Posted by Jay Wilkinson

As hot as digital marketing is, direct mail is no dinosaur. It can be a highly effective part of your marketing strategy, especially if you marry it with your digital marketing efforts—the fancy term for that is integrated marketing.

It’s important, though, not to mail your marketing pieces blindly and just cross your fingers for a good return. Be more strategic than that. Maximize your direct mail marketing and get the response you want with these five easy tips.

  1. Regularly update your mailing list database. Did you know that every year, one in six Americans changes their address (USPS)? If your mailing list is over a year old, you can assume that 17% of it is no longer up-to-date. Even the best direct mail pieces will be ineffective if they don’t make it into a mailbox. Ask for current contact information when you communicate with your constituents and update your database regularly.
  2. Keep your messages about them, not you. Sometimes there’s a fine line between the two, but the difference is huge. When you talk about you and your organization, the focus is on, well, you and your organization—and to be honest, your constituents may not care about all the details of your success like you do. What do they care about? How you used their money. The people you’ve helped. The impact they’re making through your organization. When you write your marketing messages, keep your constituents front and center in your mind, not your organization.
  3. Personalize your direct mail efforts by celebrating milestones. If you’re able to capture information about special events in your supporters’ lives, like birthdays, graduations, home moves, weddings and anniversaries, you can send “congratulations” or celebratory postcards and turn constituents into friends who appreciate your thinking about them during these times. This is a great way to create loyalty and build brand evangelists.
  4. Marry your direct mail and digital marketing efforts. Don’t market to your audience in silos—bring the offline and online worlds together by using your direct mail pieces to send visitors to your website. Did you know that 44% of people will visit a brand’s website and 34% will search online as an immediate result of a message from a direct mail piece (Direct Marketing Association)? Direct mail is a great traffic driver.
  5. But be clear about the next step. Tell people exactly what to do. Are you sending a postcard to promote an upcoming event? Send your audience directly to a landing page on your site for event registration. Are you raising money for a special project? Direct recipients to a landing page where they can donate immediately. Create a seamless flow between your direct mail and your website with clear messaging, one focused call to action on a specific landing page.

Of course, you want to be sure that your website is actually built for your constituents and has the tools they’ll need when they land on it. Firespring specializes in creating beautiful websites with essential tools for nonprofits. Start your free trial at or call 877.447.8941 to learn more.