Greatest Bits: Finding the Nuggets from Marketing Blogs to Support Your Advancement Efforts
Prior to my position at JHL, I spent about nine years working in annual giving. Two years were spent as an assistant director with the Florida State University Foundation. The other seven years was as the director at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Working at a school where budgets and resources were tighter meant that you had to be creative with what was available. Attending a CASE conference every year wasn’t possible. Instead, I became a little obsessed with webinars.
Webinars had both positives and negatives. There was some GREAT information provided, but it always seemed to be presented by someone from a medium to large sized school with an annual giving staff larger than our entire staff and an annual revenue stream from gifts that easily dwarfed what we could accomplish. It was hard to relate.
Granted, I knew all of that going in – or at least learned about it within the first few slides – but that’s not what I was looking for. I was always looking for that “nugget.” That one thing that could easily be implemented within the program we were running.
I want to do something similar for you with this blog. JHL has been posting to our blog for the last two years or so. We are more than just a printer for higher education and advancement. Most of our direct mail is considered marketing or sales and many of our blogs focus on that area.
I read through them because I am interested in how other market areas utilize direct mail. Most of the content doesn’t apply to higher education or advancement, but there are those “nuggets.”
Instead of having you scour through all of our blog posts, I’m going to share the direct mail marketing “nuggets” I’ve found over the last year that I fell cross over into advancement.
The average direct-mail piece stays in a household for an average of 17 days.
Now, obviously, a good chunk of that time is spent actively adding to household clutter. However, during that period your mail piece will also get picked up, sorted through, looked at, and hopefully read several times. Direct mail lets you put your product’s best face forward, and keep that face in the customer’s face for a long time. Let’s see a Google Ad do that.
Think of what you could do with all that attention.
Direct mail, as we’ve discussed many times, is a very high-touch communications medium.
The term “high-touch” is kind of a frou-frou thing that’s bandied about where it shouldn’t be, but it applies in the case of direct mail.
Direct mail is not generally tossed off casually. It’s not a snippet of code or a few lines of electronic text.
Someone, or several people, took a great deal of time to think about what they wanted to say and how they wanted everything to look and feel and even smell. They involved a designer, a printer and likely a direct-mail specialist.
They thought hard about the desired end result, and decided they wanted the recipient to feel special, and take action because they felt they were being given an offer personally.
Let’s face it: an email is an email is an email. It has a subject line that strives to be personal, and some copy (but not too much) and a link, and that’s about it. It’s hard for a business to stand out when the components of an email have been chiseled so firmly into digital stone.
Direct mail doesn’t have those constrictions. While it can and should be personalized, the personalization options are much greater.
To give you a comparison, a personalized email is like the birthday card you get from your HR team. A personalized direct-mail piece is like a birthday card from your mom.
You have so much more ability to speak directly to a good customer with direct mail. What do you say? That’s up to you – but a good direct-mail specialist can help you find the best ways of delivering the message.
One more thing about direct mail and its ability to deliver meaningful contact: No piece of direct mail ever got caught in a spam filter.
Think about that the next time you send an email and get the feeling that your message just got cast into digital purgatory.
6 Ways Non-Profits Can Maximize Direct Mail (Apr. 2022)
One of the blessings and curses of modern marketing is that there are so many toys in the sandbox, it’s hard to know which one to play with in a given situation.
For non-profits, the issue of paralysis via toy overload isn’t usually as great. But you still have decisions to make about how to work your marketing mix and maintain brand integrity throughout the course of a campaign or appeal.
In general, any appeal should be a multimedia appeal. And if the appeal includes direct mail, it should lead with direct mail, with the mailing supported by social media, email, web, and/or traditional advertising.
Here’s why: Of all those media mentioned, direct mail stands the greatest chance of making quality contact with the intended recipient of the messaging. Direct mail delivers the message into their hands and to their eyeballs, and the other media reinforce the message of the direct-mail piece.
Direct Mail and Millennials: The Perfect Match? (Feb. 2022)
(Personal Note: I found this entire piece interesting. I recommend reading the post in its entirety.)
As part of an overall burnout, Millennials may be burning out on email. For this generation, email perhaps more than any other tool represents the paradigm of a 24/7, always-on workplace.
Millennial managers in particular find that checking email is often the first thing they do in the morning and the last thing they do at night.
To these individuals, direct mail represents a break – a mid-morning cup of tea in a dewy garden.
When crafting direct mail for Millennials, be aware that opening the mail may be a physical release and an escape from email stress. Look to reward, delight, and soothe as well as inform.
We all like to think we know our customers implicitly, but we’d all be better off if we walked around wearing T-shirts that read, “I am not the target audience.”
Our customers are not ourselves. We need to assume we don’t know our customers as well as we think we do, and test multiple messages with our audiences.
Sometimes it’s as simple as not mailing to a portion of our customer base and watching them to see if they behave differently than the audience that received the mailing.
Remember, A/B tests need to be as neutral as possible, and you need to be as dispassionate as possible when considering the results. The data is the data, let it speak, and believe it.