Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > Remember to seek a response

Remember to seek a response

When a group or organisation puts together a direct mail-out, the purpose behind it, in most cases, is to gain a response.

The response sought may be immediate. For example:
•    An urgent call for donations.
•    Volunteers to help at an upcoming event.
•    Asking people to join a rally

Or it could be more medium or longer term. For example:
•    The sale of raffle tickets.
•    Ongoing growth of the group through new members.
•    Gradual education and awareness raising on a certain issue.

When your group organises a direct mail campaign, it needs to ensure that it provokes a response and makes it easy for people to act on that call to action.

It is a waste of time, money and opportunity to send out direct mail seeking a call to action without providing people with a way they can respond.

One of the secrets to greater response rates is to make it simple for people to respond in the manner you require.

The easier it is to respond, the greater chance people will do so.

If you received direct mail that had no obvious contact details and no mechanism for response, would you reply?  

However, if direct mail contains clear phone, e-mail or post details … and a reply paid envelope the chances of response are greatly increased.

Response needs to be invited and encouraged in a number of ways.

Steering people towards a response

Your direct mail-out you should steer people towards the response you require.

Make it clear what you want the reader to do.

Do you want them to:
•    Donate?
•    Sign-up?
•    Take action?
•    Help out?

When do you want it done – or when is your big event?

If you don't make it clear what the purpose of the communication is, it won't matter what other response devices your group uses in its direct mail-out, you will struggle.

Publish your contact details.

Anything you send through direct mail should include your group's contact details.

Don't just include them, feature them clearly and prominently.

Make it easy for people to find your
•    Office or street address.
•    Postal address or PO Box.
•    Telephone and fax numbers.
•    E-mail address or addresses, and
•    Website address.

Make it easy for those who receive your direct mail-outs to respond in their preferred method.

Include a response device.

A response device is an item included with your mail-out that elicits a response.

There are a number of response devices your group or organisation can use.

Types of response devices include:
•    A donations slip for people to fill in and return.
•    A coupon or tear-off section of a newsletter or mail-out that people can detach and return for membership applications and renewals.
•    A questionnaire to get information from those receiving your direct mail out.
•    A discount voucher or 'special offer'.

Others more event-specific include:
•    RSVP forms if your group is organising an attendance-based function like a fundraising dinner or working bee.
•    Raffle tickets.
•    Membership forms or renewal forms if you are looking for new members or making sure existing members are signed-up.

When including a response device with your direct mail-out:
•    Make sure it is noticeable; that it stands out to the reader.
•    Refer to it in the copy of your newsletter or other direct mailing.
•    Think about offering a reward for a quick response – for example, discounted membership fee or a lower price for function tickets as an "early bird special".
•    Again highlight the many ways possible for your mail recipients to respond.

Include a reply paid envelope.

Including a reply paid envelope makes it so much easier for recipients to respond by simply putting whatever it is (a donation, membership renewal, RSVP or survey) in the reply paid envelope and post it.

The easier it is for those receiving your direct mail-outs to reply, the more responses and replies you will receive.
Reply paid envelopes are designed to not only increase response rates, but to make it easier to respond, and build goodwill with those you are staying in touch with.

For smaller groups, this option may seem a little expensive, but industry practice shows it is successful.  These groups should weigh up whether they can afford to include a reply paid envelope and if they can then justify that expense.

The information contained on this site is subject to change. Our Community will not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever coming from reliance placed on all or part of its contents.