the 1 common mistake that can kill your direct mail results

Doing direct mail donor development is complex. Delivering solid direct mail results on a regular basis requires great strategy and managing what seems like a zillion moving parts.

And sadly, if you forget to plan for one critical component you can easily sabotage what could have been a great direct mail appeal.

Here’s how it usually happens:

You’ve carefully planned for an important topic and ask.

You’ve fought to make the timing right.

You’ve wrestled over copy.

You’ve woven in real emotion and donor-focused language.

You’ve ruthlessly edited to keep only the words that were most important.

You’ve fretted over the design, look and feel.

You’ve pushed hard for a compelling photo.

You’ve agonized about what that envelope must look like.

You’ve structured the reply device to help the donor decide to give.

You’ve even made sure that there’s an easy online giving reminder.

All set? Print and mail. Get it in the hands of the donors!

Hmmm . . . did you spend time deciding who this letter will go to?

What we usually call the “select” is more important than anything else in the process. And it is often an afterthought or relegated to IT or left to the vendor to decide. OR what’s worse, you just mail everyone on your database as a default.

Tragic mistake. You have to spend as much time thinking about who will receive your communications as what you put into your communication.

The right message in the hands of the right donor at the right time will make your direct mail results sparkle!

What about you? How do you pick the right donors at the right time? Do you make sure you’re mailing to right people? I’d love to know what you do.


Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

(photo credit: Joe Logon)

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

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