefer not to use an outside source – no worries. By the end of this article you will learn a few essential tips that will turn you into a direct mail fundraising letter ninja!
Become A Fundraiser Letter Writing Ninja Tip 1:
Write with your audience in mind – always. This is often called speaking your potential donors’ language. Before you write a single sentence make a list. This list should contain what you believe your target audience is thinking as he or she reads your donation request.
What words or language will they likely use? What questions may they have before sending money? What is the money going to be spent on? Answer the questions. Write your response in simple terms and words – save your large vocabulary for another time. Keep your sentences short, simple, and powerful.
Become A Ninja Fundraiser Letter Writing Tip 2:
Realize there will be two distinct types of potential donors reading your fundraising letter.
Your first potential donor will quickly glance at the letter. To appeal to this person and grab their attention, include strong, captivating bullet points. These highlighted areas will encourage them to reader further – to take the next step.
The second possible donor will closely read the entire copy, scrutinize the details, and look for answers. To appeal to this recipient make sure to answer as many questions as you anticipate they may have. Be as brief as possible, but go as long as necessary to address all possible concerns and issues.
Become A Fundraiser Letter Writing Ninja Tip 3:
Your headline and packaging: Think of your headline and envelope as first impressions. It’s the same as meeting a new person. After a few seconds before you begin to judge what this person is like. Good or bad, right or wrong, we all do it, but in this case there is no second chance.
It’s the same with your writing and packaging. The manner in which you position and package your direct mail fundraising letter is your “first impression”. Above all else be sure the materials are clean and professional. Use one color plus black for everything other than photos or a logo. Make it bold and powerful!
Become A Fundraiser Letter Writing Ninja Tip 4:
It’s a fact that humans desire recognition. Make sure your prospective donor knows the importance of their donation and the impact it will have. Make it clear they are contributing to important work. It is an important inducement to give.
Become A Fundraiser Letter Writing Ninja Tip 5:
Create a sense of urgency. We are an immediate gratification society, and that sense must be conveyed in your donation request. Write a deadline, prompt them to act RIGHT NOW. Grab the enclosed envelope, insert your donation, re -seal the envelope, and drop into the mailbox. It’s that simple to help TODAY!
Your goal is to make their donation simple and hassle free -so they have no excuse not to write the check and drop it in the mailbox.
These are a few of the essential components to composing a successful direct mail fundraising letter. Stick to these and keep expanding your knowledge and you will become a copy writing ninja pulling in huge donations for your cause in no time.