Four Ways to Improve a Direct Mail Control
If you can’t beat them, you join ’em. When it comes to a direct mail control, when you can’t beat it, you try to improve it. That represents the mission for Renée Simi, annual giving consultant for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has a control that goes back to the early 1990s and is mailed to nearly seven million prospects a year. “My PETA goal remains beating the control. On the other hand, I feel fortunate that we’ve had such a strong package working so well for such a long time,” she comments.
Here are four ways in which Simi has helped keep PETA’s package on cruise control.
#1 Use a personalized reply envelope with a return address that looks like the address label sheet freemium.
“That’s never been done before and was particular to the format, where in-line technology helped,” Simi says.
#2 Toss the nickel.
PETA’s previous control used a nickel in its package. “When I came to PETA, my goal was to beat the nickel, which is not one of my favorite gimmicks. I like to think that people are drawn to a mission and, in this case, animal rights. So we did a lot of format testing, and the oversized 9˝ x 12˝ [package] did beat the nickel. It met that goal of improving response without the nickel,” she explains.
#3 Use a personalized lift note.
“This was one of the key elements that helped beat the nickel. The idea was that the lift note would draw your attention to the reply device, making that page stand out for the prospect rather than get[ting] lost in the package,” Simi recalls.
#4 Change page distribution.
“When we went to [an] oversized format, we tested a four-page letter against a two-page letter. Normally in direct mail fundraising, we would expect the four-pager to beat the two-pager. In this case, in-line technology … allowed us to do two sheets of labels, which tested better than two extra pages of letter copy,” she says.