If you read our recent article, “Does Direct Mail Still Work in a Digital World?”, you know that direct mail is still a critical part of a multi-channel church outreach strategy. Despite the advancements in digital marketing, direct mail postcards still offer a tangible, personal connection to your chosen audience. And because 98% of mail recipients check their mail daily, it’s virtually guaranteed to get noticed. When we last left off, we were sharing tips for making your postcards even more successful, including building a strong ground campaign and best practices for designing your card. In Part 2, we are going to share even more great ways to excel, this time focusing on the direct mail data. Let’s get started!
Choosing Your Direct Mail List
So you’ve decided you’d like to send out a direct mail postcard and designed the perfect piece. Now what? The answer is obviously to send it, but to whom? This is where a direct mailing list comes in. There are three types of lists that are best for ministry use:
- Occupant List: Also called a saturation list, an occupation list captures the closest neighbors to your budget. It works by proximity and goes to every house in your chosen area. (Most affordable.)
- Occupant Name List: An occupant name list uses the same method above, but uses names from the household to create a personalized feel. (More costly.)
- Demographic List: Reaches a specific type of recipient, such as singles, families with kids, young men or women, etc. (Most costly.)
Remember that your ultimate goal is to target the lost. You are reaching out to introduce people to Jesus, so target the audiences you think need your help them most.
How Many People Do I Mail To?
Once you know your mailing list, it’s time to determine how many people you want to reach. The first thing to remember is that you are going to send a LOT of postcards. When you look at the numbers, sending thousands of cards may be daunting. However, quantity is key in direct mail because you want to get your message to as many people as possible. To put it into perspective, here are some response rates we recently shared in a webinar on direct mail:
5,000-piece campaign = 12-24 visitors
10,000-piece campaign = 25-50 visitors
50,000-piece campaign = 125-250 visitors.
Keep in mind that these numbers can also be impacted by many factors: weather, sporting events, holidays, and other challenges. Try to plan ahead for what you can (holidays, sporting events) and hope for the best with the others (weather, illness).
Here are six questions you can use to determine how many to send:
- What is your purpose?
- What is your budget?
- How many people can your venue hold?
- How far is your reach?
- How many people would you like to see attend?
- How many times do you want to mail it your card?
Direct Mail Costs
Those numbers seem huge, right? Well here’s why direct mail is so great! The per card average for nonprofits (that’s you) is just $.17-$.60 per piece with mailing services, depending upon the number ordered! In order to get some of these benefits, you do need to get nonprofit authorization. (You can get assistance with this from Outreach for free.)
How Long Does It Take?
Timing is absolutely critical, so let’s break it down. The farther out you can plan, the better off you will be. The closer you get to your event, the more the cost might rise due to rush fees (sometimes your vendor will work with you to mitigate costs in the event of a rush).
- Try to get your design ready to rock 6-8 weeks out.
- The cards should be shipped to the post office two weeks before the event date.
- Then about 5-10 days before the event, you should see it mailed to homes.
Final Thoughts on Direct Mail
Mailings can bring bring a lot of blessings to your church—and to the lives of those you reach with the message of God’s love. Send direct mail postcards during the holidays, for special events, when the seasons change or during moving season. The more you reach out and the wider net you cast, the better your results will be!