A Feast of Revenue and Response Opportunities
February 21, 2020   Dave Lewis

Unlike many folks, I love to grocery shop.  No, getting a bag of potatoes or a package of paper towels is not that exciting, but what I really like is choosing meals.  These days at our local Wegman’s, and many more like it, they have premade meals ready to pop in the oven or throw on the grill.  No, these aren’t the frozen TV dinners of my youth – these are fresh ingredients, seasoned and combined, with cooking direction attached.  Sure, I suppose I could make a crab-stuffed chicken breast with rosemary fingerling potatoes and asparagus myself – but why?  Wegman’s has it packed and ready and perfectly seasoned.  Easy to make, no waste, and not too many dishes to wash!  Yum! Yes, I’m going somewhere with this… We are seeing an increasing number of clients taking a similar approach to packaging mail tracking and Informed Delivery – particularly in the fundraising world.  They’ll take a mailing and track it, of course.  But then they’ll ad an Informed Delivery ad with a donation page link, and they will add inbound tracking of their reply mail (BRE or RAE) so they can get immediate feedback on response.  It’s super easy, and adds a lot of value to mailing services.  And because our Informed Delivery and response tracking are fixed price – not based on quantity – they‘re easy to budget and add a fair margin to.  So, our resellers and agencies are able to offer a delicious tracking and marketing meal, with help and directions attached.  And no dirty dishes! Not everybody likes chicken, and not everybody does tracking and ID the same way.  Here are a couple of simple variations/choices:
  • On inbound tracking, you can print the same tracking IMb on all of your reply envelopes forever and ever, so you can get volume discount by buying a year’s worth. The downside is that you won’t get response information linked to a particular mailing, but you will always know how many responses to expect overall.  Some customers change that IMb once a year, or use one code for acquisitions, another for renewals.
  • Some customers use a different IMb for each job, or even each split. That way they can see how each version is doing in near real-time.  Just be sure your mailing vendor uses the right envelope version for each job/split.
  • For Informed Delivery campaigns, some nonprofits run the same ride-along ad with a link to their donation page for a month at a time for all of their mailings. They can use a representative image or not.  You may be able to save some costs by using a predetermined range of IMb sequence numbers for a month’s mail.
  • To represent or not – should you use a representative image? Frankly, we have no idea – every offer and cause is unique – but we know how to find out.  Run two test panels – one with a representative image, one without.  Use a different inbound IMb on the reply envelope for each panel.  Day by day you can see how many clicks and mailed responses you got on each version.  Pick a winner, or test some more.
So, there are some of the direct mail dinner options you can offer your customers.  It’s a lot faster and easier to interpret than waiting for reports from you caging company.  If some of them sound a little complicated, they’re not after one of our professional project managers walks you through the process. And don’t worry – we’ll get the dishes.  Contact us to start your own campaigns!