3 Answers about Acquiring New Donors Through Direct Mail
A second teaser that can translate is a deadline which is date specific, i.e., "Please Respond by June 20, 2011."
Second, a "teaser" is not just words. It is everything about the carrier envelope. It can be postage. First class postage is incredibly powerful way of getting an envelope opened. If the budget does not allow for 1st class, then use a meter or indicia.
However, please stay away from the 3rd class non-profit stamps. Nothing screams 'junk mail" like a 3rd class pre-sort stamp. Teasers can also be graphics and artwork that makes the envelope look urgent, like an overnight gram.
Question: I noticed that many of your samples are addressed to a "friend." Do you find much benefit in using first names vs. general associations?
Merrigan: Preprinted letters are more affordable than personalized letters. (They also offer fewer data challenges; e.g., making sure you have the name right.) The challenge is to find a salutation that makes sense, and is still appropriate to the relationship. "Dear fellow veteran" ... "Dear neighbor" ... "Dear concerned citizen" ...
How do you set the stage for what is to follow?
This is a great area for testing, because it's a critically important question. Too often organizations use one salutation this time and another next, kind of "as the spirit moves them." But, how do you establish any learning from that? Do an A/B split and try two, to see if one works better than the other. Or, do an A/B split and see if personalization delivers a significant enough increase in response to pay for itself.
You have to start somewhere, and the reason you see so many "Dear Friend" letters is that it works. It provides an acceptable level of response. Now, your job is to find what's better than acceptable!