Make Your Appeal to Out of State Donors

Drawing of man talking on phone to woman in speech bubble
Business vector created by Freepik

Donor acquisition is one of the most important functions of nonprofit fundraising. Your donors make the good work you do possible. Without a regular and tactical practice of enlisting new donors , both socially and financially, your organization would be challenged to stay afloat.

It goes without saying that stewarding your current donor base is essential—they’re the ones who’ve continued to champion your cause and are more likely to give consistently, and grow their gifts, over time.

Conversely, compelling new donors to give is more difficult than maintaining a relationship with a regular donor. However, it’s important to not leave donor acquisition efforts for hard times. Your donor base is constantly changing, and your approach to acquiring new donors should be constant as well.

Connecting with Out of State Donors

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Business vector created by Dooder –

A significant component of attracting new donors, and maintaining current donors for that matter, is conveying a clear value proposition that you deliver. What ties them to your cause? Your organization? Your purpose? How you talk to donors depends largely upon what messages they are receptive to.

For nonprofits that serve a local community or an entire state, it’s likely that the bulk of your donors live locally. However, over time your donor base will change as people change employment, retire, and transition to out of state residence, either full-time or seasonally.

You may currently have or want to reach out to donors who you determine have ties to your service area. A good place to start is with former residents and also part-time residents who regularly visit your area but live elsewhere seasonally.

It’s easier to determine motivation for contributors who live near your organization. You may see them at events, and their contribution could be a natural desire to create a better community where they will live and work.

But out of state donors can be more elusive. And the message you use to reach them will probably need to be different than those of local constituents. Determining their connection to your organization or location is a critical piece of that message.

To acquire these non or semi-local donors, you need to dig a little deeper to try to make a connection with them due to their removed primary residence. Why have they decided to pay additional property taxes to maintain a presence in your locale? An important set of data for acquiring donors near and far gets personal. Ask questions such as:

  • What social values are important to you?
  • Why do you give?
  • What does it mean to you to contribute to your community?
  • What is unique or memorable about the community you once resided in before moving?
  • What location, community, financial, family or other qualities influence your decision to have a second home here?
  • What does “making a positive difference” mean to you?

These kinds of questions can be asked of both current and potential donors to better understand your out of state donor base and where you fit into their lives. You may not ask these questions in such a direct manner. But you’ll want to get people thinking about these topics in a way that initiates a response with the information you’re looking for.

Acquiring Donors with Direct Mail

woman reading mail at desk

So how do you do this? As with any campaign, you first need to know what you want to achieve. Evaluate past data to set clear, specific goals.

Do you want to acquire a specific number of new donors? Do you want to increase donor acquisition by a percentage from year to year? Even if you’re seeing positive trends regarding new donors, it’s important to keep improving. When you have a goal in mind for a campaign, it’s easier to judge whether the campaign was effective. Goals also allow you to understand how your data is changing over time.

Whether you’re looking to acquire new donors or bring lapsed donors back into the fold, the easiest way to determine what matters to them is to simply ask. While much of your fundraising content may focus on asking for a financial gift, you could approach this kind of campaign without addressing that angle.

Instead, use direct mail as the basis for an introduction or reintroduction to the potential donor. If you can, acknowledge their connection to you and to your region. Maybe they own property here, or have business and investments tied to the region. Also speak to your role. What do you do for your community?

Use that connection to promote a compelling reason/purpose for these individuals to give. Develop a short series of questions that will help you to better understand what matters to these potential donors and what your organization means to them. A best practice with this kind of campaign is to create a landing page on your website tied to the direct mail piece, where recipients can go to submit their responses.

You can build upon this initial mailing with subsequent mailings to engage the donor, build awareness and trust, and make the ask for financial contribution.

Building a list of potential donors and effectively reaching them with a compelling campaign takes time. Donors will interact with you multiple times before making a gift. It’s important to keep up a consistent strategy, so that your message is sure to be heard.

At Paw Print, we specialize in nonprofit fundraising appeal production. Contact us today to start reaching and acquiring more donors for your organization.

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7 Reasons You Should Be Mailing Postcards

Direct Mail Works for You

Postcards_Paw_Print_And_MailDo you receive a lot of emails? Too many? I know I do. The average American receives 88 emails per day, with office workers seeing over 120. Even if an email is full of worthy content, it can be hard for it to stand out from the rest.

What about direct mail? Some days, my household doesn’t receive any. So, when I do find something in my mailbox, I tend to remember it, and I certainly notice it.

In our increasingly digital world, direct mail is often seen as an outdated and ineffective marketing strategy. But there are many statistics in its favor:

  • About 80% of direct mail is opened
  • 70% of Americans believe mail is more personal than digital communications
  • 56% of consumers have tried a new business, and 70% have renewed relationships with businesses, after receiving direct mail from them

And that just begins to scratch the surface of the powerhouse that direct mail can be for your business. It’s even more effective when used as part of a multi-channel marketing strategy. Direct mail is also a versatile medium, allowing you to be extremely personal with your audience and adding interest with a range of colors, textures, and shapes.

