Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > Planning Direct Mail - Part 2

Planning Direct Mail - Part 2

The first part of the Planning Direct Mail help sheet summarised five key steps that community organisations and not-for-profits should work through when planning their direct mail campaign:
  1. Know what you are direct mailing.
  2. Set some objectives.
  3. Ask what else you need to include in your direct mail campaign.
  4. Decide on the wording of the direct mail letter, and.
  5. Make sure you can cater for the response.
Before continuing with the second part of this help sheet, ensure you have read the first part – accessible by Clicking Here.

Planning Direct Mail Part 2 expands the points outlined in Part 1, and examines in more detail the ways groups can plan for a more effective direct mail campaign through:
  • Examining their "target audience" for the direct mail-out, as well as.
  • Analysing the environment in which they operate, and any competitors or rival organisations they may have.



Know your Target Audience

Like most forms of marketing, recruiting and solicitation, direct marketing can fail if it directed at the wrong people.

  • Before you begin a direct mail campaign, ask yourself:
    • Who is the "target audience" for our mail-out?
      • Who are we trying to get to join up, donate, take part or support us?
        • Is there a particular segment of the population or part of the community we are aiming at – and if so, how do they differ from the rest of the community?
      • What are we trying to contact them for?
        • Membership, donations, fundraising, support?
      • What needs, wants or desires does our group satisfy?
        • Have we got a new opportunity – a new appeal, an upcoming fundraising function, or a new sporting team – that might interest those in our target audience?
      • Have we lost touch with some in our target audience?
        • Have they lost interest in what we do?
        • Have they joined another similar club or group?



Also, Think About:

  • Targeting existing contacts/members/donors/supporters.
You won't need to "sell" your organisation or group as much to existing contacts, as these people are already aware of your work, and have already made a decision to support your group. The emphasis of your mail-out might instead concentrate on encouraging further commitment or the chance of a new offer or activity.

You may already have a list of existing contacts on a database. This is a good start for any campaign, since those who are satisfied with what you do and are already on your database will probably remember you, and be more inclined to deal with you again.

Just make sure they haven't "opted out" of receiving further information from you – more information on privacy is available by Clicking Here.

  • Targeting new or potential contacts/members/donors/supporters.
If your club is seeking new members, new donors or added support for your activities, you need a different approach.

This means you might have to concentrate more on informing these potential new contacts about the basic details of your organisation, and introducing them to it.

You would need to look at explaining:
  • Who you are.
  • What you do.
  • Why you do it.
  • What you have achieved, or offer, and
  • How you do it.
Once you have covered these points, your group can then start "selling them" the reason why you are direct mailing them.


Know your Competitors

In a competitive environment for members, donors, supporters and the like, it is vital your group is aware of its competitors – who they are and what they are doing.

Keeping abreast of your competition can be as easy as making sure you have copies of their newsletters, know what's on their website, are aware of what they are doing, or staying "in the loop" and up-to-date on the latest information in your interest area.

Make sure you know:
  • Who your competitors are (by name) and how big they are.
  • If any new competitors have emerged recently.
  • If any of them have launched direct marketing campaigns? If so, make sure you put yourself on their mailing list, so you can see what they're doing.
  • What your point of difference with your competitors or unique selling point is.
  • What your competitors' main strengths and weaknesses are and if you can cater for those they might not be able to.



Know your Environment

Finally, before your group embarks on a direct mail-out campaign, it needs to take a look at the environment in which it operates.

If for example your group is located in a growing area, attracting new members or donors might be a priority; whereas if it is in an established area, retaining current members or supporters – or seeking new contacts further afield – might be your focus.

You should:
  • Analyse the social landscape.
    • How are demographic patterns changing?
    • Can you take advantage of spikes in population growth, or should you be aware of population declines?
  • Make sure you understand the privacy legislation. If you don't, more information is available by Clicking Here.
  • Analyse the political and legal landscape. For example:
    • Are there any legislative changes you need to take into account?
    • Are there any taxation changes which will affect your business?
  • See if new technology has emerged that you should know how to use.
  • Not confine your analysis to your local area. Think further afield – to the next suburb, town or area – where you could attract new members, supporters or donors.
A tool your group or organisation can you to clarify where it stands is a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis. More information on how to do a SWOT Analysis is available by following by this link to the SWOT Analysis help sheet.

More tools you can use to plan and target your direct mailing campaign can be found in Part 3 of this help sheet.



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