By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

Direct mail can be a highly effective way to solicit alumni gifts, the key is to make the package feel special. First and foremost, it should stand out from the often used letter and business sized envelope. It may cost more to produce, but the return on investment will pay off.

Rockhurst High School made their appeal much more personal by placing a variable class image and copy on the cover of the mailer that represented the alumni’s year of graduation. They appealed to the alumni and their classmates, because they knew first hand the benefit of a Rockhurst education, to help them give that same gift to the next generation.

The mailer was sent in a clear envelope so that the recipient could immediately see the variable image and copy, making it more likely to be opened. A personalized letter and return envelope were also included in the mailing.

The quality of the package was so high that when prospects received it they knew that they were part of an exclusive and important group, it made them feel special.

Rockhurst Direct Mail Project Rockhurst Direct Mail Project

The mailing raised over $100,000 the first week.

Leadership gift donors are some of higher education’s most important constituents, and the way you go about asking them to increase or renew their support can be a delicate process.

No doubt, the most effective way to solicit a leadership gift is through a face-to-face conversation. But, when that’s not possible, customizing your direct mail appeals with personal touches can go a long way toward making those donors feel important and helping to guarantee that your message stands out and generates your desired response.

Rockhurst Direct Mail Project Rockhurst Direct Mail Project

Kat 600x450Post written by Kat McDaniel, Chief Innovator at MEDiAHEAD | Marketing Portal Guru | Variable Data Promoter | Analytics Advocate | Explorer

Quick! Name a soft drink.

Chances are you thought of Coke or Pepsi. These beverage giants have spent millions in advertising. Why?

Because they have a goal of being top of mind among consumers from age five to ninety-five. And they’ve been very successful at doing it.

Top-of-mind-awareness (or TOMA) is a traditional measure of marketing effectiveness. It strongly correlates to brand preference, which correlates to increased market share.

Here are five ways to achieve “top of mind” awareness in your product marketplace:

1. Find your unique selling proposition.
Consider what makes your company special. Is it market niche? Exceptional service? Highly targeted products and services? Clearly articulate this to your prospects. Make this value proposition simple and easy to remember.

2. Be proactive.
While a one-time advertising blitz can get your message out quickly to a large number of prospects, TOMA requires a drip marketing approach — a consistent delivery of messaging over time. Keep it coming.

top of mind3. Use consistent branding.
Everything from your customer literature to your e-newsletters should have consistent messaging and similar look and feel. One brand, one message.

4. Use multiple touches and multiple channels.
Stay in front of your audience using multiple channels over time. Awareness is based on repetition.

5. Be useful.
Frequency doesn’t have to mean being annoying. You want your customers to perceive you as a provider of useful information rather than an intrusive pest. Communicate frequently, but give your audience genuine value each time.

Never before have consumers had so many choices. TOMA should be a top goal of your marketing efforts.

It will help customers notice you in a noisy marketplace, all while increasing customer retention and response rates.

MEDiAHEAD: Direct Mail Marketing for the HolidaysThe beginning of October, it is finally culturally acceptable to start talking about the holiday season in public, even though we’ve been secretly planning our 2017 holidays since 2012. For many people, it’s time to dust off that weird, ceramic, light-up tree, plug in those outdoor decorations you never actually took down, and place candles and plants literally everywhere in your home.

MEDiAHEAD can help you spread the holiday joy and cheer with a creative direct mail marketing campaign.

It’s basically the same for businesses, too, except that businesses should also begin to think about their holiday promotions – especially for direct mail. Below, we’ve outlined a few tips for creating a successful holiday direct mail marketing campaign.

1. Get started last month

You know those crazy people who get their holiday shopping done before the absolute last minute? It’s super weird. It’s like they’d rather address their responsibilities head on instead of procrastinate as long as possible. I know a few people who finish their holiday shopping as early as August.

And you know what’s even crazier? There are millions of these people. Approximately 34 million Americans (14 percent of the nation’s population) had already started their holiday shopping by the end of September. So in order to reach these 34 million Americans with holiday promotions, marketers would have had to start even earlier. And if you haven’t already started, what are you waiting for?

Even though the holiday season seems to begin earlier every year, it’s the businesses that make the initial push early that stay ahead of their competition.

2. Send mail frequently

A common word of advice we give to many marketers who are new to direct mail is this: you can’t just send one letter and expect to see a positive ROI. This tidbit of information applies to holiday marketing as well.

So after you send your initial holiday promotional mail, don’t wait to find out how well it will perform. You’ll be working longer hours during the holiday season, and you won’t have time to react to your direct mail responses. Instead, plan a series of direct mail promotions and schedule them throughout the season, which should probably include the New Year as well.

3. Really, though. Don’t forget about the New Year

According to a 2015 survey by Statistic Brain, 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions. If your business is the type that can leverage the resolutions of your customers, then your direct mailing campaign should absolutely extend into the beginning of 2018. Or 2520, depending on when you’re reading this article. The new year is especially important for industries related to wellness and health.

4. Promote your online store

The holidays are all about family, love, and togetherness. Your customers might sort of like you, but they certainly don’t love you, they’re typically not part of your family, and they don’t want to be together with you for very long. They want to see their friends and their cats, basically.

Your direct mail promotions should require as little commitment from your customers as possible, and a great way to achieve this low level of effort is to use your direct mail items to encourage customers to come to your online store. You’ll still make money without extra people crowding your store, and your customer won’t have to put on pants to go out in public. It’s a win-win situation.

Need help constructing a direct mail campaign to spread holiday cheer? MEDiAHEAD can help you create the perfect brochures, postcards, letters, and envelopes for your direct marketing messages all year round. We even recognize the holidays that nobody celebrates, like national Be Bald and Be Free day.

Contact MEDiAHEAD today to get started on a new direct mail campaign!