Thursday, February 28, 2013

New breakthrough direct mail strategy increases response rate from 0.50% to 0.75%

Now only 92.5 out of 100 throw the letter out

Metro’s largest charity has announced a major breakthrough in their direct mail campaign. In an article written by their direct mail consultants, Big Invoice, the Metro Foundation Trust announced a staggering 50% increase in responses to their fundraising appeal letters they send out every quarter.

“We’ve really come up with something here,” said Trust CEO Dibble Brewer. “In one mailing we’ve been able to increase our response rate 50%. That’s unheard of in charities like ours. Now, instead of 95 people out of every 100 throwing out our letter, now only 92.5 are. That’s an astronomical change.”

The dramatic increase came when the Trust hired Big Invoice to review and improve its direct mail campaign which raises almost as much it costs to run. Big Invoice brought in a crew of consultants who took a look at every aspect of their direct mail – database, writing, response methods, gifts, how much the Trust could afford to pay them and more.

The $50,000 review came up with a 2000-page report that recommended that the entire direct mail program be taken over and run by Big Invoice.

“They made the case that their expertise was so much better than ours,” said Brewer. “They could use words like LYBUNT and SYBUNT and actually know what they meant. And they were fluent in the archaic language of US postal regulations, which we could never understand. It seem to be the thing to do.”

With Big Invoice at the helm, direct mail letters became more polished. They were twice as long, had more stuff stuffed into them and came with new ideas, like free address labels for donors. The first mailing of the new letters last month went to 25,000 homes in Metro, where most of it ended up in the garbage except for 1,875 people who filled out the response card and mailed it back.

The new letter was also able to raise the average gift from $15.00 to $17.50.

After The Trust paid for the Big Invoice mailing and factored in the amazing increase in response and the larger average gift it actually broke even. But Brewer says the change was still a success in many ways.

“We actually reduced the amount of waste we create in the landfill. That makes us one of the most efficient charities in Metro because the amount of people who throw out their letters is like 98 or 98 out of 100. We’re much more greener.”

“And we’ve been able to reach more people with our message. That’s got to count for something.”

Brewer says they plan more innovation in future mailings. Big Invoice is planning to create extremely sticky envelopes that will be 30% harder to throw out than previous direct mail letters.