Rekindling Relationships: Strategies for Engaging Inactive Donors

 

INTRODUCTION

Last year nonprofits saw a decline in donations for the first time in a decade according to the article by NonprofitPro.com, “Donations Decline for the First Time Since 2012, Fundraising Effectiveness Project Data Shows”. In 2022, there was a noticeable decline of 26% in the giving levels from first-time donors of 2021. This drop was primarily attributed to both new donors and those who had been retained from the previous year, collectively accounting for 81% of the decrease. This even included a 3.5% decrease in repeat donors. This challenge of donor retention extended across the board, leading to the lowest recorded donor retention rate at 42.6% in 2022.

Within the dynamic world of charitable organizations, sustaining financial stability and support from donors is a perpetual challenge. Donor engagement is a delicate dance, and even the most committed supporters can occasionally slip through the cracks. From understanding the motivations behind lapsed donors to mastering the art of data segmentation, effective communication, and a multi-channel approach, we will equip you with the strategies needed to rebuild trust and maintain long-term donor retention. Your nonprofit’s mission deserves unwavering support, and this guide is your roadmap to ensuring just that.

Key Topics

1. Why do Donors Lapse and What to do about Lapsed Donors?

2. What is Segmentation and how does it Focus Data Analysis?

3. What are Effective Communication Strategies for Nonprofits?

4. What is a Multi-Channel Approach?

5. How to Rebuild Trust and Retain Donors?

 

Strategies for Engaging Lapsed Donors

1. Why do Donors Lapse and What to do about Lapsed Donors?

Donors can become inactive for a multitude of reasons, including significant life changes that disrupt their ability or willingness to contribute, as well as a lack of effective communication from the organization. It’s essential for nonprofits to categorize their lapsed donors into different segments, such as recent lapsed and long-term lapsed, in order to tailor re-engagement strategies effectively. Seasonal factors can also play a role in donor lapses, as certain times of the year may bring about financial constraints or distractions that divert attention away from charitable giving. Additionally, life events like relocation, retirement, or major family changes can significantly impact a donor’s financial situation and capacity to contribute. Delving deeper into the importance of maintaining regular and meaningful communication with donors is critical, as poor or infrequent interactions with the organization can lead to donor attrition over time.

 

2. What is Segmentation and how does it Focus Data Analysis?

In the realm of re-engagement strategies, crafting personalized messages that genuinely acknowledge a donor’s history with your organization, stands as a pivotal step. These messages should not merely serve as reminders but should resonate with the individual, recognizing their past contributions and the difference they’ve made. By emphasizing the tangible impact of their support, organizations can reignite the donor’s sense of purpose and connection to the cause. These messages can be enhanced by highlighting new developments and achievements made since their last donation, showing donors that their continued involvement will contribute to ongoing progress.

To further bolster credibility and trust, organizations can incorporate testimonials or success stories from other donors who have had a meaningful experience with the cause. These stories act as powerful endorsements, reaffirming the organization’s commitment to its mission and showcasing the positive outcomes that result from donor support.

In today’s visually-oriented digital landscape, utilizing visuals such as infographics or videos can also significantly enhance the effectiveness of communication. Display materials provide a dynamic and engaging way to convey information, making the donor experience more immersive and impactful. Personalization, impact recognition, credibility building, and engaging visuals all play crucial roles in re-engagement efforts, rekindling the donor’s passion and strengthening their bond with the organization.

 

3. What are Effective Communication Strategies for Nonprofits?

Segmenting lapsed donors is essential when it comes to crafting effective re-engagement strategies. By harnessing the power of data analysis to scrutinize their past interactions and preferences, organizations can unlock the ability to create personalized messages that demonstrate a genuine appreciation for each donor’s individual history and contributions. This personalized approach, which can include thoughtful gestures like handwritten notes, not only showcases the organization’s commitment to its supporters but also significantly enhances the likelihood of rekindling their engagement and reigniting their passion for the cause. In essence, the art of segmentation and data-driven personalization becomes a powerful tool in the hands of nonprofits, fostering stronger connections and reinvigorating donor relationships.

 

4. What is a Multi-Channel Approach?

Leveraging a diverse array of communication channels, such as email, social media, and direct mail, is key in connecting with lapsed donors. This multifaceted approach allows organizations to reach donors through their preferred means of communication, maximizing the chances of reconnection. In particular, digital platforms have proven instrumental in reconnecting with younger lapsed donors who are more active on social media and responsive to online engagement. By implementing QR codes, or other interactive elements, nonprofits can seamlessly guide donors back to their mission, making it convenient for them to rekindle their support.

In an increasingly digital world, sending physical re-engagement materials can offer distinct advantages. It enables organizations to stand out from the clutter of digital communication, providing a tangible reminder of their mission. This personal touch not only captures the attention of lapsed donors but also conveys a sense of value and effort put into re-establishing the connection. Physical materials can evoke a sense of nostalgia and authenticity, resonating with donors on a deeper emotional level and potentially rekindling their commitment to the cause. Thus, a strategic blend of digital and physical communication channels ensures a comprehensive re-engagement approach that accommodates the preferences and sensibilities of diverse donor segments.

 

5. How to Rebuild Trust and Retain Donors?

To successfully re-engage lapsed donors, it’s crucial for organizations to address any issues or concerns that led to their lapse in the first place. This entails actively listening to donor feedback, addressing grievances, and implementing necessary improvements to ensure a more positive and satisfying donor experience. Demonstrating transparency regarding how their previous contributions were utilized is key, as it helps rebuild trust.

Beyond resolving past issues, organizations should also implement ongoing engagement plans aimed at preventing future lapses. By employing effective stewardship practices, nonprofits can continuously nurture their donor relationships, making supporters feel valued and engaged with the cause on a deeper level. Nonprofits can bolster this approach by regularly providing impact reports that showcase measurable results and illustrate precisely how funds were used in the past. These reports not only instill confidence but also serve as a powerful reminder of the meaningful difference donors can make, reigniting their passion for the organization’s mission and ensuring a more sustained commitment.

 

Wrap It Up

In the intricate realm of nonprofit organizations, this comprehensive exploration has shed light on the multifaceted challenge of donor retention and revival. We covered, understanding lapsed donors, data segmentation, robust communication strategies, applying omni-channel approaches to mailpieces, and rebuilding trust for retention. The crucial importance of rebuilding trust and maintaining donor retention has been underscored as the linchpin to a sustainable and thriving donor base.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Navigating the Digital Era: Reimagining Direct Mail

INTRODUCTION

Direct mail cuts through digital fatigue by offering a tangible experience that stands out amidst the overwhelming influx of messages. According to Compu-Mail.com, the average American household receives two direct mail pieces daily, while emails can flood in by the dozen. Due to their comparative scarcity, approximately 77% of Americans eagerly anticipate opening direct mail. Despite the prevalence of digital communication, the percentage of physical mail read today remains surprisingly high. Numerous statistics and studies have consistently demonstrated that direct mail continues to be an effective marketing tool that stands out in a tech-forward world.