One of the most popular direct mail formats is the postcard. 56% of postcards are read by direct mail recipients, the most read of any direct mail piece. If you haven’t included postcards in your marketing strategy, here are 7 reasons you should consider doing so.

1. Strong Visual Potential

Postcards are attention-grabbers, standing out among the typically white envelopes that fill our mailboxes. A challenge of direct mail is enticing recipients to open an envelope, but with postcards, everything is immediately visible. Your message is right in front of the reader, increasing the chance that your audience will read your content and follow through on a call to action (CTA). It’s an opportunity for you to get creative, with exciting visuals, colors, and shapes.

2. Concise Content for Consumers

There are many media and marketing messages competing for our attentions on a daily basis. Consumers are short on time, and must be selective in the content they read and watch. Postcards don’t offer a lot of room to get technical, so they require you to be concise with your message. Short, compelling copy combined with attractive visuals effectively gets a message across to your reader, striking their interest and leaving them wanting more.

3. Postcards Save Time and Money

Direct mail is a versatile medium, and each type of mailing has its purpose. More costly mailings can be very effective, but postcards are an affordable option that allows you to cut down on costs while still delivering a compelling marketing message. Postcards are also faster to produce than other mailings. They require no folding or envelope stuffing, and you can eliminate the need for labels by printing the address right on the card.

4. Craft Targeted Campaigns

Other traditional forms of advertising, like television or print ads, allow you to reach a wide ranging but not highly targeted audience. With direct mail, you know exactly who will receive your message, and you can craft that message accordingly. Since postcards are relatively easy and inexpensive to produce, you can create different versions to send to segmented audiences based on demographics like location or past purchase history. Messages that are more targeted toward the recipient are more likely to be acted upon.

5. Pursue More Leads

Additionally, postcards are a better direct mail format for pursuing leads. Current customers are likely to be more receptive to receiving in-depth communications from you. But if a recipient doesn’t currently have a relationship with your company, you have to work harder to pique their interest. Since postcards are inexpensive and visually engaging, they can be used to introduce a prospective customer to your company in a visually compelling way, and encourage them to connect with you.

6. Measure Mail Effectiveness

Direct mail campaigns are more meaningful when you measure how effective they are at compelling your audience to act. A postcard with a concise CTA is easier to measure, especially when your CTA includes a coupon or special offer. As recipients use the coupon or take you up on your offer, you’re able to see whether your mailing had the result you were hoping for, or whether it fell flat. You can easily adjust your postcards to do an A/B test, sending multiple versions at one time to find the offer that most effectively converts your customers.

7. Encourage A Conversation

Postcards are a great format for promoting events, as you want lots of visuals and color to encourage people to attend. And, though postcards can be personalized, the format encourages them to be shared in a way that a letter wouldn’t be. A postcard may be viewed by multiple members in one household, increasing the reach of your message and generating a conversation.

At Paw Print & Mail, we’re specialists in direct mail marketing strategies and fulfillment. Contact us today to enhance your direct mail marketing strategy.

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The Best Way to Add Value to Your Direct Mail

Personalizing our direct mail letters and envelopes shows potential clients we have experience working with experts in their field.

Direct Mail [Still] Works

When you reflect on the different ways to get your message in front of your intended audience, you may be thinking about marketing emails, social media strategy, or hosting an event. All of these are essential to a well-rounded marketing plan, but a piece is missing. You’re forgetting direct mail.

“Snail mail,” as it’s often called, may not seem like it fits in with the technology-driven world of the internet in which many of us communicate. But direct mail has proven itself as a vital piece of any marketing strategy. Consider the following statistics:

  • 56 percent of consumers believe print is the most trustworthy form of marketing
  • 59 percent of U.S. consumers like to get mail from brands regarding new products
  • 40 percent of consumers will try a new business after receiving a direct mail piece

While direct mail is most effective as part of a multi-channel marketing approach, it holds real potential for boosting your business. One thing that helps direct mail stand out is the personal touch it can bring. Here’s another statistic: 70 percent of Americans believe that mail is more personal than the internet. With so much competition for consumers’ attentions, you need a way to show consumers that you value them as distinct individuals and can satisfy their individual needs.

Personalizing your mail changes the emphasis of your campaigns from what your company does to who the consumer is and how your company can fulfill the consumer’s needs. Your goal is to make a connection with the recipient, whether you are contacting them for the first time or are maintaining an existing relationship.

Personalization Techniques

In an InfoTrends Growth Survey, 55 percent of respondents said personalization of a mail piece increases the likelihood that they will open it. If your goal is to get your message in front of more consumers, your strategy should include personalization. While it takes time to segment your mailing list and create more specific content, you’re going to see an increased rate of recipients opening and acting on your mail piece—a significant return on investment.

