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Tips For Integrating Direct Mail and Online Strategies

Lori Halley 28 May 2012 0 comments

Last week I read a great post by John Haydon (Inspiring Generosity) – 4 Ways to Drive Online Actions from Direct Mail. In it he offers a great example of  “multichannel communications” in action.

In looking at communication strategies for a group hosting a fundraising event, Haydon suggests that rather than retiring their usual direct mail efforts in favor of online media, they consider integrating the two. He advises them to tweak their direct mail piece and use it to drive online action. While Haydon notes,"[d]irect mail is often perceived as having nothing to do with online media ...[y]ou can get more out of each channel by operating as a whole."

Haydon recommends the group substitute their usual trifold event brochure (donated by a local printer) with a provocative postcard that would include a unique URL - through which they can track how many direct mail recipients convert.

To make this integrated strategy work, Haydon offers the following 4 ways to improve a direct mail piece to drive online traffic: 

  1. Understand Your Audience:  Who is receiving the direct-mail piece? … Once you know who will be receiving the direct-mail piece, you can better understand what messaging will work best.
  2. Keep It Simple:  ...Figure out what information will entice people to visit your website or Facebook page, and then provide the balance of the information there–including a call-to-action.
  3. Create Dissonance:  One powerful feature of the human brain is its consistent need to resolve dissonance. For example, try singing the ABC song and stop on P. Notice the feeling of dissonance–the desire to get to Z–in your mind.
    In the same way, you can use the direct mail piece to create dissonance–a question that can be answered by visiting the URL printed on the postcard. …
  4. Measure Hits and Conversions: Being able to measure which channel and which message creates the most conversions allows you to improve your messaging and also decide which channels are worth investing more in. ...

While John Haydon’s post focuses on using direct mail to drive online actions for a fundraising event, a similar strategy could also be applied to a membership event or even your annual report. In the final blog of our Annual Report blog series - Choosing a Format for Your Annual Report - we noted that some organizations are using this type of integrated strategy for their annual reports.  They send postcards to supporters with a URL or a QR code on the card that leads to the online annual report. Post cards can be a great way to send a brief but powerful message about the organization as well as notifying your supporters about how they can access the digital annual report. You reduce costs (and save trees) by having folks print the annual report from your online document or by offering a printed copy upon request.

Have you had success with a similar integrated direct and online strategy?  We’d love to hear about it - so give us the details in the comments below.

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Image source:  Grunge Postcard from BIGSTOCK

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 28 May 2012 at 8:40 AM
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