Key Topics

1. How can you Leverage Technology to Enhance Direct Mail Campaigns?

2. Why is it important to Personalize and Target Direct Mail?

3. Why is it Important to Keep Data up to Date?

4. Why do Personalized Mail pieces Stand out?

Mail engagement data 1987 2019 2020 2021

Source: USPS Household Diary Study 2021

group working session laptops

1. How can you Leverage Technology to Enhance Direct Mail Campaigns?

Employee Direct mail is one of the oldest forms of communication still around today, recent developments allow the incorporation of digital elements into mail pieces. Leveraging technology has become increasingly vital in enhancing direct mail campaigns. By integrating interactive experiences into traditional mail, marketers are able to captivate their audience in new and exciting ways. One effective method is the utilization of QR codes, which help bridge the gap between physical and digital realms. These codes provide a convenient and instant connection for users, allowing them to access content, exclusive offers, or website URLs with just a simple scan. The scans can be tracked by the marketer to gauge real time success of the campaign. By integrating QR codes into mail pieces, brands can deliver a seamless and cohesive experience that engages recipients and enhances their overall interaction with the marketing material.

busy crosswalk people walking

2. Why is it important to Personalize and Target Direct Mail?

Data-driven segmentation is a powerful strategy that enables businesses to effectively target their audience with tailored messaging. By leveraging customer data and insights, companies can divide their customer base into smaller, more specific groups. These segments can be based on various factors such as demographics, preferences, purchase history, or behavior patterns. By understanding the unique characteristics and needs of each segment, businesses can create segmented direct mail campaigns that speak directly to the interests and motivations of their recipients.

Postalgia specializes in Variable Data Printing (VDP). This advanced technology allows for the customization of individual elements within a direct mail piece. For example, names, addresses, or offers can be personalized to each recipient. This level of customization creates a highly personalized and targeted experience for the recipient, making them feel valued and understood. By incorporating VDP into their direct mail campaigns, businesses can increase the relevance and impact of their messages, ultimately driving higher engagement and response rates.

The beauty of data-driven segmentation and VDP is that they work together seamlessly. By combining the insights gained from segmenting their audience with the customization capabilities of VDP, businesses can create direct mail pieces that deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. Whether it’s addressing recipients by name, showcasing products or offers that align with their preferences, the level of personalization achieved enhances the overall effectiveness of the direct mail campaign.

personalized data

3. Why is it Important to Keep Data up to Date?

To ensure the success of data-driven marketing campaigns, it is crucial for businesses to regularly refresh and clean their data. Outdated or inaccurate information can lead to ineffective targeting and personalization, diminishing the impact of direct mail efforts. By conducting regular data audits and utilizing tools that automate the data cleansing process, businesses can maintain a clean and reliable database, improving the quality of their direct mail campaigns.

In addition to data cleansing, it is essential to continuously collect and analyze new data to gain fresh insights into customer behavior and preferences. By leveraging tools and technologies that capture and analyze customer data, businesses can stay up-to-date with evolving customer needs and preferences. Incorporating real-time data sources, such as website analytics or CRM systems, enables businesses to gather valuable information on customer interactions and transactions.

To keep customer data accurate and up-to-date, it is important to actively engage customers in the data collection process. Businesses can encourage customers to provide updated information by offering opt-in forms or account profiles. By rewarding incentives or benefits for customers who update their information, businesses can incentivize customers to share accurate and relevant data. This approach not only helps in maintaining a clean and updated customer database but also fosters a sense of transparency and trust between the business and its customers.

Using automated data integration processes is crucial for syncing data across different systems. By integrating data from various sources, such as CRM systems, e-commerce platforms, or social media channels, businesses can have a holistic view of customer information. This integrated data enables businesses to create comprehensive customer profiles and ensures consistency across different touchpoints. Automation streamlines the data integration process, reducing manual errors and enabling businesses to deliver cohesive and personalized direct mail campaigns.

handwriting a note

4. Why do Personalized Mail pieces Stand out?

Direct mail has a unique ability to make mail pieces more relevant and meaningful, leading to higher response rates and establishing an emotional connection with recipients. According to the article “Direct Marketing Statistics for 2022” by  Compu-Mail.com, the response rate to direct mail can reach as high as 37%. One of the reasons for this is that people perceive a physical piece of mail as more “real” compared to the digital ones that flood their inboxes. The tangible nature of direct mail captures attention and engages multiple senses, creating a memorable and impactful experience for recipients.

Direct mail has been shown to generate higher response rates compared to other marketing channels. In the data mentioned above by  Compu-Mail.com, mail pieces have an open rate of 90% (in contrast to the average email open rate of 23%), direct mail ensures that the message reaches the intended recipient. This high open rate provides an opportunity for businesses to make a strong impression and convey their message effectively. Direct mail marketing allows for customization and personalization, such as incorporating handwritten elements. Handwritten elements, such as handwritten addresses or notes, add a personal touch that makes recipients feel valued and appreciated. This attention to detail significantly increases the chances of the mail being opened and read.

Beyond higher response rates, direct mail also enhances the perception of a brand as customer-centric. By investing in physical mail pieces that are tailored to the recipient’s preferences and needs, businesses demonstrate a commitment to delivering personalized experiences. This customer-centric approach fosters a positive perception of the brand and strengthens the emotional connection between the business and its customers.

CONCLUSION

In the ever-evolving landscape of marketing, where technology and data reign supreme, direct mail stands as a timeless reminder of the power of human connection. It is a tangible testament to the impact that a carefully crafted message can have on an individual. Leveraging technology and personalization techniques has become crucial for enhancing the effectiveness of direct mail campaigns. By incorporating digital elements like QR codes, marketers can create interactive experiences that bridge the gap between physical and digital realms, engaging recipients in new and exciting ways. Data-driven segmentation and Variable Data Printing (VDP) enable businesses to target their audience with tailored messaging, creating highly personalized and impactful mail pieces. Regular data maintenance and collection ensure accuracy and relevance, while automated integration processes streamline data management. Personalized mail pieces that stand out from digital clutter generate higher response rates and establish emotional connections with recipients. By investing in customer-centric direct mail, businesses strengthen their brand perception and foster stronger relationships with their customers. With the right combination of technology, personalization, and data-driven strategies, your campaigns can achieve enhanced effectiveness and drive successful outcomes.

Postalgia is a forward thinking, full range mail service provider. We employ the latest printing technology to turn your campaign vision into reality. We make the process as easy as possible for you by designing your pieces to include QR codes, implement variable data printing, cleaning up your data, and we specialize in handwritten direct mail, proven to increase open rates and goodwill maximizing the effectiveness of current and future campaigns. Reach out today to create mail that gets opened and makes an impact.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

How Fundraisers Are Tripling Their Campaign Performance

INTRODUCTION

Are you ready to revolutionize your fundraising efforts? Discover the power of donor segmentation, personalized messaging, and captivating storytelling to unlock unparalleled success in your campaigns. Engage donors, maximize impact, and foster long-term relationships for your organization. In fact, a recent direct mail handwritten fundraising campaign we did for NYU “beat the control 3 to 1.” And yet another recent campaign done for Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston found that “donors who received a personal note gave nearly 20% more than those who did not!”. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to amplify your campaign reach and maximize your impact!

Key Topics

1. How do you Personalize Targeted Direct Mail Campaigns?

2. How to Effectively Employ Storytelling in Mail Campaigns?

3. How can Mail Piece Design Improve Campaign Performance?

4. How to Increase Effectiveness of Omni-Channel Direct Mail Campaigns?

5. How to Follow-up a Direct Mail Campaign?

Triple Campaign Performance with Handwritten Mail and Stewardship

1. How do you Personalize Targeted Direct Mail Campaigns?

At Postalgia, we recognize that donor segmentation is the key to successful fundraising campaigns. By tailoring your messages to resonate with each demographic, you can create a deep and meaningful connection with your supporters. Every communication should make your donors feel valued and appreciated. That’s why it is important to incorporate donor-specific information into your handwritten letters. Whether it’s mentioning a previous donation, acknowledging their specific interests, or simply using their name, a personalized approach creates a powerful bond between your organization and its supporters.

