Direct marketing: the top 3 tips

We recently attended the Direct Marketing Association Non profit Conference. There was a ton of useful information presented over 2 days. Here are the most compelling points:

  • Talking to your audience through multiple channels is now the norm for direct marketing. Indeed, even if you don’t do direct marketing, your communications should utilize a variety of channels to reach your audience. Consider email, print, your website, special events, advertising, social networking, or telemarketing.
  • Email requires a different writing style from print. Email messages are more direct, briefer, blunter. If you are requesting a donation, the request should appear within the first 5 lines of copy, then repeated two more times. Typically, for every direct mail donor appeal send 3 coordinated email appeals. Testing message effectiveness is easy and cheap with email.
  • Have Facebook fans for your organization, or an group of email activists? Find something for them to do before asking them to donate! Tests show that this group donates more after being asked to take an action (such as signing an online petition), in comparison to a straightforward request to donate. You can also be imaginative with email. One organization asked its email list to vote on a photo for the cover of their yearly calendar. The response was huge, and donations were large as well, even though the donation appeal was “soft” (deemphasized).



In 1925, the 1st motel — the “Motel Inn” — opened in San Luis Obispo, California.