One of the most basic ways to personalize a direct mail piece is to use each recipient’s name, in the salutation (i.e., Dear Bob) and throughout the piece. This is a good start, and names should certainly be used over addresses such as “Dear Friend” or “Dear Supporter.” These aren’t wrong, but the less personalized your mail piece is, the less likely the consumer will be to open and to act on it. General terms like “friend” are inclusive, but in the sense that the recipient is one of many, rather than a specific individual that you wanted to reach out to.

Depending on how much you know about the members of your mailing list, you can customize your mail pieces to be as specific as you want. For prospective customers, the information you have will vary based on what you’ve managed to gather, but you can at least segment your list by geographic location.

If you’re mailing to current customers, you can draw from information such as past purchases or how long it’s been since they’ve placed an order. This will affect both the type of mail you send to them as well as the wording and content of the mail piece. In one example, Target sent personalized direct mail to a group of customers who had spent over a certain amount on their Target credit card and included coupons based on their purchase history. Target saw a 50 percent increase in response over non-personalized campaigns they had run in the past. Having the data to be able to identify distinct groups to target can have a big advantage for your marketing strategy and generate more sales.

The end of a direct mail piece offers a final way to personalize the piece. Thinking in terms of a letter format, have the letter be from an individual at your company, and have them sign the letters for a personal touch.


Research shows that one of the most important parts of a sales or fundraising letter is the P.S. Very often people will look at the opening of the piece, then turn to the back to see what the offer is. If there’s a P.S. there, they’ll often read it before anything else.

So make sure you always put an appealing P.S. that reiterates the most important points of your sales pitch. Remember, you want every part of your piece to work hard for you. Make sure your P.S. is doing everything it can to convert the sale.

Envelope Tips

Another way to bring personalization into your mailing is to hand address envelopes. This may be ineffective for bulk mailings, but if you have a smaller mailing and can take the time, hand written envelopes could be the personal touch that encourages a consumer to open your mail piece.

Envelopes are important to consider for any mailing, and you may want to give some thought to the appearance of your envelopes if you are using them for your direct mail piece. Traditionally, window envelopes have been used for mail like bills. Using them for your marketing mail can have different effects: because they appear like a bill, these pieces are almost guaranteed to be opened; however, the recipient may be unhappy if they perceive your use of the envelope as a deception.

You can also make your direct mail more interesting by creating a teaser, an image or phrase to print on your envelopes. The hard work you’ve done to personalize your direct mail piece will be lost if the mail is unopened, so your envelope has to be enticing enough for the recipient to become curious about what’s inside. A teaser could include your logo, and it should suggest what is inside without revealing too much or falsely representing what the recipient will find if they open the envelope.

As with any marketing strategy, you’ll want to test different approaches to personalizing your direct mail campaigns. The basic tenet of incorporating personalization in your direct mail pieces is to show value. Including aspects that are personal to a recipient will give them the sense that you value them as a unique customer.  By using your direct mail to speak to consumers’ individual needs, you are also helping to show the value your business can hold for the consumer, giving them a reason to look for you for their next investment in goods or services.

Direct mail services are a big part of what we do at Paw Print & Mail. Contact us today to make your next direct mail piece the best yet.


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The Effectiveness of Multi-Channel Marketing

Mail_vs_Email_Paw_Print_And_MailSince the emergent use of email in the mid-1990’s, much has been expressed and practiced comparing traditional direct mail to email marketing. Dubbed snail mail, the ensuing years have seen a decline in direct mail and a corresponding explosion of the use of email.

This is no wonder given the ease of deploying email. With a couple of extra clicks, you can increase your reach from only one recipient to hundreds or even thousands. It may seem like email campaigns are the most efficient method of reaching your audience—wide ranging and instantaneous.

While the use of email marketing is compelling and both popular and effective in its own right, it suffers a bit from its own success. And while direct mail is not as prevalent as it was for decades, its inherent differences and qualities compared to email find it making a comeback.

Would it surprise you to learn the average lifespan of an email is only two seconds? According to Proactive, a UK marketing firm, while digital communications have a lifetime of mere seconds, the average lifespan of a direct mail piece is 17 days.

And, Proactive found that 75 percent of people could recall a brand directly after receiving a piece of direct mail, while only 44 percent of people could after viewing a digital ad. Consider, too, that prospects are 10 to 20 percent more likely to convert to a brand or business due to a direct mail offer than an offer by email.

Additional research from the Direct Marketing Association shows the value of including direct mail in your campaigns. They found…

  • Direct mail is acted upon immediately by 79 percent of consumers
  • Direct mail generates a 4.4 percent response rate
  • And it has a 34 percent rate of attracting new customers


  • Email is acted upon immediately by 45 percent of consumers
  • Email generates a .12 percent response rate
  • Email has a 24 percent rate of attracting new customers

Yet, email marketing continues to grow in use and numbers, due to its ease of use, low cost, and expansive reach potential… all very compelling for sure. But all this meteoric success comes with a price: 70 percent of those surveyed by Proactive felt they received too many emails, and 57 percent of abandoned email addresses are due to users receiving email overload on those accounts. You don’t want a potential customer to remember you as the company that sent them too many emails.

