2 Ways to Increase Nonprofit Direct Mail Response
If you are looking to increase your direct mail response rates in time for your year-end appeal, time is running out. Here are some tips based on behavioral science to help you right now. Both social proof and storytelling will drive higher direct mail results. By using these human behaviors, you can gain a competitive advantage and increase donations.
Add Social Proof to Your Direct Mail
Did you know that when your prospects or donors are faced with a decision that they aren’t sure how to make, they will look to people like them to see what they have done? So, you want to show them that many other donors have already made a donation and are happy. They don’t want to make the wrong choice, by choosing what others have done they make the safe choice. When you provide social proof, you reassure them that they are making the right choice.
Social proof is very powerful and is a hardwired human behavior. When people are uncertain, they assume that others know more than they do. As a result, it seems like a smart move to make the same choices others do. They don’t want to make the wrong choice.
Here are a few ways to add social proof to your direct mail:
- Feature a donor testimonial. The best ones admit to being skeptical before the donation, but extremely happy after.
- Provide case studies.
- Highlight the large number of donors you have.
- Use phrases like “popular choice,” “most supported,” “most needed,” “most requested” or “fastest-growing.”
- Encourage referrals.
Boost Your Direct Mail Storytelling
Now, let’s look at storytelling. Stories are not only engaging, but they are processed in the brain differently than facts. People understand them better and remember more information when in a story format. Direct mail is a great way to tell a story. Your story should contain a human struggle that ends in triumph through help from your organization. Stories work really well with skeptical people because people rarely argue with their own conclusions. Your story can drive them to conclude that donating to you is best.
As your prospects and customers are engaged with the emotions in your story, their brain is releasing dopamine and other hormones that provide pleasure, focus attention and promote trust. That is why stories work so well. Did you know that a fact wrapped in a story is 22 times more memorable? So how can you construct your story?
- Start by grabbing attention.
- Choose a subject that is interesting and compelling.
- Be relatable and build connections.
- Choose nouns and verbs that are powerful, and help readers envision the action.
- Write in an active voice.
There are many story options for direct mail. Here are a few suggestions on types of stories you can use.
- A story to broach a difficult or delicate topic.
- A story about the origin of your company.
- A story about civic responsibility.
- A story about the use of donations.
- A donor hero story where their donation made a big impact.
- A differentiator story to beat the competition.
As you can see, social proof and storytelling are powerful motivators of direct mail response. Use one or both in your next direct mail campaign to increase your results. Don’t let 2022 pass you by without getting the most response from your year-end direct mail campaigns. Are you ready to get started?
Summer Gould is Account Executive at Neyenesch Printers. Summer has spent her 31 year career helping clients achieve better marketing results. She has served as a panel speaker for the Association of Marketing Service Providers conferences. She is active in several industry organizations and she is a board member for Printing Industries Association San Diego, as well as the industry chair for San Diego Postal Customer Council. You can find her at Neyenesch’s website: neyenesch.com, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @sumgould.