It is important to align donation requests with donor preferences and giving capacity. Ensure your team crafts customized donation appeals that are not only compelling but also considerate of each donor’s unique circumstances. Analyze your donors giving histories and patterns to ensure that your requests are tailored to maximize engagement and increase the likelihood of a positive response.

REMEMBER THE YOUNG DONORS!

Developing effective follow-up strategies is crucial when cultivating and maintaining relationships with donors, especially when targeting younger demographics. It is vital not to overlook the potential of younger donors and actively engage them in philanthropic efforts. Encouraging smaller donations and active participation in campaigns, while also providing volunteer opportunities, creates a sense of ownership and pride in their contributions! Incorporating digital elements such as QR codes, online giving portals, and having a social media presence, can make it convenient and accessible for younger donors to contribute and engage with your cause. These strategies enable fundraisers to build lasting connections with younger supporters, ensuring their long-term involvement in fundraising efforts.
young man telling a story

2. How to Effectively Employ Storytelling in Mail Campaigns?

One powerful approach is to create an emotional connection by sharing genuine stories  that evoke emotions and resonate with donors. By sharing narratives that tug at heartstrings, you can create a sense of empathy and inspire action. Whether it’s through personal testimonials, heartfelt anecdotes, or compelling case studies, these stories should showcase the impact of the cause in a way that resonates with donors’ values and experiences.

When it comes to effective communication, authenticity and transparency are paramount. Fundraisers should share real-life experiences and factual information to demonstrate their commitment to transparency. By providing donors with clear and honest insights into the organization’s work, fundraisers can establish credibility and foster trust. Donors want to know that their contributions are making a difference, so it is crucial to communicate the real impact of their support. Presenting clear goals and outcomes is crucial for fundraisers to engage donors effectively. Sharing measurable objectives and progress toward those goals allows donors to understand the tangible difference their contributions can make. When donors see the direct connection between their support and the outcomes they care about, they are more motivated to invest in the cause.

Including personal anecdotes in storytelling helps fundraisers create relatable connections with donors. By sharing stories of individuals connected to the cause, whether they are beneficiaries, volunteers, or donors themselves, fundraisers can humanize the impact of their work. These relatable stories bring the cause to life and allow donors to connect on a deeper level. When donors can see the real faces and experiences behind the statistics, they are more likely to feel a personal attachment to the cause and be inspired to contribute.

Fundraisers should actively seek feedback from donors and share donor stories and testimonials. By inviting donors to share their experiences and perspectives, fundraisers show that their opinions matter. Sharing donor testimonials not only provides social proof but also allows donors to become advocates for the cause. These stories and feedback strengthen the relationship between fundraisers and supporters, fostering a sense of community and shared commitment.

designing a mail piece

3. How can Mail Piece Design Improve Campaign Performance?

When it comes to mail-piece design, fundraisers have the opportunity to create impactful and compelling materials that resonate with donors. To capture your audience’s attention, it is crucial to incorporate visuals that stand out. Whether it’s vibrant colors, striking images, or unique illustrations, the design should immediately catch the eye and pique the recipient’s curiosity. Creating visually captivating designs, increases the chance of mail pieces that get opened and read.

Pairing attention-grabbing visuals with compelling headlines is a winning combination. The headline should be engaging and thought-provoking, motivating the recipient to delve further into the mail piece. It should create intrigue and clearly communicate the purpose of the campaign.

Clear and concise messaging is essential to ensure that the campaign’s purpose and call to action are communicated effectively. Fundraisers should aim to convey the core message in a concise manner, using straightforward and impactful language. By clearly articulating the purpose, fundraisers can ensure that recipients understand the campaign’s mission and know how they can contribute.

Maintaining a consistent visual identity throughout your mail-piece is important for brand recognition and cohesion. Fundraisers should incorporate consistent branding elements such as colors, fonts, and logos in their mail piece designs. Consistency creates a sense of professionalism and trust, reinforcing the organization’s identity and making it easily recognizable to donors.

To make the campaign stand out, fundraisers should incorporate unique design elements that differentiate their mail pieces from others. Creativity and innovation can leave a lasting impression. Whether it’s using unconventional layouts, interactive elements, or incorporating unexpected materials, unique design elements can make the campaign memorable and increase donor engagement.

Visual hierarchy plays a crucial role in guiding the recipient’s attention to key information. Always consider design principles such as size, color, and placement to emphasize the most important messages and calls to action. By creating a clear visual hierarchy, fundraisers ensure that recipients can easily grasp the main points of the mail piece and understand the desired actions.

Readability is essential for effective mail-piece design. Always ensure that the design is easy to read and understand at a glance. Using legible fonts, appropriate font sizes, and clear formatting will enhance readability. By making the content easily accessible, fundraisers increase the likelihood of recipients engaging with the mail piece and taking action.
Discover the power of donor segmentation, personalized messaging, and captivating storytelling to unlock unparalleled success in your campaigns.

typing on laptop

4. How to Increase Effectiveness of Omni-Channel Direct Mail Campaigns?

It is essential to embrace technological advancements rather than resist them. We believe that integrating digital components into your mail pieces can revolutionize your fundraising efforts. By incorporating digital elements into your direct mail, such as scannable QR codes, it provides seamless access to online platforms and makes engagement effortless.

One key aspect of omni-channel campaigns is data integration. Fundraisers can synchronize data from direct mail and digital channels to gain a comprehensive view of donor engagement. By leveraging the data collected from multiple channels, fundraisers can gain valuable insights into donor preferences, behaviours, and interactions. This data-driven approach enables fundraisers to tailor their messaging and strategies more effectively.

Personalized follow-ups are another significant benefit of omni-channel direct mail campaigns. With digital channels, fundraisers can deliver personalized messages based on donor actions. By tracking donor engagements, fundraisers can segment their donors and send targeted follow-up messages that resonate with individual interests and motivations. This personalization enhances the donor experience and strengthens the relationship between organization and donor.

Incorporating scannable QR codes in direct mail pieces is a valuable technique in omni-channel campaigns. QR codes provide a convenient and quick way for donors to access online platforms. By scanning the code with their smartphones, donors can be directed to dedicated landing pages, online donation forms, or specific campaign websites. This integration of offline and online channels simplifies the donor’s journey and encourages them to engage further with the cause.

Handwritten Thank You Card Yellow

5. How to Follow-up a Direct Mail Campaign?

Follow-up strategies are crucial for fundraisers to maintain and strengthen relationships with their donors. Expressing gratitude is a fundamental aspect of effective follow-up. Personalized thank-you letters should be sent to donors, acknowledging their contributions and expressing sincere appreciation for their support. By personalizing these letters, fundraisers can demonstrate the individual impact of each donor’s generosity, making them feel valued and recognized.

In addition to personalized thank-you letters, regular newsletters serve as a valuable tool for keeping donors informed about the campaign’s achievements and future plans. These newsletters can highlight the tangible outcomes made possible by donors’ contributions, reinforcing the value of their support. Sharing impact reports further enhances this effect, providing concrete evidence of how donors’ contributions have made a difference in the lives of those benefiting from the cause. By demonstrating the direct impact of their support, fundraisers can reinforce the donors’ connection to the organization and inspire them to continue their involvement.