As for email’s reputation of being a low cost medium, surprisingly, email was found to be more expensive per lead than direct mail ($55.24 vs $51.40); however, the return on investment, or ROI, for email is higher for email marketing. For every $1 spent in an email campaign, Proactive found a return of $38 to the company, with a $7 ROI per $1 spent for direct mail.

This highlights the different ways that email and direct mail can work. Direct mail has a lower ROI, but it is less expensive to acquire a new customer. Proactive’s survey takers used the words “important,” “formal,” and “personal” to describe their feelings about direct mail.

“Personal” is a word you should take note of. Making a personal connection with a potential customer can set your strategy apart from the crowd. And if it’s your first interaction with them, that connection can make a big difference between the customer deciding whether to build a relationship with you or pass you by.

How do you think the survey-takers described email? The above statistics show that direct mail has many positive aspects, and if you’ve come to view email from an either/or perspective, you might think “impersonal” or “unimportant.”

But, some of the most common words associated with email were: “informative,” “interesting,” and “smart.”

What should you take away from this? It’s “smart” to keep email as a part of your marketing strategy, using direct mail to connect with new customers and email to reinforce that connection and keep the interest in your company alive.

Direct mail and email both have an important role to play.

Customers in the survey agreed there is a need for both forms of communication. Items such as brochures/catalogs, welcome packs and loyalty rewards are preferred in mail form, while general news and updates, confirmation messages and reminder messages are best received by email.

Because customers react differently to different forms of communication, it’s important to use direct mail and email in conjunction with each other. Of those surveyed by Proactive, 51 percent preferred the combination of mail and email, and 65 percent want to be able to explore a physical and an electronic source before making a commitment or purchase.

And when a business uses direct mail and email to market their products or services, customers will spend 25 percent more than a marketing strategy that uses just one method or the other.

Proactive found that 56 percent of respondents felt “valued” by direct mail, while only 40 percent felt valued from an email. “Valued” is a world like “personal” that you should keep in mind when developing your marketing strategy. A personal connection can make the customer feel valued, and in turn, your company will be valued by the customer.

Despite statistics that show direct mail is effectively outperforming email in many areas, email can be successful in gaining awareness of your brand and making your other marketing strategies more effective. Both direct mail and email can and should be considered parts of an effective multi-channel marketing mix.

If you want to make direct mail a more compelling part of your marketing strategy, contact Paw Print & Mail so we can help you to maximize your potential.

Direct Mail Marketing, Alpha Romeo Style

Alfa-Romeo-mailing-panelWhat’s the most powerful and effective way to engage your clients and prospects in your marketing message? Speak to them one-on-one. Communicate in such a way that each person you mail to knows, or better yet feels that they are special to you; that you have something to say that they’ll be eager and enthusiastic to hear about.

One of the best ways to do so is by using one simple word… “You”.

The following real-life example and images are used to illustrate just how valuable it is to speak to your target audience when conveying your brand in your sales and marketing messaging.

And by “brand”, I don’t mean just the logo, which is only one graphical representation of your brand; but your BRAND – that special something about your company or organization that defines who you are, what you do, and how you do it. It’s what attracts customers to your company, converts them to customers, and prompts them to spread the word.

I’m a car guy. I am a big fan of sports and performance cars, both vintage and new. Back in the day, I drove a bright yellow 1973 Triumph Spitfire; one of those teeny-tiny British 2-seat roadsters that helped define the classic wind in your hair (when I used to have some) description of top-down motoring. To this day I’m still an enthusiast and enjoy driving cars for more than mere transportation. My current Audi has a manual transmission with a stick shift that for me, is simply fun!

So when this mailer arrived in my mailbox from Berlin City, the local Alfa Romeo dealership for this Italian car manufacturer’s reintroduction into the US market, they had done their homework by identifying me as a member of their target audience – someone with an interest in fun sporty cars.

Let’s breakdown this mailer… Alfa-Romeo-mailing-panel

First, the iconic Alfa logo and branding is front and center on the outside of the mail piece. They don’t design logos like this much anymore.


Alfa-Romeao-Greeting-Paw-Print-and-MailI turn the piece over to find the headline at the top that reads:


This could have easily been written to read: CHECK OUT THE ALL NEW 2017 ALFA ROMEO GIULIA INSIDE; and while I still would have been curious, the actual headline speaks to me by using the word “YOU”.

They also used another very powerful word in this headline… EXPERIENCE. Let’s face it, the fundamental function of a car is transportation; carrying people and things from point A to point B. Any car can do that and for many people, that’s all they need, want, or expect out of a car. But for the driver of a hot Italian red car like this, the point, or more aptly the unique selling proposition, shifts from utility to emotion, and the experience you see, hear, and feel when behind the wheel of this automobile.

Alfa-Romeo-Direct-Mail-Paw-Print-and-MailNext, I open the mailer and the very first thing I notice are the letters VIP – with the “V” creatively crafted using the V-shape of the Giulia’s classic signature Alfa Romeo front grille.

