Partnership of Email and Direct Mail

in Direct Mail,Email,Integrated Multichannel Fundraising & Marketing

Email and direct mail work so well together that I believe it can be viewed as a partnership. 

Yet like any partnership, to reap maximum benefits (think optimizing response, conversions, and funds raised) … there are procedures, techniques, and strategies to pay attention to.

Consider the following when creating an integrated campaign of email and direct mail:

Donors who receive the direct mail letter AND the email(s) …

– Send a super short “heads up” email

Send a “follow-up” email within a week of getting the letter that reminds them to give. Include an online giving option.

– Test email subject lines similar to your envelope teaser copy and/or letter headline.  The subject line needs to be short.  This is one reason it may not be identical to your envelope copy (more help on writing subject lines).

– The follow-up email can use some of the same copy found in the direct mail letter.  But don’t send a duplicate of the letter via email!

If there was a strong photo in the letter that reinforced the story, you might consider using it again in the follow-up email; or use a new image to freshen the email a bit. Just make certain to include copy that directly ties the image to the copy. 

– Include a SHORT caption with the email photo that’s clickable to the unique landing page on your website. The caption should reinforce your offer (i.e., case for giving).

All links must be trackable and send donors to the unique landing page.

Online supporters not yet on your direct mail list.  For these emails …

– First email is a shorter version of the direct mail letter.  You can reuse chunks of copy from the letter; however, you must revise this message for the online reader

– Follow same points as above regarding trackable links, unique landing page, use of images, subject line, etc.

The direct mail letter …

Have a special, trackable URL to the unique landing page for this campaign. This allows you to identify many of the direct mail recipients who decided to donate online after reading the letter.

– You may also want to consider printing a 2D bar code (on the letter and on the reply device). Make certain it takes donors to the landing page for this campaign. Remember: Each bar code (e.g., QR code) is unique to each campaign.

Unique landing page …

Create a donate form template that allows you to have copy at the top of the page.  This way you can easily edit the page and give it a different URL and title tag for each new campaign.

– The copy at the top of the page is a headline that reinforces the key message from the direct mail letter and emails.  This is followed by a short paragraph or two where you reinforce why they want to donate, the offer (the action you want them to take).

Those are the basics of an integrated email and direct mail campaign.  Done correctly, email and direct mail form a strong partnership that will help your nonprofit gain more supporters and raise more funds.