To foster ongoing engagement, fundraisers can provide exclusive updates or behind-the-scenes content to donors. This approach makes donors feel like valued members of the organization’s community, keeping them engaged and invested in the cause. Hosting special events exclusively for supporters offers a unique opportunity to deepen their connection to the cause. These events can provide a platform for members to interact with the organization’s team and beneficiaries directly, strengthening their emotional connection and encouraging ongoing support.

Collecting feedback from donors through surveys is invaluable for understanding their preferences, improving the donor experience, and enhancing future campaigns. These surveys provide an opportunity for donors to share their thoughts and suggestions, ensuring that their voices are heard and their needs are met. By actively seeking and implementing donor feedback, fundraisers can strengthen relationships and create a donor-centric approach to their work.

 

CONCLUSION

Successful fundraising campaigns require a targeted and personalized approach that resonates with donors. Compelling storytelling, authenticity, and clear goals are key elements in effective communication. When it comes to mail piece design, attention-grabbing visuals, compelling headlines, and clear messaging make a lasting impact. Omni-channel direct mail campaigns, incorporating digital components and data integration, enhance donor engagement. Follow-up strategies, including gratitude, regular newsletters, exclusive updates, events, and donor feedback, strengthen relationships and foster ongoing engagement. By embracing these strategies, fundraisers can drive meaningful impact and cultivate lasting connections with their supporters.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

How DTC Brands are Using Handwritten Letters to Increase Customer Lifetime Value

Key Topics

1. Why are Handwritten Letters Effective with Customers?

2. Can Handwritten Letters Earn Reviews?

3. How can Handwritten Letters Encourage Customers to Make a Second Purchase?

4. How do DTC Brands Write Effective Handwritten Pieces?

INTRODUCTION

Straightforward ways to increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is to decrease the cost of acquiring customers or increase the cart value with add ons.  While costs have been increasing across the board for DTC brands, a more effective way is to turn one time customers into repeat customers. The key is ultimately great customer experience and providing customers with a reason to return time after time. One such way of improving the customer experience and converting a one time customer into a lifelong customer is to show appreciation through customer stewardship like thank you notes or personalized loyalty discounts. These stewardship campaigns can leave a lasting impression on your customers ensuring your brand is top of mind during the next shopping session. According to the Generational Research Report (2020-2021), 71% of consumers feel that direct mail adds a more personalized touch to communication compared to online digital methods. In a digital era where communication has become synonymous with quick and impersonal exchanges, there is a powerful tool that can set your brand apart and forge deeper connections with your customers: handwritten letters. In this blog post, we will explore the unique power of handwritten notes and how they can leave a lasting impression on your customers. From expressing gratitude and appreciation to cultivating loyalty and driving repeat sales, handwritten letters offer a personal touch that digital communication often fails to achieve. So if you want to make a lasting impression on your customers, put down the keyboard and pick up a pen. Or better yet, we’ll pick up the pen for you!

How Handwritten Letters are creating lifelong customers

1. Why are Handwritten Letters Effective with Customers?

The rarity of receiving handwritten letters has become a notable phenomenon. Amidst the abundance of emails, text messages, and digital communication platforms, a handwritten letter has become a cherished relic. Handwritten pieces possess a unique power to develop emotional connections with customers, leaving a lasting impression that digital communication often fails to achieve.

The act of handwriting itself exudes effort and thoughtfulness, showcasing a level of care that resonates with recipients. When a customer receives a handwritten letter, they can immediately sense the sincerity and authenticity behind it. This tangible expression of effort stands out, allowing companies to differentiate themselves in the eyes of their customers.

Moreover, the rarity of handwritten letters enhances their impact. With inboxes flooded and notifications pinging constantly, the world is experiencing a digital fatigue. In contrast, a handwritten letter holds a higher chance of being opened and read, captivating the recipient’s attention in a way that digital messages struggle to achieve nowadays.

Beyond practicality, handwritten letters tap into a sense of nostalgia, evoking a bygone era when communication was more personal and meaningful. By receiving a handwritten letter, customers are transported back to a time when people made the effort to craft their words by hand. This nostalgic element adds a layer of sentimentality, fostering a deeper bond between the company and its customers.

Pleased customer at computer

2. Can Handwritten Letters Earn Reviews?

Product reviews are a key driver to increased sales. They demonstrate social proof while increasing purchase confidence. Getting existing customers to write genuine reviews is one of the most valuable goals a DTC brand can set. To codify this in the company’s mission setting review percentage as a KPI is recommended. One very effective way to get a customer to take the time to write a review is to send them a handwritten letter. The time it takes to write a handwritten letter conveys that the ask for their time was done in the spirit of reciprocity.

Within the letter, specifically express your appreciation for their recent purchase, highlighting how it has made a positive impact. Emphasize that their support is vital to the growth and success of your business. Share a brief anecdote or mention specific details that demonstrate your attention to their needs and satisfaction. This personalized approach shows that you genuinely care about their experience and encourages them to reciprocate by leaving a review to continue to support your brand.

By reaching out to customers with a personalized message, you not only enhance the chances of receiving a positive review but also encourage repeat sales as customers feel valued and connected to your business. Embrace the beauty of handwritten letters and watch as they strengthen your customer relationships and drive your business forward.

money

3. How can Handwritten Letters Encourage Customers to Make a Second Purchase?

In today’s dynamic business landscape, cultivating customer loyalty is paramount to DTC brand’s success. A handwritten letter allows you to go beyond a simple “thank you” email and provides an opportunity to convey a heartfelt message. By recognizing the customer’s patronage and acknowledging their role as a loyal client, you strengthen the bond between them and your brand.

To further enhance the customer’s experience, consider offering a personalized discount code for their next purchase. By tailoring the offer to their specific preferences or past buying behaviors, you demonstrate that you genuinely care about their needs. You can also suggest complementary products or services that they may find appealing. By sharing these exclusive details, you create a sense of exclusivity and make the customer feel like a valued insider, increasing the likelihood of them making a repeat purchase.

 A notion to keep in mind when personalizing your outreach is to stay behind the “creepy-line”. You want to use your customer’s data as a guide in your campaigns that target your customer’s general interests. The goal is to recommend products/services that could be of interest to your clients and avoid invading their privacy.

 

4. How do DTC Brands Write Effective Handwritten Pieces?

When it comes to handwritten letters, personalization is key to making a lasting impact on your customers. By including specific details about the customer or their purchase, you demonstrate that the letter was crafted just for them. In this section, we’ll explore how to create a personalized and engaging handwritten letter that conveys warmth and gratitude.

Keep the letter brief and to the point, while still infusing it with language that is inviting and appreciative. Customers respond well to a genuine and concise message that acknowledges their importance to your business. By using a friendly and conversational tone, you create a welcoming atmosphere that sets the stage for a positive customer experience.

Addressing the customer by name is crucial in establishing a personal connection. Reference their previous purchase or interaction with the company to show that you remember and appreciate their support.

 

For example

 “Dear [Customer’s Name], we wanted to extend our sincerest thanks for your recent purchase of [Product/Service].”

 

Customize your handwritten notes using a CRM that stores and organizes your customers’ data.

To add that extra personal touch, include specific details that relate directly to the customer. Mention how their purchase has made a positive impact in the growth of your company or how their feedback has helped shape your products or services. This attention to detail shows that you genuinely value their contribution and makes the letter feel truly personalized.