We’ve been trained through language and marketing to put a high value on the letters VIP, and it works every time. Then, right below the VIP is the coupes de grace… the Call-to-ActionSchedule your personal Test Drive Experience, employing an equally influencial derivative of the word “you”… “your”.

Alfa-Romeao-OfferPaw-Print-and-MailYes, there’s more throughout the mailer that visually shows off the car, along with an attractive lease offer, but the REAL call-to-action is the invitation to experience driving this car; because Alfa Romeo and the dealership are pretty confident that once driven, the sales process gets much easier from there.

People buy on emotion

So THIS is a great example of the power and attraction that direct mail has and will continue to have so long as marketers know how to use it and apply direct mail marketing’s three fundamental best practices:

  1. Know your target audience and focus your time and budget on them
  2. Include a compelling offer that speaks to the person and evokes emotion
  3. Design the mail piece to be relevant and attractive to the target audience; integrating personalization and the word “you” whenever appropriate.

For the best experience and results for your direct marketing projects, Contact Paw Print & Mail to discuss your objectives and needs with us.

Direct mail works for Amazon too


I had an unexpected surprise in my mailbox a couple of days ago. Included in my personal mail was an envelope addressed to me from Amazon. I have to admit that this got my immediate attention, putting aside the other mail pieces, curious to see why Amazon was mailing me.

I found myself wondering why this elicited such a strong response. Curiously enough, I think it’s because of the relationship I have built with Amazon that gives their brand a seat at my table. I mean, who hasn’t purchased something on – the quintessential online retailer of “everything”. And, for anyone who’s an Amazon Prime member (that be me), I’m continually impressed by how easy they’ve made buying stuff; to the point where I don’t think much about it; quick search, 1-click checkout, arrival at my door 2 days later.

So notwithstanding Amazon’s association as the quintessential online transaction experience, I’m now holding a piece of mail from the largest digital presence in the universe. And, I suppose, therein lies the power of this particular piece of mail.

  • It’s unexpected
  • It stands out
  • It’s physically in my hands – I’m touching it, inspecting it, and ultimately opening it; something digital cannot do

Amazon-direct-mail-enclosure-Paw-Print-MailI open the envelope and pull out the piece inside that’s a folded enclosure with a little heft to it. On the outside cover of the enclosure is a phrase “Expect more smiles…” I’m intrigued. What could be inside that will bring a smile to my face?

I open the envelope and on the inside of the flap is the phrase Amazon-direct-mail-Paw-Print-Mail-VT…in unexpected places.

So, not only am I looking forward to something that will make me smile, but it contains something I’m not expecting; in other words… I’m about to experience a nice surprise!

I quickly see that this mailing is about my Amazon Rewards Visa card. THUD!! All this buildup for a credit card solicitation? Yes and no. Yes, it’s about my credit card, but no, it’s not a solicitation but rather an announcement of expanded benefits. Whew… all good!

Amazon-direct-mail-Paw-Print-VermontThe next thing I see is the cover letter which quickly grabs my attention and keeps this mailing from crashing and burning by succinctly and clearly announcing to me the special benefits and rewards upgrades to my Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card. AND, because I’m an Amazon Prime member, these additional benefits are automatic… no action required!! (these words evoke a similar pleasure to the word FREE!)

Shuffling through the balance of the enclosures, I find a colorful travel benefits brochure, a handy FAQ sheet, and lastly, a sheet of legalese about the Amazon Rewards Program (this IS a financial services notice after all).

What are some of the key takeaways here that you and I, as a business owner/manager and marketer, might apply in our own efforts?

1. Relationship is everything. Over the past few years, I’ve established a consumer, business, and lifestyle relationship with Amazon. (along with AMEX, Audible, South Burlington Audi, Skirack, Pandora, Target Marketing and Road & Track Magazines, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Nespresso, Motley Fool, and the local nonprofits I support – to name a few) I’ve become part of these brands’ target market so that when they knock on my door, I open it. Huge.

2. Identify, connect with, and nurture your target audience. Again… relationship. Your target audience and client base is your most valuable asset .

3. Approach your target audience how they prefer to be reached. In this example, it’s direct mail. What I’m real curious about for this campaign is what other channels, if any, Amazon used to connect with the various age ranges of their target audience.

  • Was this entirely a direct mail campaign or were other channels employed?
  • Did I receive this by mail because of my age? (let’s just say I watched the Beatles United States debut on the Ed Sullivan show in real time)
  • Did their millennial members receive the same mail piece or contacted digitally?

I don’t know, but I do know direct mail works for me and others similar to me in their target audience.

As for younger folks, ongoing studies and data reveal that Millennial’s are surprisingly responsive to direct mail as well. InfoTrends research found that:

  • 63% of Millennial’s who responded to a direct mail piece within a three month period actually made a purchase
  • 25% of 25-34 year olds say they opened direct mail because of the print and image quality
  • 25% of Millennial’s consider reading direct mail a leisure activity

4. Looks count. The look and feel of the mail piece can make or break a direct marketing campaign. Relevance, interest, and clarity of design are essential to make the instant connection that’s needed for success.

