Most of us know the drill. We donate once to a "worthy cause," then are bombarded with pleas for additional contributions via emails, snail mail, text or a combination of the three. What started out as a satisfying gift often turns into disdain as the seemingly never-ending barrage of follow-ups clutters our lives.
If it's that off-putting for a charitable non-profit, what makes anyone think that the same efforts won't turn off their for-profit audience? When it comes to email and snail mail communications to customers and prospects alike, think strategic, streamlined and sensible--or be prepared to see "unsubscribes" go up and direct mail response go down, along with the opinion of your company.
Too often, the rationale with such tactics as emails through Constant Contact, Mail Chimp or another distribution service is to watch the "unsubscribe" rate. When it starts spiking, the company looks into why. By then, it's too late. People already have tuned out and turned off. The trick is to keep them on board. According to entrepreneur.com, "If you keep bombarding your email list with emails, whether promotional or non-promotional, your subscriber list will begin to shrink at a rapid pace. In fact, 69% of users unsubscribe due to 'too many emails'."
Business2community.com points out that, "a conservative dose of effective email marketing can be a great thing. Too many emails, on the other hand, will give your list a severe headache...forget the bottle of aspirin, though.They'll just unsubscribe."
Here are tips for building positive mail-based marketing--including either or both email and direct mail. (Although the information below addresses email campaigns, direct mail needs to play by the same rules):
Get personal. Recipients who can tell you've done research and developed a message targeted to them will be more favorably impressed. Of course, this takes a lot of legwork and, in many cases, is impractical. However, to target a small list of highly coveted present or prospective customers, this can be well worth the effort. Notes Fastcompany.com, "Tactics for optimizing sales emails are well and good, but they're not as important as personalized research and sender/recipient fit...Important people may be busy, but the same principles for winning their trust and attention apply to the most to least busy person you're emailing. Be personal, and do your homework."
Ask what they want. Notes the entrepreneur.com report, "Let your customers choose...