In terms of presentation, prioritize legibility by using clear handwriting and properly spacing out the text. You can use this contrast checker to ensure that your colors, fonts, and font sizes are accessible. A well-structured and easy-to-read letter enhances the customer’s reading experience and ensures your message comes across clearly. Avoid grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, as they can detract from the professional image you seek to uphold.

Instead of relying on digital signatures or stamps, take the time to personally sign each letter, or better yet, let us handle that for you and pen your actual signature on your handwritten pieces. This small act goes a long way in adding an extra touch of authenticity and personalization. Your signature serves as a visual reminder that a real person took the time to connect with the customer, fostering a sense of trust and appreciation.

Be mindful of timing. Aim to send the letter within a few days of the customer’s purchase or interaction with the company. Promptness demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction and keeps your brand top of mind.

 

Tips

  • Use a genuine and concise message with a friendly and conversational tone to acknowledge the importance of customers to your business
  • Establish a personal connection by addressing customers by name and referencing their previous purchase or interaction (without crossing the creepy-line)
  • Prioritize legibility and presentation by using clear handwriting, proper spacing, and ensuring accessible colors and fonts
  • Speed and timing is key when sending a gratitude letter
  • Add an element of authenticity to your pieces to make them stand out and be remembered.

 

CONCLUSION

The power of handwritten letters lies in their ability to forge deeper emotional connections with customers, standing out amidst the digital communication overload. The act of handwriting itself showcases care and thoughtfulness, instantly conveying sincerity and authenticity. Handwritten letters tap into a sense of nostalgia, transporting recipients to a time when communication was more personal and meaningful. This personal touch not only strengthens the customer relationship but also nurtures consistency and trust. By expressing genuine gratitude, acknowledging their individuality, and offering personalized discounts or suggestions, handwritten letters become a vehicle for driving customer engagement and repeat sales. Balancing personalization with respect for privacy ensures a positive and respectful customer experience. Let’s pick up our pens and create heartfelt connections that leave a lasting impression, reminding customers of the genuine care and appreciation we hold for each and every one of them.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Write a Personal Donor Birthday Card in 7 Seconds

INTRODUCTION

Have you ever wanted to send a truly personal and handwritten birthday card to all of your donors, but found it to be too time-consuming and impractical? Well, imagine being able to accomplish this task in just 7 seconds using a nonprofit CRM! The Nonprofit Finance Fund’s State of the Nonprofit Sector survey found that in 2020, 52% of nonprofits reported an increase in demand for their services, while only 22% reported an increase in funding. This indicates that many nonprofits are being asked to do more with less. To counter the urgent need for funding, stewardship must be practiced regularly. Sending personalized birthday cards is a simple but meaningful way to express gratitude and build loyalty among your donor base.

 

Key Topics

1. Why Should Nonprofits Send Birthday Cards to Donors?

2. How to Write a Birthday Card in 7 Seconds

3. Example Birthday Card Message with Template

Personal Birthday Card in Seconds

1. Why Should Nonprofits Send Birthday Cards to Donors?

One of the most important assets you have is your donor base. These individuals have chosen to support your cause and help you achieve your mission, and it’s essential that you show them how much you value their contribution. One way to do this is by sending personalized birthday cards to your donors.

When you take the time to acknowledge your donors on their birthday, it demonstrates that you care about them as valued members of your community and not just as a source of funding. This personal touch can help to strengthen your relationship with your donors and can lead to increased engagement and support in the future.

Sending birthday cards also provides an opportunity to thank your donors for their past support and remind them of the impact their donations have had. By sharing specific examples of how their contributions have made a difference, you can help to reinforce their commitment to your cause and inspire them to continue giving. In addition to building stronger relationships with your donors, a birthday card can also help to differentiate your nonprofit from others.

Sending personalized birthday cards is a cost-effective way to acknowledge and celebrate your donors without requiring a large investment of time or resources. By using a nonprofit CRM, you can easily automate this process to ensure that every donor receives a birthday card on time. This makes it easy to scale this approach and ensure that every donor receives the same level of personalized attention. So why not start sending personalized birthday cards today and see the impact it can have on your donor retention and overall satisfaction?

Birthday Card Yellow with pen

2. How to Write a Birthday Card in 7 Seconds

Creating personalized birthday cards for donors can be a daunting task, especially if you have a large donor base. Postalgia specializes in taking these large and time consuming tasks, so you can put your focus and resources into vital nonprofit work such as, fundraising and services the community.

This is where donor segmentation comes in handy. With the help of a nonprofit CRM system, the process can be streamlined and made more efficient. By setting up a template for the message and using the CRM to export donor data, it’s possible to create and send personalized cards at scale with minimal time and effort.

Each field in a personalized birthday card can correspond to a field in your CRM or database. This means that you can use the data you have on the donor to create deeply personal and meaningful messages. For example, you can include their name, donation history, or specific program they have supported in the past. By using this information, you can craft a message that speaks directly to the donor and highlights the impact they have had on your organization.

In addition to the personalized fields, you can also randomize the lines in the generic parts of the birthday greeting. This allows you to add an extra layer of personalization by tailoring the message to the individual donor’s interests, preferences, or relationship with the organization. This can make the message feel even more special and can help to build a stronger connection between the donor and your organization.

By using a column in your data that indicates the donor’s birthday, you can set your card to be mailed a certain number of days before that day. This ensures that the donor receives the card in a timely manner and can enjoy the warm, fuzzy feelings that come with being appreciated on their special day. This level of personalization and attention to detail can make a big difference in how your donors perceive your organization.

While there is some upfront work involved in setting up the template and integrating your CRM with the mailing process, the actual process of exporting data and creating the cards takes only about 7 seconds. This means that you can achieve a high level of personalization and impact with minimal time and effort. By taking advantage of the power of a nonprofit CRM system, you can make sure that each of your donors feels appreciated and valued, which can lead to increased engagement, loyalty, and support over time.

3. Example Birthday Card Message

Dear Samantha,

Congratulations on turning 58 years young! 

I wanted to wish you a happy birthday on behalf of myself, Sandra, and all of us at The Riverdale Hospital Foundation! 

I hope this birthday is extra meaningful for you with the knowledge that you’ve had such a huge impact on our neonatal care program. 

Hoping to see you at our hoops for heart fundraiser in June! 

Sincerely,

Jerry

P.S. Please give my best to Craig and Emily!

 

TEMPLATE FOR BIRTHDAY CARD MESSAGE

 

Dear [First Name],

Congratulations on turning [Upcoming Age] years young!

I wanted to wish you a happy birthday on behalf of myself, [Relationship Manager Two], and all of us at The Riverdale Hospital Foundation!

I hope this birthday is extra meaningful for you with the knowledge that you’ve had such a huge impact on our [Project name].

Hoping to see you at our [next event] in [event month]!

Sincerely,

[Relationship Manager One]

P.S. Please give my best to [Spouse and Children Names]!

Conclusion

Sending personalized birthday cards to your donors is a simple yet effective way to show your appreciation and build stronger relationships. With the help of a nonprofit CRM system, this process can be streamlined and made more efficient, taking only 7 seconds to create and send each card. By using donor data to craft deeply personal messages and highlighting the impact of their contributions, you can inspire your donors to continue supporting your cause.

This cost-effective approach can differentiate your nonprofit from others, leading to increased donor retention and overall satisfaction. So why not start implementing this approach today and reap the benefits of stronger donor relationships?