5. Content is the Holy Grail. You’ve only got a brief moment to engage the recipient or not. The focus of the content must to:

  • Tell the recipient what you do or why you’re contacting them – be specific and clear
  • Sell benefits not features and why the benefits are important to them
  • Provide an action device or call-to-action

Paw Print & Mail specializes in direct mail marketing and nonprofit appeal campaign production. Contact us to discuss your next project to maximize your response rate and ROI.

Direct Mail Newsletters – worth sending (again)

Direct-Mail-is-PersonalI met with one of my nonprofit clients today for our annual first quarter review of the fundraising production services we performed for this organization in 2016, and also to get an idea of the results of their fundraising efforts.

The Executive Director announced with much pride and a big smile that 2016 was a very successful year for their fundraising efforts; generously exceeding the goal they set at the beginning of the year! Music to my ears!

What’s the secret sauce?

When asked what they attributed to their success, her response was being in front of their constituency on a regular basis. For the past four years, in addition to the various digital marketing channels they employ, this organization committed to printing and mailing 3-4 newsletter-style publications per year to tell their stories and engage with their clients and donors.

Slow and steady wins the race

Similarly, two of my longest running for-profit clients in Paw Prints’ 26 years so far, continue to print and mail their monthly newsletters without fail; for the past 20+ years and running.

Why do these and other organizations and businesses elect to print and mail a newsletter instead of relying solely on email? Because direct mail works for their business model and client base.

While good for some, is a direct mail newsletter right for your business or organization? Like many marketing strategies, the answer is it depends. It depends on who your ideal client/donor is.

Describe your target audience?

  • What are the demographics of your target audience? Criteria such as: age, income, education, occupation, lifestyle, client buying/donor giving history
  • What is your product or service? Small or low-priced consumer item? Large ticket item? Discretionary income item?
  • What is the lifetime value of a client?
  • Do you sell a value-added product or service, or a commodity?
  • Is the product space you’re in subject to constant and/or rapid change? Or subject to nuanced consistency?
  • What percentage of your revenue is derived from what percentage of your client base?

Looking at these criteria:

  • If you derive 80% of your revenue from 20% of your clients/donors
  • If you sell a high-value product or service
  • If the lifetime value of acquiring and retaining a client is relatively high
  • If your offering or organizational mission is somehow unique, technical, progressive, personalized, and subject to changes in the marketplace
  • If 80% of your target audience fits within a content-engaged demographic profile
  • If your target audience is engaged with the story you have to tell

… Then adding a direct mail newsletter to your marketing or fundraising mix is something to consider. Yes, you can handle all this with an email newsletter, and you should, but including a printed and mailed newsletter as part of a multi-channel approach is arguably a most effective strategy.

Quick reads for busy people

I’m a sucker for good content on the internet; for all the things I’m interested in and wish to accomplish in my personal and professional life. And, there is no lack of amazing content on every conceivable subject from smart people all over the globe.

So I subscribe, and subscribe again, and subscribe some more thinking that “it’s only a short read” and that I’ll get to every one of them. But reality and practicality is a different story! Even my most relevant and desirable eNewsletters get readily deleted when I’m crunched with work and projects – which is pretty much most of the time. When I’m staring at a constantly replenished list of emails in my inbox every day, I find my delete button gets quite a workout. Herein lies the bane of email marketing’s existence – along with overzealous spam filters.

People spend 30 minutes reading their mail

If a potential customer spends a few minutes on your website, that’s considered a good amount of time. What if we told you that they spend 10x more time with their mail?

According to the USPS, Americans spend an average of 30 minutes reading their mail on any given occasion. When it comes to magazines, they spend 45 minutes turning the pages.

Email newsletters are inexpensive to publish but increasingly challenging to be read. With a direct mail newsletter, the recipient has to physically lay their hands and eyes on the piece before deciding to read it or not, typically initiated with a quick “skim” of the content. With a captive and relevant design and headlines in place, the benefit of a physical piece is that it can be saved to be read at the recipient’s discretion and time-frame, away from the competition, clutter and chatter of all our digital media.

Physical mail leaves an imprint in the brain

Millward Brown, a research agency, found that physical media left a “deeper footprint” in the brain than digital media did. If people can touch and see a piece of direct mail, they’re likely to be more engaged with it.

A printed newsletter is tactile, triggering more of the 5 senses: touch, sight, and sometimes even smell (ink on paper is classic) that email simply can’t evoke. eNewsletters do the have the advantage of including links, videos, social network connections, etc., which is what makes email so powerful, but on its own, is easily lost or discarded.

People feel that direct mail is more personal than the internet

There’s something about receiving an email that can feel impersonal. It can take a long time for images to load, or they won’t load at all. With so many messages coming into your inbox, it’s hard to feel like any of them are special.

