4 Ways to Drive Online Actions from Direct Mail

Photo by mae armstrong designs

This past Monday I met with a few folks who are putting together a cycling event to raise money for Beth Israel Deaconess Memorial Hospital.

When asked about any additional audiences we can reach out to, they mentioned that a local printer offered to print thousands of free brochures for the event like they’ve done for the past 6 years.

What they used each year was a full color trifold brochure with all the information one needed to register for the event. It had a very personal and moving story from the event’s founder, date and location of the event, and a summary of the various different family-oriented activities during the event.

Following are four ways we’ll improve the direct mail piece. Hopefully you can use them for your brochure or direct mail piece:

1. Understand Your Audience

Who is receiving the direct-mail piece? Are they current donors? Are they volunteers? Or are they simply names from a rented list?

Once you know who will be receiving the direct-mail piece, you can better understand what messaging will work best.

2. Keep It Simple

Postcards are cheaper than trifold brochures. So for the same amount of money we could get more pieces. And in our case, people don’t need the entire story, or all the information in a single printed piece.

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. For this event, the postcard will have a partially-masked picture of the founder smiling, asking “Why is Tom smiling?” Of course the recipient can only resolve this question (plus others like Who is Tom?” and “Why is his face partially masked?”) by visiting the URL.

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.

The problem with direct mail though is that it’s a piece of paper. It’s not the Internet which can easily be tracked through a variety of tools. But the solution to this problem is easily resolved by creating a unique URL that you can track via Google Analytics.

Additionally, you also want to create a unique Thank You page specifically for the direct-mail piece. This will allow you to see how well recipients convert! It will also allow you to leverage the moment by asking people to like your Facebook page and share the campaign with their friends.

One last thought…

Direct mail is often perceived as having nothing to do with online media. Try and make an effort to always know what both hands are doing by talking to each other (if their handled by different departments). You can get more out of each channel by operating as a whole.

How do you integrate direct mail and online strategies?