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

How to Recession Proof Your Nonprofit

INTRODUCTION

With the looming thought of a recession, nonprofits are at high risk of financial struggles. Now is the time to prepare and organize a robust strategy to make it through this challenging time. As donations and funding from government sources may decline, there will be an increased demand for services. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy: In the first half of 2022, donor numbers fell by 7% compared to the first half of 2021. This is because there was a decline in the number of small gift donors between the months January to July. With a recession upon us, small gift donors are more likely to temporarily lapse. This makes it challenging for nonprofits to sustain their operations and continue to serve their beneficiaries effectively. However, with careful planning, effective communication, and good stewardship, nonprofit leaders can mitigate the effects of a recession. In this article, we will explore some strategies that can help your nonprofit weather the storm and emerge stronger in the long run.

Key Topics

1. How do Recessions Affect Nonprofits

2. How to Plan for a Possible Recession?

3. What to Tell Donors and Volunteers During a Recession?

4. Why Make Stewardship a top Priority?

Recession Proof Your Nonprofit

1. How do Recessions Affect Nonprofits

Recession affects internal and external aspects of your nonprofit. As individuals and businesses may have less disposable income, you will see a decline in donation amounts and experience lower retention rates. Government funding is likely to decrease due to budget cuts. There will be an Increased demand for services, as recessions often result in higher levels of poverty, unemployment, and other economic challenges, which can lead to an increased demand for services from nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits may need to stretch their resources to meet this increased demand. Your organization may find fundraising more difficult as raising more funds will be less successful especially when trying to attract new donors. This inevitably leads to damaging your reputation and more unfortunately affects your capacity to help the cause.

Making a plan on whiteboard

2. How to Plan for a Possible Recession?

Don’t wait until you start to feel the effects of recession, be prepared and start planning for a potential economic downturn. Start to build a safety net for your organization now. Anticipate any possible financial struggles and prepare beforehand to reduce its adverse effects. Rather than waiting, take action to improve your organization’s programs and initiatives. Schedule regular meetings with your development or membership team, even if they are brief, to brainstorm ideas for strengthening donor relationships and communication. These meetings can lead to effective plans that can make a significant difference. Take into account how this will change your future and create a long-term plan. Imagine the desired outcomes for your organization in the next five years. Record the milestones you wish to reach, the accomplishments you want to achieve, and the prerequisites necessary to accomplish them. Equally significant is to ensure that you convey your organization’s long-term vision to your donor base to sustain their support, even if they have changed their capacity to donate temporarily.

 

3. What to Tell Donors and Volunteers During a Recession?

Effective communication about the effect of recession is essential for nonprofit leaders, not only with lower-level management and staff but with all stakeholders, including the board, donors, and volunteers. It’s crucial to inform everyone about the organization’s financial situation and the plan to ensure its sustainability. By keeping everyone informed and involved, your nonprofit can benefit from the collective input and support of the entire team.

Be sure to communicate clearly and transparently with your community members to maintain trust, manage expectations, and keep their supporters engaged. It is important to highlight that now is the time that you need your donors more than ever and gently remind them that the economic turmoil is tough for everyone but even tougher for those in need. Explain that there is an ongoing need for support from their community members, highlighting the impact that donations and volunteerism can have during a difficult economic period. Communicate this information in an informative manner and provide specific details on how the recession affects your organization.

Provide your community with the assurance that you have a plan of action for the recession, and show them that these hard times are just a speed bump in an otherwise hopeful future. Avoid using language that is asking for “bailouts” or is seemingly a “cry for help”.

Volunteers working together

4. Why Make Stewardship a top Priority?

This is the time to maintain relationships, by practicing good stewardship. Send your donors reminders that you value their relationship and you need their support. Amid a recession, donors tend to reduce the number of nonprofits they support financially. However, reaching out to them directly at this time may increase the likelihood of your organization becoming one of the nonprofits they continue to support in the long run. Therefore, it’s crucial to nurture and maintain a positive relationship with donors now to ensure their continued support in the future. By cultivating and stewarding donors today, you can improve the chances of retaining them as committed supporters. During periods of economic instability, there can be the mistake of directing a majority of resources towards gaining new donors, therefore neglecting current customer or donor base. Ensure that your recession plan aims to the retention of existing donors as that is more likely to see results in maintaining funding.

 

Your stewardship efforts should have these key priorities:

Showing gratitude by saying thank you with a handwritten thank you note

Share impact and success stories

Stay in contact with donors

Acknowledge any hard decisions your organization has had to make

Maintain authenticity and transparency

 

CONCLUSION

Recessions can have an impact on both the internal and external aspects of nonprofit organizations. Donations and retention rates may decline, and government funding may decrease. Increased demand for services can stretch an organization’s resources. To prepare for a potential economic downturn, nonprofits need to start planning now and improve their programs and initiatives, including strengthening donor relationships and communication. Clear and transparent communication is essential to maintain trust with all stakeholders. Emphasize the ongoing need for support, highlighting the impact of donations and volunteerism during a difficult economic period. Maintaining relationships and practicing good stewardship is crucial to retaining donors, to ensure the retention of existing donors as a strategy to maintain funding.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

5 Reasons Why Handwritten Notes Are Powerful

 

Key Topics

1. What Makes Handwritten Letters Intimate and Reflective?

2. You Can’t Delete Handwritten Notes

3. Why Are Handwritten Notes More Authentic?

4. Why Does a Hand-Addressed Letter Stand Out?

5. Handwritten Letters Showcases the Professionalism of your Organization

INTRODUCTION

Technology has become ubiquitous in our daily lives, with people sending hundreds of instant messages and corporate emails per day. PostGrid wrote an article titled “Direct Mail Statistics You Need to Know” and stated that, direct mail is a marketing channel that many marketers were hesitant to invest in, as they believed it would not yield the desired response rate. However, according to a study published in DMA Response Rate 2018, household mail had a significantly higher response rate at 9% compared to email, paid search, and social media, which were only at 1%. Digital communication is often devalued and quickly forgotten due to the overwhelming amount of messages that constantly flood our inboxes daily. Despite the world’s increasing paperless practices, there are still situations where a handwritten note can be more effective when communicating with donors or clients.

 

1. What Makes Handwritten Letters Intimate and Reflective?

In this digital age, emails and texts have become the primary means of communication. They are quick and convenient, but often lack a personal touch. In contrast, a handwritten note conveys a sense of thoughtfulness and care that cannot be replicated by a digital message. When you take the time to put pen to paper, it shows that you value the recipient and the relationship you share. Whether it’s a thank-you note or a message of encouragement, a handwritten note can leave a lasting impression. While it may require more effort and resources, the appreciation received in return can be immeasurable. Next time you want to express your gratitude or show someone you care, consider putting your thoughts into a handwritten note.

 

2. You Can’t Delete Handwritten Notes

One of the biggest advantages of a handwritten message is its permanence. Unlike an email or text message that can be deleted, a handwritten message can be kept as a cherished memento for years to come. It is something tangible that the recipient can hold onto and remember the sender by. Handwritten messages are also more engaging and easier to read than electronic messages. With electronic messages, it is common to skim over the content quickly, whereas with a handwritten message, the recipient is more likely to read it thoroughly. Handwritten notes don’t get sent to spam, quite the opposite, they’re opened first.

A handwritten follow-up letter sets you apart from competitors who may only send a generic email and can make a huge impact on clients and donors. While it may take more effort to write a handwritten letter than to send a quick email, the personal and intimate touch of a handwritten message can have a greater impact. It shows that you are willing to go the extra mile to make a connection, which can help build a stronger relationship in the long run.