Direct mail, on the other hand, feels personal. According to USPS, 69% of people feel that mail is more personal than the internet. You’re receiving something tangible–like a ‘thank you’ card vs. a ‘thank you’ email.

Today’s digital print technology is impressive in its ability to personalize a document using variable data printing (VDP) applications. Here at Paw Print & Mail, we’ve employed sophisticated levels of VDP for many years, from simple mail-merge to personal URLs (PURLs) that integrate print and digital automation into a campaign that arguably rivals any multi-channel campaign.

Roughly 66% of people have bought something because of direct mail

According to the Direct Mail Association (DMA), nearly two-thirds of people have bought something because of a direct mail piece. Additionally, 70% of customers have re-started a relationship because of direct mail.

So what’s the justification and value proposition for considering direct mail for your newsletter marketing? I’ll bring it back to my nonprofit client’s comment at the beginning of this article… being in front of your constituency on a regular basis. The more ways and the more often you can share your brand and value proposition in a creative and relevant manner to your target audience, the more leads you will generate, deals you’ll convert, and money you will raise. Period. Slow and steady wins the race.

Care to talk more about your particular needs and challenges? Contact us at Paw Print & Mail for a chat.

How to Find More Clients like Your Best Clients

If you could attract and retain more major clients or donors, would that be of interest to you? If you had a way to quantify the traits and preferences of your top clients or donors in a way that helped you find more of the same, would you want to learn more? I suspect your answer to both of these questions is a resounding “yes!”

Target prospects with the most potential

You’ve heard it said, when it comes to direct marketing or fundraising, data is king. Some would argue that “content” is king, and while content is the stuff that brands are made of, if you’re not speaking to the right audience in the first place, your otherwise engagingly great content is falling on deaf ears.

The success of your marketing or fundraising campaign depends in large part on your ability to understand who your current clients or donors are. The Pareto Principle, best known as the 80/20 Rule, tells us that 80% of our sales or donations typically come from 20% of our clients or donors. If this rings true for your company or organization, does it stand to reason that if you could somehow clone your biggest and best clients or donors you’d increase revenue? The more you can zero in on prospects based on what you already know about our current clients, the better the return on your marketing or fundraising campaign investment.

Be smart about profiling your clients

So how do you go about increasing your knowledge of your existing clients or donors to improve your ability to target new prospects? Using the latest in intelligent data mining technology, one of the best methods is to apply a Demographic Overlay on your database or mailing list.

Working in partnership with Paw Print & Mail and our experienced list broker, and applying their standard Demographic Overlay package, we can append up to 21 demographic elements to your mailing list/database records. This information allows us to create a profile of your best clients. You are then able to leverage this information when making marketing decisions or procuring a new prospect or acquisition list rental for your next direct mail and direct response marketing or fundraising campaigns. Using a profile to target your list selections can result in increased response rates, and decreased mailing costs.


  • Get insight into common demographic characteristics of your clients and prospects
  • Identify traits of your best clients
  • Flexibility – append individual or multiple demographic selects and choose to match your files on name and address, or address alone

Some common demographic elements include: Date of Birth (Month and Year), estimated age (in ranges), current home value, dwelling type, fundraising contributor, gender, owner/renter, estimated household income, length of residence, mail order buyers, marital status, median income, children in home, pet owners, gardeners, outdoor enthusiasts, travelers, etc. Typical match rates range from 50 to 70 percent; however this varies based on the quality and accuracy of your house mailing list. Additional elements are also available. Please contact us to discuss your specific project.

Increase your Campaign ROI

Our response-based modeling will deliver reports on your prospects that have the highest probability to make purchases or respond. This intelligent system can compare two groups of data, such as responders and non-responders, renewals and cancels, donors or lapsed donors, or paid and unpaid. By profiling two unique groups, our modeling solutions uncover the highest probability responders, thus dramatically increasing ROI.

Acting on your client preferences

Understanding what makes your clients unique on a key activity like response, renewal, or payment can give your company or organization a competitive advantage. Our comprehensive report helps you learn what motivates your clients or donors and our consultative session gives you insight on how to increase response rates.

Contact us anytime to learn more or to take the next step toward improving your direct marketing results.

How to Create an Email Marketing Campaign

Paw-Print&Mail-lead-generation-email-marketingEmail marketing may seem like something only the big-wigs can afford to do (Apple, Google, eBay, you get the idea), but it can also be very successful for locally-owned businesses. Email marketing is a simple, affordable and effective way of reaching out to customers.

In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association, the average business in 2011 made a $40 return on every $1 investment in email marketing. If your small business is interested in promoting itself through and gaining new customers, check out these tips and steps to creating an email marketing campaign.

1. Choose an email provider
The first step in building an email marketing campaign for your small business is choosing an email marketing service provider to utilize. For best results, it’s better not to use an email platform such as Gmail, Hotmail or Outlook, but rather a company specifically designed to support email marketing campaigns.

Companies which provide email marketing campaign platforms will allow your business to draft and send bulk emails, create and manage your database, offer customizable email templates and even campaign management software. These type of services allow your business to continue to check back on the campaign and follow its return on investment.

