Choosing the best way to communicate with your community is vital. Did you know the average American receives over 600 emails a week? Yet, less than 20% of these emails are even opened. Let’s contrast that with direct mail, which has a 90% open rate, with the average American only receiving around 16 pieces a week. This is just on average. This article will learn how you can double or triple your response rate and ROI while also potentially saving thousands on your next direct mail campaign by using data.
As mentioned, we will be talking about direct mail, specifically “targeted” direct mail in the church. By “targeted,” we simply mean being very intentional about who receives the direct mail. To understand how to best target our direct mail, we need first to understand “Mosaics.” If you recall from previous articles, Mosaics are a demography segmentation system developed by credit agencies. Essentially what they have done is divided every American household into 71 different groups (Mosaic Types) based on the hundreds of data points they know about us. In the corporate world, this is used strictly for marketing purposes and in determining a target audience. What organizations like MissionInsite have done is overlayed additional data on top of each of these Mosaics so you can get a much better understanding of who is in your church and community with insights into church, religious, and ministry preferences – as well as things like receptivity to direct mail.
Now that we understand Mosaics, we can begin getting more targeted with our direct mail for our next campaign. Traditionally in the church, the common strategy for a direct mail campaign is to just blanket mail every household within a particular radius of the church. Not only is this strategy not very effective, but it is also poor stewardship of resources. Direct mail is not cheap – easily costing at least $1/household once you account for postage, printing, design, addresses, etc. This is why it is important to do a targeted campaign. By using tools like MissionInsite to understand the Mosaics in your community you will be able to quickly identify which households are receptive to direct mail and which are not. Once you have narrowed your target to the Mosaic households in your community that are direct mail receptive, you can easily purchase a list of all the households in your area that fall under that Mosaic through MissionInsite.
Now that you have your targeted list you will be able to start customizing the messaging on the direct mail pieces, especially for the households you are targeting. We call these “SmartCards.” We mentioned earlier that there are vast amounts of data behind each of these Mosaics, so utilizing this data to best position your church in a way that is appealing to the person reading it will produce the best results. Depending on the Mosaic you are targeting this might look like a postcard with an image of your high-quality worship experience, a personalized letter from the pastor, or an image of your church congregation gathering outside the sanctuary. Each Mosaic type will have different preferences and will be looking for different things in the church they choose to attend. By highlighting these on your direct mail piece, you can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your next campaign.
Let’s use the example below to illustrate the ROI (financially) between a Traditional Direct Mail Campaign and a Targeted Direct Mail Campaign. Please note that this is just the financial ROI – it does not account for brand awareness, “Spiritual ROI,” or other factors.
Households Reached: 10,000
Financial ROI: 40% or $4000
You can see in this example we have a loss of $6000. A typical return for the 1st mailer in a traditional campaign is 40%. This is actually up from the 32% return we saw before Covid-19. However, strictly financially speaking, you are losing money on this campaign.
Targeted Households Reached: 10,000
Financial ROI: 120% or $12,000
Notice the dramatic increase in ROI for the targeted campaign. This is because we are only mailing to households that are direct mail receptive. Each Mosaic is different but many of these households can easily be 3x more receptive than the average American household captured in the traditional campaign. Furthermore, this targeting does not even consider the additional ROI expected from customizing your messaging on the mailers to your audience.
The great thing about this is we now have additional income that we can then put into a new direct mail campaign or even a digital campaign to target those households that were not receptive to direct mail but, instead, may be receptive to digital media. My next article will focus on just that, how to create a targeted digital campaign.
If you would like help using targeted direct mail on your next campaign, I am glad to provide consulting services through ACST to help grow your church and better understand and reach your community.
For more resources on MissionInsite, please visit Church Growth.
Andrew is the founder of Kingdom Analytics, a company that has served over 300+ organizations doing good in the world by helping better connect them to their community, congregation, or customers using advanced demography research. He also has experience in the church world working for the largest high school ministry in the country at North Point Community Church. Andrew graduated from Arizona State University with degrees in Design Management and Tourism Development and is CITI certified in Social and Behavioral Research.