How the Web Makes Direct Mail Better for Fundraising
[Editor's note: This article originally appeared on Convio's Connection Café blog.]
On Sunday the cost of sending mail via the USPS goes up (see exactly how much). Certainly for those of us mailing things, this is a bummer, but it doesn't mean we should stop our mailing efforts. It just means we have to be smarter about them.
There’s a lingering misconception that direct mail and the Web are fundamentally at odds. It’s more accurate to say that they complement and influence each other, and can enhance campaign effectiveness when considered as part of a whole. Consider designing your direct mail with the following in mind:
Cross-channel influence is already the norm
Good — you’ve been putting your Web address on every element in a mail package. But go so far as to assume your audience will actually use it, and more: Recipients may visit your Facebook page, watch your videos on YouTube, perhaps even read your fascinating blog. Consider each touchpoint, and craft your mail accordingly, each with a reasonable level of visual consistency. Note, please: reasonable. Avoid including elements you know will suppress response or outstrip ROI, but otherwise use everything relevant — logo, color, type, photo style, structure — to immediately* assure brand recognition across every channel. Your marketing then becomes part of the Web and isn’t just pointing to it.
Old media has already been changed by new media
You needn’t join the wailing that "Google is making us stupid" to realize that reading — still the most effective means of absorbing complex information — has been profoundly altered by the Web’s use of hyperlinked, encapsulated summary exposition.
Several years ago, my agency began testing direct-response letters that included more white space, more “chunked” copy as well as incorporating graphic sidebars to call out important parts of the letter text. In every case, we beat existing controls and soon replaced them. Assuming that our direct-mail audience primarily comprises the well-researched 65+ donor, why is this working?