Monthly Archives: March 2017

Tracking Your Direct Mail Campaign

Putting together a direct mail campaign is easy — tracking its success is a whole other ballgame.  It should, however, be a part of your marketing plan. After all, you want to know whether or not the time and costs invested in it were well spent.

WIB Blog TrackSuccess

 

To truly understand the success of your campaign, you need to have clearly defined goals. Are you looking to increase sales/donors, drive more traffic to your website/landing page or build your email list? Whatever the desired outcome is, be sure the team understands it and is working together to achieve it. Planning ahead how you will measure this key.

 

Here are some tried and true strategies you can implement to help you see the value of your next direct mail campaign.

 

Seed Your List

Whether you are preparing a 200 or 2,000,000 piece direct mail campaign, you are sure to want it to arrive at the intended recipient’s address in a timely manner and in good condition.

To ensure this is happening, add a few addresses to your mail list. Include colleagues, family members or friends that you trust will provide you with honest feedback. The additional recipients should be in the same geographical area as your target. Adding a seed address located in California doesn’t do you any good if the rest of your target is located in Florida.  Have your seeds take photos of any damage that may be evident to the mailer and request they let you know immediately when it is received.

If the direct mail piece is arriving later than planned, it could shorten the lifespan if an expiration date is included as part of the campaign.

 

Specialty CTA Links

No doubt your direct mail campaign includes a clear Call To Action (CTA).  You’ll want to track the driving force behind making your target act on the CTA and move through your sales funnel.  Sure, you can ask the customer or donor how they heard about your organization or the specific promotion at the point of sale, but chances are, they won’t recall or they will simply select the first option. Rather than leave it to chance, set up an automated mechanism to help you. Here are a few suggestions.

  • If you are offering a discount, use a specific coupon code that can be tracked back to this direct mail campaign.
  • Set up a special toll-free number that is only shared via this direct mail campaign.
  • Include a personalized url – commonly referred to as a purl – within the direct mail piece. BONUS! This is a great way to personalize your direct mail campaign.
  • Create a landing page and include the unique link as part of your CTA.

Whichever strategy you choose to utilize, planning ahead and implementing it before the direct mail campaign is printed and dropped is necessary.

 

A/B Testing

If you are torn between two designs or two different CTA’s – go ahead and try them both. You may find that in a certain region your target responds differently than in another.

Take a look at the results of each at the end of your campaign to determine which had greater effectiveness. Using this data will help you create future direct mail campaigns that are successful.

 

Outcome Tracking

Use historical data to compare sales from a previous year to the same time period of your direct mail campaign.  By subtracting the historical data from the current sales/donations, you can see the resulting increase from your current direct mail campaign efforts.

 

What strategies do you use to track your Direct Mail Campaign success?

 

NonProfit Mailing 101

Costs for mailing appeals, thank you notes and newsletters can be really put a strain on a non-profit’s budget. Fortunately, the United States Postal Service (USPS) offers special non-profit pricing that is lower than regular mail rates.  However, not every nonprofit is eligible to use these rates. To qualify, an organization must be authorized by the USPS and even then, not all mail is subject to the special rates.

WIB Blog NonProfitMailing2

 

We get it….it can be confusing. We’ve outlined the basics of what you need to know to help determine whether or not your organization is eligible and if it is what to do next.

 

Qualifying Organizations

Only specific types of organizations or clubs will be authorized by the USPS to take advantage of the lower postal rates. The types of organizations eligible include those formed to serve an agricultural, educational, philanthropic, religious, scientific or veteran purpose.  Some political committees are also eligible.  Organizations such as Chambers of Commerce are not eligible.

 

NonProfit Application

Nonprofit organizations must submit an Application to Mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail Rates with the USPS office that will be used for their mailings. On the form, nonprofits will have to state their organization’s purpose and confirm their profits are for the organization and not an individual. Supporting documents, including the IRS Exemption form which deems an organization is a 501(c)(3) must be included with the application. Once approved, the rates may continue to be used provided a bulk mailing is sent out at least one time every two years.

 

Bulk Mailing Application

Nonprofits wanting to send bulk mail will have to apply for a bulk mail permit and pay an annual fee. The fee varies depending on the mailing method the organization plans to use. The 3 mailing methods are postage meter, pre-cancelled stamps and permit imprint.  

 

  • Postage Meter – The meter must be purchased by the organization and allows nonprofits to print the postage directly on their direct mail pieces. The benefit of this method is the ability to track daily postage expenditures.
  • Pre-Cancelled Stamps – These stamps look like normal stamps but sell at a lower rate to organizations holding a bulk mail permit. Using pre-cancelled stamps makes the mail appear to have been sent via First Class which many nonprofits find a benefit.
  • Permit Imprint – This is the most popular method as it is the most cost effective. No special equipment is required and postage can be printed right on the the envelope from any printer. The Post Office will subtract the amount used from the nonprofit’s account.  The downside to this method is the annual fee is higher than the other two.

 

 

Eligible Mailings

Although now armed with a permit, there are still requirements a nonprofit must follow. Failure to do so can result in civil or criminal fines being assessed. All mailings must truly be for the approved organization and not another nor an individual.  Advertising for other organizations is strictly prohibited. Each mailing must be a minimum of 200 pieces or 50 pounds to be eligible for the bulk mail rates.

 

Preparing a Mailing

Before bringing the mailing to the post office, the non-profit organization must prepare it. The organization’s name must be on every envelope as well as within the mailing. Nonprofits should utilize a certification program to ensure that all addresses are correct. Additionally, the mailing must be presorted by zip code before it is delivered to the post office for mailing.

 

Obtaining a nonprofit permit and using bulk mail rates can be a process, but the reward is worth the time investment.