Why Direct Mail Is Still the Heavyweight Champ of Direct Response

[fa icon="calendar"] May 12, 2016 11:00:00 AM / by E. Michael Lawrence

 Direct Mail Solutions

The simplest definition of Direct Response Marketing is – “the use of a variety of different media to get a response back from the persons being targeted”. 

undefined-194359-edited.jpgIt could be a direct mail campaign, an email campaign, a newspaper ad with a coupon, a telemarketing call or a search-engine fundraising campaign for non-profits. So it's a variety of different media but all with the intent of getting a measurable response.

 And when a company like LDMI reports results from a campaign to one of our non-profit clients, we're reporting actual numbers and actual responses. We're not taking a guess at what impact this effort has, we know its impact because we tabulate the responses.

 Direct mail is one of the media used in direct response and it is still, despite all of the developments related to the web and to electronic forms of communication, for virtually all non-profits the bedrock of their new member acquisition programs and their fundraising.

Direct mail is the heart and soul of any non-profit fundraising campaign. On average, direct mail response rates stand at 10 to 30 times that of email, and even higher when compared to online display.

This is shocking to a great many people, particularly in the non-profit world. But each of our tests, year after year, proves this fact beyond a shadow of doubt. (For more on why direct mail is still such a viable channel see http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/news-articles/direct-mail-still-king/)

One reason for this is that a well-crafted direct mail package is a communication that, in great detail, will give an interested recipient all the information they need about an appeal. It will tell them how the money will be used, it will allay their fears that maybe the money doesn't really go to the intended cause, it will make it easy for them to become a contributor or to repeat as a contributor to this cause.

The fact is, people like to get mail that they're interested in. They like to read about subject matters that they're interested in. An overwhelming number of non-profit contributors are above retirement age. And most retired people who are 65 or older like to get mail. And because they've done a good job of planning for their retirement, they have enough money to be able to send a non-profit $50 or $100.

So long as that non-profit convinces them that theirs is a good cause they should want to help.

It's hard to do that in the very different communication context of the internet. Email, for instance, tends to be short. And it is hard to communicate the essential details of an appeal in such a short message. The same is true for a tweet, or a banner ad, or some other abbreviated form of communication. It's hard to get the full message communicated. It's harder with those media than it is with mail.

So far, competing media such as emails, tweets, web ads, banner ads, social media, they're all playing a role, an increasing role in fundraising. But they're still welterweight contenders, and they're not really making much of a dent on the heavyweight champ, which is direct mail. 


 

Click below to download our free ebook, 5 Engagement Strategies for Non-Profits to use on Facebook.

 

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Topics: Direct Mail, Non-Profit Direct Mail Campaign

E. Michael Lawrence

Written by E. Michael Lawrence

E. Michael Lawrence is the founder and president of LDMI. Mike has been professionally active in the direct response field since 1966, when he helped to launch Triumph magazine, a monthly journal of Catholic thought, through direct mail circulation promotion and fundraising. In 1976, Mike Lawrence joined Wiland Services, Inc., (WSI) a direct mail database management and data processing services company. He left WSI 11 years later as Executive Vice President - Operations, and a member of the company's Board of Directors, to form LDMI.

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