2. Build an email list
Next up: build your business’s email list of potential and current customers. Set up a database on your email platform with all of the email addresses available from clients. One easy way to add emails to the list is offering an “Email Signup” link on your company’s website, which will feed straight into your email database.

Another method is by using direct mail marketing to approach clients and prospects with a call-to-action on a postcard or in letter that encourages them to take advantage of your special offer, receive your white-paper or e-book with valuable information they can use, or again, sign up for your online newsletter.

And yet another way to build your email list is by applying all the same tactics via your social media channels and ads to encourage and incentivize your audience to engage.

When promoting your email signup, be sure to include all expectations and benefits customers can have from following campaigns. Items such as “Exclusive offers and promotions” and “A free sample!” are great incentives for clients to see before signing up for your email list.

3. Decide on campaign objectives
Once you have a significant email list of existing and possible clients, decide on any objectives you have for the campaign. Why are you sending the emails? What do you want them to accomplish? How do you want to demonstrate your business to subscribers?

Once you have these questions answered and outlined, and your specific goals established, you can start building your physical campaign, focusing on the specific goals. Outlining your campaign objectives beforehand gives your promotions a clean, crisp and specific purpose that’s easy for customers to see and follow.

4. Draft an email
Now comes the fun part: drafting your email! Many email marketing campaign providers will have templates available for you to choose from for your email, but it’s important to still keep these content tips in mind:

  • Use a strong subject line. The stronger the line, the more likely people are to open the email.
  • Grab their attention. Get your readers interested with an attention-grabbing headline.
  • Remember text/image ratio. Have a good mixture of text and images to keep people’s interest.
  • Emphasize call to action. What do you want your readers to do? Tell them!
  • Personalize it. Try personalizing your emails with the recipient’s name.

5. Send it out
Finally, now comes the time to officially send out your email marketing campaign. Consider the best day of the week to send your emails, best time of the day, most responsive subject lines, how best to personalize your emails, etc. The more practice you have, the more efficient your business will become and the more income you will generate!

When it comes to marketing for your small business, consider an email marketing campaign to engage customers and drive sales. Not only will you save money, but your business will prosper and grow in effect.

Marketing 101: What to Avoid


When marketing for your small business, there’s a number of things you should do. You should hire a designer to do graphic work, you should define your own brand, you should develop a campaign plan and so on and so forth. However, you’re not often told what you shouldn’t do.

The truth is, when it comes to marketing savviness, there’s a variety of practices to definitely avoid. These can be common mistakes or specific scenarios, but they all fall into the category of Marketing 101: WHAT NOT TO DO. If you’re still unsure about what you should avoid while marketing for your small business, check out these top categories.

Lack of Self-Promotion
The idea “My small business doesn’t need any marketing” is a long and archaic concept which should be erased from your brain database indefinitely. The fact is any business wanting to make money should have a marketing and promotion strategy.

You may believe your product or service can speak for itself, and people will naturally come through word of mouth. While this may be partially true, nothing is going to bring in customers more than your own promotion. In other words, your business should sell your business.

Undefined Target Audience
Consider your ideal customer. Someone who fits your business values perfectly, who loves every single product and who would be willing to spend quite a bit of money with your organization. What do they look like? How do they act? How would you define them?

If you’re not sure who your target audience is, develop a plan as soon as possible. An undefined target audience can make your marketing campaigns appear scattered and uncertain, leaving your business looking unorganized and unreliable.

This is particularly applicable to direct mail marketing which carries the investment in graphic design, printing & mailing production services, and postage. Direct mail can be very effective as part of a multi-channel marketing mix when mailing to a targeted audience.

Social Media Ignorance
There’s no way around it: social media is here to stay. That means if you want your business to stay, then social media marketing needs to be a staple. Help your organization out by avoiding social media ignorance.

This means creating a Facebook page for your business, and depending on your target audience, a Twitter or Instagram as well. Not only will you be meeting your customers on a more personal level, but you gain free promotion and increased search engine rankings.

Aggressive Email Blasts
If your small business utilizes email marketing, wonderful. Keep it up! According to, email marketing for mid-size businesses offers a 246% return on investment. However, make sure to be careful about how the emails go out.

An unregulated email blast to all of your subscribers can leave customers feeling more isolated than engaged, and before you know it you have consumers leaving your list. Practice audience segmentation of topics and avoid overdoing timely emails.

False Promises
Above all, when marketing for your small business, avoid making any false promises to customers or clients. False promises can negatively affect your company’s response rate by clients and brand affinity.

For example, if you advertise fast and effective service but fail to treat customers in the same way, potential clients will be unconvinced your business can come through for them. When developing a marketing plan, be clear and concise, while avoiding any confusion or falsity.

Marketing is an important part of any small business plan, so make sure to take it under careful consideration. Decide on what your marketing strategy should consist of, but be reminded of what it shouldn’t as well. Then you can be certain of your business success.