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Direct Response

Direct Mail vs Email Marketing: The Benefits of Both for Your Nonprofit Clients


Successful nonprofit marketing campaigns include several channels of communication. From the old standbys, like direct mailers, to newer forms of marketing, like social media and email marketing, the agencies representing nonprofits can benefit their clients by deploying consistent messaging across all channels.

Each marketing channel has pros and cons that must be weighed when determining which route to take for a certain nonprofit client’s marketing strategy. There are a few key differences between email marketing and direct mail marketing that can affect the messaging, budget, and results of an agency’s campaign for each nonprofit.

Make It Easy

One of the most obvious upsides to email marketing is the ease and convenience. Direct mail marketing costs a lot of money, whereas email marketing is practically free. Direct mail marketing is also pretty slow, both in the sense of mailing time and response time, while email marketing is basically instantaneous. This is what makes email marketing easier for the agency and its client, but with a few thoughtful elements, emails can also be easier and more convenient for the recipient.

Online payments are a key example of this. While direct mailers can include online payment information, people often automatically connect direct mailers with checks. Plus, it’s not always easy to get people to follow a campaign from the direct mailer they have in their hands to pulling up the nonprofit client’s website on their phone or computer. With email marketing, making a payment is as easy as clicking a button or sending a text. Making sure the charities your agency represents are set up to receive online payments through as many venues as possible reduces the paperwork of actual checks and also can increase revenue. When there are less barriers to making a donation, prospects are more likely to actually donate.

Opting In

Acquiring contact information is one major barrier to email marketing. Marketers can send direct mail to pretty much anyone, with generic mailings sent to random addresses or buying relevant mailing lists. With email marketing, recipients must opt in to receiving messaging from a nonprofit. This can be a major plus for direct mailers, but it can also be a motivation factor for an agency’s online marketing efforts.

One positive to email lists is that most recipients are interested in hearing from the nonprofit. This is where inbound marketing can come into play. Building up strong content on a nonprofit’s blog and running outreach via social media enables an agency to attract potential donors who are interested in the nonprofit’s mission and goals. After visiting the nonprofit’s site organically, these potential donors, whose goals and interests likely line up with the nonprofit’s, are able to opt in to emails.

Customize to Build Relationships

Relationship building is so important in marketing, especially for nonprofits. Asking for a donation is very different from making a sale. There has to be a level of trust built in so a donor knows they can trust the nonprofit they’re donating to. Building relationships can take time and effort, but once the trust is there, the nonprofit may have gained a donor for life.

One way to use email marketing to build relationships is through customization. The recipients are all different people in different demographic groups who are looking for and affected by different things. For instance, a millennial won’t respond positively to the same email a boomer will respond to. ExactAsk’s personalized ask amounts are a great way to customize every communication your agency sends out.

ExactAsk uses all the information at your disposal to customize every piece of a campaign, boosting the effectiveness of each campaign an agency runs. It also handles the distribution of said emails, erasing the logistical concerns about implementing a campaign in which every individual email has to be customized.

Want to learn more about how using personalize ask amounts as part of a direct marketing campaign can help your agency boost its fundraising efforts? Contact us for a free demo.