Does Direct Mail Still Work in a Digital World? Part 1 of 2

With so much emphasis on switching to digital marketing, many churches wonder if direct mail still has a place in their ministry outreach strategy. The answer to this question is a resounding YES! It’s still very important. And, in all actuality, more relevant than ever. In Part One of this two-part series, we take a look at why this tool is still a vital part of your ministry marketing campaign and how to make it work best for your church.

Direct Mail Facts: Why Direct Mail is Still King

There’s no doubt that direct mail has a lot of competition for your ministry budget: one-on-one invitations, radio, social media, digital advertising…each of these demand some of your funds. So, why keep investing in a tool like direct mail? Because it works.

  • Direct mail is personal. You connect with the recipient in their home using your unique voice, inviting and welcoming them to your church.
  • Your direct mail postcard stands out. The size, weight, color and texture of your postcard mailings pops in the mailbox, catching the eye of the reader among other standard envelopes or flyers.
  • It’s affordable & scale-able. The cost per household to send mailings to people in your community is very affordable. And you can choose the demographics or physical areas to send to, making it easy to fit in your budget.
  • And it creates awareness. The best way to get to know your community is to introduce yourself. Direct mail helps you do that in an unobtrusive way.

And here are a few other facts that should encourage you:

  • 98% of people check their mail daily.
  • 77% of recipients go through their mail as soon as they get it.
  • People spend an average of 30 minutes a day reading their mail.

How can you make direct mail work really well for your church and take advantage of these amazing benefits? At Outreach, we’ve been supporting our customers for more than 20 years with direct mail services. We’ve learned a lot along the way about what works, here are some things to consider:

You Need a Strong Ground Campaign

In many of our recent articles, we’ve emphasized the importance of multi-channel marketing and how it takes multiple connections through a variety of tools to truly connect with your audience. Direct mail is no different. Remember where we talked about radio, TV and digital? Leveraging direct mail doesn’t mean you ditch those tools. Instead, you use them to layer and reinforce your message, communicating with your audience from every angle.

For example, when you decide to host a large event, you create a theme and messaging around it. You then incorporate that theme into your direct mail postcards and reinforce the message on social media, in print ads, on banners outside your church, inside your church on banners, posters and cards and so on. This creates a fully integrated campaign that works to attract your audience at every touch point.

Direct Mail Postcard Best Practices

Speaking of themes and messaging, let’s take a moment to look at a critical aspect of any direct mail campaign—designing your postcard.

One of the key methods a church should follow is called A.I.D.A. It stands for attention, interest, desire and action:

Attention: You have about eight seconds to grab the attention of your reader. Do it with a clear, concise and exciting headline. BUT, don’t be too pithy or obscure. You want your reader to know what to do just by glancing at it.

Interest: You’ve got their attention. Now keep it! Make sure your purpose is obvious and use content that guides them from the headline to a decision without boring them.

Desire: What’s in it for them? People are busy and time is precious. Why should they pay attention and what need will it fulfill?

Action: Tell them what to do and give them all the info they need to do it.

Getting all of the above in a card can seem daunting. However, with good style choices, you can make sure your card looks clean and professional and convey all the information you need it to.

  • Use different sized headers to create hierarchy. This guides your reader’s eye and helps them understand importance.
  • Use bullets. Break your info into brief chunks that are easy to digest.
  • Seriously, keep it short. No one wants to read a dissertation, they want you to get to the point.
  • Always remember to include service times, your website, your address and your phone number.
  • Use templates or a professional designer. Let a professional do the design work and you focus on your message and your ministry.
  • Let Outreach do the work for you – our team of professionals have designed and provided proven text on postcards for years. Our postcards come with sample text, layouts and great graphics – you just customize them to fit your church and event details – it’s that easy.

Stay Tuned …

These tips should help you understand the importance of direct mail as a marketing tool and give you a jumpstart on creating your first campaign card. In our next article, we’ll focus on the numbers—how many people to send to, your expected response rate, timelines and expenses.