Direct mail has been around for decades and while some people think it is a dying way to reach out, one thing we have learned in the last two years is that effective marketing is accomplished both online AND offline.
During COVID, people were forced online for everything, which filled email inboxes and digital feeds with clutter. Suddenly physical mail was welcome and people were glad to have something tangible that they could hold on to. Enter a resurgence of direct mail marketing and a chance for your church to send postcards that are more relevant, attention-grabbing and effective. Here are six ways to make your direct mail postcards shine:
1. Mail to the right people with the right goals in mind
It’s great to send a general invitation to your community, but don’t expect 100 new people to show up on Sunday morning. On average direct mail will bring you a .5 – 1% response rate, but there are things you can do to improve on that.
First, restrict your mailing to a specific audience – like parents with small children, or empty nesters – you can save money by targeting a neighborhood with a particular demographic. There is an easy, online tool you can use to see a mailing map of people near your church – click here and enter your address to get started.
Second, realize that your goals may be too lofty. Maybe instead of looking for 10 visitors to come to your building, you should set a goal of having 10 people visit your website and 3 new people watch your online services. Coming to a church building in 2021 is a big step for some people, so make baby steps a victory too.
2. Make your mailing attractive
Your mailing should be eye-catching so it stands out among the bills and flyers. Studies show that people keep their mail on average up to 14 days so sending a visually-appealing postcard raises the chances that your mailing will end up on someone’s bulletin board or refrigerator.
Not sure how to get started? Don’t try to do this on your own – designing a great mailing piece is best left to a professional who understands graphic design AND mailing regulations. That’s why services like Direct Mail Postcards from Outreach are worth the investment. There are hundreds of designs to get you started and then you can customize the postcards with your own message, photos, logo, map, QR code etc. using the easy online custom editor or a graphic design professional.
3. Have a clear message
It’s really tempting to fill your postcard with lots of details and text – to say everything anyone would ever need to know about your event and church. DONT! Instead ask yourself, what is the number one thing you want the recipient to do? What is the call-to-action (CTA)? Don’t make the reader wonder what to do next – be clear and then make it easy to do that action. If your CTA is “Visit our website for details” then include a website address and make sure details about your church or event are on the TOP OF THAT PAGE!
4. Create synergy with other promotions
Apply multiple-impression marketing strategies to your church promotions. What is multiple-impression marketing? Just like it sounds – it’s inviting people to your event or church multiple times in multiple ways – reinforcing the message over and over.
Studies show that it may take up to 7 impressions before someone takes action – and just like the parable of the sower, some of your seeds will land in the rocks and some on fertile soil but that doesn’t mean you stop throwing seeds. The more impressions you put out into the world, the better your chances. So pair your postcard mailing with an outdoor banner on the street by your church,a social media ad on Facebook and a personal invitecard for members to hand to friends and coworkers.
5. Increase the shelf life
If you’re like most people, you have a stack of mail that you need to act on -either bills to pay or catalogs to review. Direct mail has a longer shelf life than an email or Facebook ad and it’s a tangible reminder that people may keep around, so make sure your postcard has valuable information that lasts. If you are promoting a Christmas Eve service, make sure you also provide your regular Sunday morning service times, or add an invite to your New Year’s sermon series.
We have heard stories of people who moved into a house only to find an old church postcard in the back of a kitchen drawer and decide to give the church a try! You never know how God will use your mailings or for how long!
6. Be persistent
Don’t think of a postcard mailing as a one-and-done prospect – it may take regular correspondence with your audience to see a response. In fact, you can double your response rates by sending multiple postcards for the same event.
By making direct mail a regular part of your church promotions to your neighbors you increase the chance that when they are ready to give church a try, your name will naturally pop to the top of their mind.