 

3. Why Are Handwritten Notes More Authentic?

We have a multitude of digital options to convey our feelings and emotions, ranging from text messages, emails, to social media messages. While these options are convenient and instantaneous, they often lack the personal touch and sincerity that comes with a handwritten note. Handwritten pieces are a timeless way of expressing gratitude and appreciation that will never go out of style.

Digital messages can often come across as insincere or impersonal due to the sender’s ability to revise the message until it’s just right. This ability to edit can make them feel fake and inauthentic, as if they were written with the intention of pleasing the recipient rather than expressing genuine gratitude. Unlike digital messages, handwritten notes are a true representation of the writer’s genuine feelings and intentions. They are often written in one sitting, making them more authentic and heartfelt. The imperfections and mistakes in a handwritten letter only serve to enhance its authenticity and sincerity. Handwritten notes also have a longer-lasting impact compared to digital correspondence, as they can be cherished and kept as a memento for years to come.

 

4. Why Does a Hand-Addressed Letter Stand Out?

The art of handwriting has become somewhat lost. Opportunely, this has also made receiving a handwritten note all the more special. When people receive a piece of handwritten mail, they know that it was curated with care and intention, which makes it all the more memorable. A hand-addressed letter is unlikely to be thrown away because the recipient assumes the sender took the time and care to write it. They also serve as a powerful reminder of the interaction that prompted the thank-you, like a donation or a sale, refreshing the recipient’s memory every time they receive one.

 

5. Handwritten Letters Showcases the Professionalism of your Organization

Handwritten notes have a charm that is unmatched by digital correspondence. In today’s world of emails and instant messages, a handwritten note can make a person stand out and convey a sense of thoughtfulness and consideration. The attention to detail and personal touch that goes into writing by hand is sure to impress the recipient and set you apart from the crowd.

A simple follow-up note or a thank-you note can make a significant impact. It shows that you value your clients’ time and effort and are grateful for their support. Moreover, a handwritten note can also enhance nonprofit stewardship efforts by showing donors that you appreciate their generosity and are committed to making a difference. It keeps them engaged and informed about your organization’s work, thereby encouraging them to continue supporting your cause.

Let Postalgia Write Your Notes For You!

With modern technology, it’s no longer necessary to spend your valuable time writing notes to achieve the same effect. Postalgia’s robots can produce handwritten pieces at scale for organizations of all sizes and budgets. You have the flexibility to customize your messages with your own preferred writing style, and convey your message exactly as you intended. We use ink on paper, as well as a design you provide or a design that you collaborate on with our design team, to ensure that your notes stand out and leave a lasting impression.

It’s as easy as:

Customizing your design
Choosing a handwriting style
Crafting your message

We take care of the rest! Our production team is fast and efficient, we print, write, fold, stamp, and mail out your campaigns. We handle everything for you, allowing you to focus on building your organization!

CONCLUSION

By taking just a few steps, you can make handwritten notes your competitive advantage. Handwritten direct mail has become a powerful tool for personal and thoughtful communication that can leave a lasting impression. Handwritten messages are more engaging, authentic, and tangible than digital messages. They also stand out and can make an organization look more professional. While it may take more effort to write a handwritten note than to send a quick email, the personal and intimate touch of a handwritten message can have a greater impact. In a world where convenience often trumps quality, incorporating more personal and thoughtful communication through handwritten notes can set you apart.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Are Handwritten Notes Dead?

In an age where we have lost the art of human interaction and replaced it with a keyboard, few things are as important as sending a handwritten note or letter.

Technology has made sending a “thank-you” easy as pie: all it takes is one click or swipe on our phone screens to send that message…but what does this say about human interaction?

In today’s fast-paced world where technology provides us with everything we need at just the push of a button, have humans become dehumanized by electronic devices?

The lackadaisical act of tapping out something short for someone leaves little room for creativity.

We’ve all received a post-purchase email or marketing message from some company you bought from or interacted with, and the message has been sent to dozens before you. Nothing is surprising or exciting about it at all – not even a notable typo!

This electronic correspondence may be easy and automatic but makes almost no impact on customers’ lives – which is exactly why everyone does it without thinking twice about it.

There was a time when handwritten thank you notes were the norm. Nowadays, it is much easier just to press “send” and be done with it.

I may be old school, but I prefer to send handwritten thank you cards than send an email. A potential client has spent 30-plus minutes of their valuable time with you, or they dropped their hard-earned money on your product. You should be thanking them appropriately.

And it’s not just because I’m biased. The numbers back me up.

Independent research shows that 87% of people trust traditional mail and consider it more believable than a computer-generated letter.

At the same time, online and email marketing scams have become increasingly prevalent during the past few years, so people are less like to open emails, let alone believe what they are saying.
Speaking of deliverability, the clever bots of email providers are getting more and more sophisticated in their spam filtering methods, making it difficult for your digital marketing collateral to reach its target.

Another reason is that few even bother to send a note at all. This is an excellent way to make your company stand out. People will open your letter, and it makes you more memorable in people’s minds.

Again, don’t take my word for it: 90% of mail is opened and read according to research conducted by the Data & Marketing Association. 70% percent of people who received a piece of mail from businesses gave the recipients better impressions about those companies compared with other forms of communication like email which only had 45%.

Handwritten, delivered mail is a wonderfully tangible experience. This is why people love to receive handwritten mail – it reminds recipients of their real-world relationships and gives them something real to hold on to.

Beyond that, when we talk to our clients – across every industry – the story is the same: people who use handwritten notes are almost always at the top of their industry. They have more clients and have deeper bonds with their customers compared to competitors who do not send letters.

Finally, I’m going to climb on my soapbox for a minute. It is always worthwhile if you can do anything to make the business world more friendly and pleasant. And I think we could all use a more human touch these days.

So if you’re looking for a way to get more out of your business, consider using handwritten notes. It’s an easy and affordable strategy that will help grow sales with less effort on your part.
And the next time someone says “handwritten is dead,” their business is probably on life support.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

The Revenge of Analog

Life is moving online—so why are so many of us going offline? The Revenge of Analog explains why.

If you’re a literary junkie, you know there’s been a quiet civil war raging among the community of book-lovers. At the core of this conflict is a sacred question—would you ever peruse a book using an e-reader? Is a book really a book if it isn’t on paper? On one side are those who appreciate the practicality of their Kindles and Kobos. No wonder why. They make books more affordable, take up less space than shelves, and are easier to travel with.

And the other side of the divide? To them, it isn’t a practical argument. To them, the sanctity of the paper book is spiritual.

Consider comments in this Reddit thread explaining why users prefer paper books:

“I love the feeling of a good book in my hands.”

“There is nothing more satisfying than opening a new book and getting the honour of breaking the spine.”

“Seeing withered spines and taped covers makes me smile, and I like to think the reader is reliving so many memories just from that one book.”

Note the commonalities. “Feeling,” “opening,” “breaking the spine”—these describe the physicality of the book. They say: Nothing compares to the experience of touch. Touch is connected to memory, and especially to good memories. Touch becomes the doorway to the soul.

The sanctity of touch is the theme of David Sax’s 2016 bestseller, The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter. The book explores a contradiction in the digital revolution. At a time when most of life is moving online, more and more consumers are showing a clear preference for analog—or physical—alternatives. Essentially, things they can hold in their hands—and how feeling things makes them better. Where a Google calendar offers efficiency, a paper calendar offers beauty. Where a Facetime call provides convenience, a conversation over coffee creates intimacy. Where digital can feel distant, the physical feels closer—even in the case of a handwritten letter, where the sender can live far away.

