Direct mail tips to make mailers work better for your budget

by | Dec 5, 2019 | Direct Mail

Answering the common questions (and a concern!) about mailers.  Leverage these direct mail tips to make your next postcard or letter campaign to either lower your rate, improve effectiveness – or even better, both!

Direct mail is so expensive. Can you give me a better rate?

The short answer is: that depends. Why are you paying too much? Is it because you are sending it to too many people? Because cost is all relative, ultimately.

If you are wasting a bunch of pieces, that’s expensive.

If you have a very well targeted list, and very minimal waste, that’s not so expensive. In short, a lot of it comes down to targeting.

There are some other ways to save. If you’re a non-profit, there’s fantastic non-profit postage, about half the rate of what everyone else is paying. And we can help you with that if you have any questions on how to apply. It does not apply to all non-profits though, so again, any questions, there, we’re happy to help with those.

The saturation of your list is a factor. It’s finding a balance between reach versus cost. There’s a tipping point in how postage is calculated, where if you send it to more folks in a postal area, you can maximize the discounts that are available to you. There’s a lot of different tiers with the postal service. (Including EDDM – Every Door Direct Mail – which we have helped clients use when it’s the right fit for them!)

Lastly, when you work with a printer, such as ourselves, there are volume discounts when it comes to printing. That really helps to maximize the savings, by printing in bulk when possible. You might have repeated mailings of the same piece, but you do one big print run to minimize your printing costs. And then you drop them as you go along.

How can I target my mailers better?

Well, the first answer is: have a conversation with us! There’s no simple, straight forward, across the board answer. We work with multiple mailing list providers that curate lists from all over the world. That means there are hundreds, if not thousands, of targeting options. I don’t expect you, as a church communicator, to know that.

It really starts with a conversation with us. To understand your church, what your goals are. And then us as the experts, knowing what targeting capabilities we have. You can get really sophisticated, but if your mailing list ends up being five households because you targeted “so well,” that’s not going to work for you either. It’s always that balance of reach and working smarter, not harder.

That’s what we’re here for, to guide you through that process, help you make those decisions based on our understanding of your church and what you’re trying to achieve.

I’ve done direct mail for a while, and I’m just not getting the response I used to. I don’t think it works anymore.

Not necessarily true. In this day and age, we are bombarded with advertising messages everywhere.

For example, consider email. We love email, don’t get me wrong! It’s been around a long time, we use it, and think it’s a great way for churches to reach people. The issue is SPAM.  You’re constantly cleaning that out or ignoring emails altogether. And actually, because of that, direct mail has become a more powerful tool. You only have a handful of pieces coming in on a typical day, so you actually stand out from a lot of the noise better.

If it’s not working for you, I would say we need to look at the following things.

Areas for adjustment: creative, targeting, list clean-up

It could be your creative. It’s not just going to be how it looks, but also if there’s an offer. Are you doing a generic branding piece versus one with a call to action? Have you done the same piece forever? Are people getting the same piece from you all the time? Do they know to expect it and it blends into the background? That’s something we want to consider for sure.

Are you targeting correctly? If you’re not targeting the right audience, don’t expect them to respond to that mailer.

Are you using a current list? Lastly, if you’re using a “house” list, one that you’ve curated yourself, one from your own organization’s contact database, it could be that information is wrong. People that moved 5 years ago, and you’re still sending pieces to that same house. In those instances, it does not look good on you, because whoever receives it can see you’re using an old name. In my old house, I got mail for 6 or 7 years for a prior resident because the organization was not updating their list. Not only that but then you’re also wasting money because you’re not reaching your intended recipient.

Those are the kind of things, where if you are working with us, if you’re using a house or internal database, we can cleanse that for you and update it against national change-of-address. We can find those people, where they are now, in a lot of cases.

I’d really like to get started with direct mail, mailers, postcards, etc. It seems so complicated! Where would you recommend I get started?

I would actually say, give us a call! Or visit our website to get started. We’ve been doing this for years, and we’re a great turnkey provider.

If you need graphic design, we can take care of that.

If you need it printed, we can take care of that.

If you need a mailing list for your targeting, we can take care of that.

If you need to get it into the mailbox, hey guess what?! We can take care of that too!

Start to finish, we can create it and get it into the homes of your intended recipients. And usually pretty quickly. Depending on the product, turnaround is typically about one week, two weeks – again depending on the product, and if you need graphic design.  But relatively quickly.

Being responsive and moving quickly is important to a lot of churches and non-profits, and we’re here to help with that.

New to direct mail or you’re a pro that just needs a fast printer, we can help! Contact your Firm Foundations team for quotes and more info.