Feature Sidebar: 10 Tips for Using Cartoons in Direct-Mail Fundraising
Editor’s Note: The October issue of FundRaising Success features a story by cartoonist and direct-mail consultant Stu Heinecke on using customized cartoons in direct-mail fundraising efforts. This is a sidebar to that story, “Drawing Attention to Your Cause.”
1. Focus on the recipient’s identity, not yours. Or your client’s.
One of the biggest mistakes I see marketers making with personalized cartoons is that they forget who’s important: the recipient. The cartoon’s job is not to sell the product (or cause), but to reveal the truth — the reason why your product is needed or your cause is important. Sell them in the letter copy. Explain features and benefits in the brochure. But start by giving recipients a cartoon that relates to their lives.
2. Never use cartoons as just another form of teaser copy.
Teasing and humor do not mix. If there’s no gag to your cartoon, you’ve just disappointed hundreds of thousands of people. Worse yet, if you’ve employed a tease in your humor, you’ve just insulted your entire audience. People read cartoons to laugh. Disappoint them, and they’ll surely disappoint you.
3. Focus on affinities.
I think of an affinity as anything you would tell me about yourself after having met over a cool beer. I have two kids. I love to fish. I’m an accountant. Great. I could make you howl for hours drawing cartoons about you fishing, interacting with your kids or dealing with the trials and balances of being an accountant.
But the moment I start focusing outside the things of prime personal importance to you, I become a self-involved annoyance and a bore. Make sure that never happens with your campaign.
4. Psychographics, not demographics.
Often when an assignment begins, clients start by describing their audiences’ family sizes and education and income levels. But I want to get into their heads, not their pockets. I need to know what turns them on, what opinions they might share, etc. Well-intended, demographic data only serves to obscure the real target.