Sax chronicles the analog revolution through anecdotes that would make Malcolm Gladwell smile. He opens with the unexpected resurgence of vinyl records. Sales reached half a billion dollars in 2015—the highest level since the late 1980s. Vinyl is an experience of music that feels “heartfelt, raw, and organic,” says Sax. “You watch the record spin, and it’s like you’re sitting around a campfire,” one musician tells him. “It’s hypnotic.” And hypnotism remains a face-to-face art.

Do you think this anti-digital vengeance comes from older demographics pining for simpler times… a Bingo club of “You kids, get off my lawn” consumers? You’d be wrong. Those now dipping their toes in analog grew up bathing in digital products: Millennials and other young consumers. They are driving the success of analog alternatives like old-school Polaroid cameras with built-in printers.

Our favourite part of the analog trend is what it reveals about our enduring love of good old-fashioned paper. For instance, beyond books, Sax raises the hopeful future of magazines:

“The newer magazines that are succeeding today, publications like Kinfolk and Monocle magazines, they’re saying, ‘Okay, we might have a few ads in here, but we’re really not dependent on ads in the way that time and Newsweek and Vanity Fair is. We depend on your subscription dollars. If you like it, you pay for the subscription, you pay for each issue, and it’s going to cost you more than those Sports Illustrated things, and we’re not sending you a football phone. You’re going to pay for this, but you’re going to get something that’s a high quality and that you’ll like and it won’t feel as disposable’. And if enough people think that, then, that’s a business.

In our industry, we at Postalgia see the paper preference at play with the power of direct mail. From the huge plurality of consumers who look forward to checking the mail to the ways direct mail gets better response rates than comparable digital marketing, we see paper’s incomparable capacity to create an emotional connection between you and your stakeholders. Forging a connection in a way that digital marketing hasn’t yet matched.

This is why the paper preference is so powerful. Paper creates relationships. We’ve seen that during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the enormous proliferation of pen pal groups and letter-writing among family members as an antidote to social isolation—and in contrast, how draining the endless Zoom meetings can be.

Nowadays we hear a lot about disruption—and that the only way to be disruptive is digital. Today, the opposite is true. The revolution of analog products is on. This revolution won’t be televised—it will be handwritten on paper you can hold in your hands.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

These six attributes explain the power of direct mail

Is direct mail dead? It’s the question on marketers’ minds. At the very least, it’s the question they’re Googling: with 167 million results for the search “is direct mail dead?”

So, is it? Let’s just say you shouldn’t wait around for the funeral procession. In 2018 alone, Canada Post delivered nearly 8 billion pieces of mail and parcels—almost 32 million items delivered daily. Direct mail isn’t going anywhere. Its place in the wider toolset of marketing and sales channels may be changing. But its power to build your business isn’t. Here are six reasons why.

1. Direct mail delights

Those of us old enough to remember when we went to Blockbuster Video for our Friday night entertainment will recall when mail was annoying—the inbox spam of the ’90s. And like the movie rental chain, those days are long gone. 41{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} of Americans look forward to checking their mail every day, including 36{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} of Americans under the age of 30. In turn, a whopping 90{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} of Americans look forward to receiving personal letters and cards… something we know a little bit about.

An enormous number of your potential customers, donors, and stakeholders like mail. They really like it.

2. Direct mail sticks around.

Today’s email inboxes are a blast zone of unopened brand newsletters, sales emails, and spam from that one store you visited on vacation once, and foolishly gave your email address for a digital receipt instead of a printed one. Big mistake trying to save the trees there.

Avoid the digital wasteland that is your customers’ spam folder. Direct mail, in contrast, sticks around. Over an 18-month research study, the UK’s Royal Mail service found that:

  • nearly 40{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} of consumers have a dedicated display area for mail;
  • that nearly one-quarter of mail is shared among members of a household; and
  • mail remains in the home for anywhere between 17 and 45 days after delivery, leaving multiple opportunities for your message to be seen and re-seen.

A strong direct mail piece – potentially displayed publicly – will catch the eye of multiple occupants in one home and will stick around far longer—unlike an email, always buried by the next email to arrive. This boosts message recall, enhances brand recognition, and means more bang for your marketing buck.

3. Direct mail gets responses.

Sure, email marketing can be cheap—but sometimes, you get what you pay for. Canada Post found that postcard marketing has a response rate of 4.4{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57}, compared to digital marketing at 0.12{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57}. That means postcard marketing is 10-30 times more effective.

But why cause a lover’s spat when you can be a matchmaker? Ultimately, email marketing and direct mail are better off together. Canada Post conducted neuromarketing research and concluded that recipients “paid 39{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} more attention to integrated direct mail and digital campaigns than to single-media digital campaigns, and consumers had 40{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} higher brand recall when direct mail followed email.”

4. Direct mail drives customers to your website.

Let’s go a little deeper into the power of integration. Today’s consumers seamlessly move from offline experiences to online ones. We can catch an ad on a subway car, whip out our phones, and search more about what’s caught our eye.

The United States Postal Service commissioned a study into how direct mail directs traffic to senders’ websites. The results will make you smile. Direct mail and catalog recipients were not only more likely to make an online purchase—they were also more likely to buy more items and spend more money. Catalogues were particularly impactful. The study found a revenue lift of 163{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} for websites supported by catalogues, as opposed to those that were not—boosted especially by a greater influence on first-time shoppers, and a discouraging effect on competition shopping.

Direct mail, in this way, can serve as a strong cue for driving a consumer to your digital platforms—a particularly powerful insight for an e-commerce retailer, or other company dependent on-site traffic.

Given this extraordinary website traffic-driving effect, consider one of direct mail’s greatest benefits for retailers…

5. Direct mail can help you control sales fluctuations.

It’s a problem facing many retailers—peaks and troughs over the course of the annual sales cycle. Some are plagued by these fluctuations more than others. For instance, in 2017 many famous American retailers—like GameStop, Best Buy, Kohl’s, and Macy’s—depended on the holiday season alone for more than one-third of their annual revenue. That’s a nail-biting dependency for any business owner, where a bad season can mean downsizing, layoffs, or worse.

Direct mail’s ability to drive consumers to online stores can be strategically leveraged to even out your sales across the year. Consider identifying the period of the year where your sales performance is worst and deploying a direct mail campaign to boost revenue through special discount events and other tactics.

6. Direct mail is emotional.

Put simply: direct mail stimulates all the emotions that can create a lasting, loyal relationship between you and your customers.

That Royal Mail study we mentioned earlier found that more than half of recipients feel more valued after receiving mail, and value something they can touch 24{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} more than something they simply see.

We’re no strangers to the emotional punch of handwritten, direct mail here at Postalgia. We’ve written about how direct mail can turn an e-commerce transaction into a real-life relationship, and have also taken a deep dive into the ways expressing gratitude to customers or donors through direct mail can build lasting, loyal, long-term connections with key market demographics. Creating a genuine emotional connection with your brand is a time-tested way to build a business that lasts.

These are only six examples of how direct mail packs a powerful punch for any organization, whether you depend on new leads, donors, customers, or lasting loyalty. And no direct mail is more impactful than handwritten letters produced at scale—an incomparable personal touch for thousands of your stakeholders. Click here to learn how.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.