Saturday, April 29, 2006

Future of mailshots and direct marketing

More than 30 million people in the US opted out of direct mail within the first 6 weeks of having the chance to do so.

Direct mail needs to be ultra-personal to succeed.

The charity I started back in 1988 (AIDS charity ACET) decided to send out a mailing to 3500 people who had given to us recently, thanking them, giving them news and the opportunity to give again.

We have a great story: all our overheads are paid or given by volunteers and because we are ultra efficient we are able to feed an orphan for a month in a place like Zimbabwe for just $1-50.

In Ukraine we have seen 100,000 pupils in 12 months in a programme costing less than $25,000 a year.

But how do you get people to open the mailing in the first place? All the evidence shows that the best opening rates come when people don't know what is inside and it looks personally sent.

Well we hand-filled the envellopes using volunteers, and stuck ordinary stamps. We used a window to the address appeared on the letter - and I personally signed plus wrote comments on more than 450.

We will see what happens, but already the responses are coming in less than 48 hours after we posted them all out.

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