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Leveraging Direct Mail Personalization Techniques For Your Program

Jaime McQueen Jaime McQueen Marketing Director

The Association of National Advertisers announced “personalization” as the 2019 marketing word of the year.  In this age of continuous connection, donors are being subconsciously groomed by the “Amazon Effect” to expect 24-7, seamless,  predictive interactions with companies and nonprofits alike. Having a thoughtful, well-mapped out donor journey that includes personalization has quickly become a critical evolutionary step for direct mail programs to continue thriving into the future. If it feels overwhelming, don’t fret – we can help you get started! 

As technology in the print and mail industry continues to evolve, there are many new and innovative techniques and capabilities making personalization easier and more cost-effective. Our team is robustly experienced in digital printing, variable data printing, data segmentation, inkjet personalization and other such emerging methodologies.  That deep, knowledge bench coupled with our unique strategic vantage point allows us to make recommendations that make sense for your program and budget. 

Here are some tips on how to get started with personalization:

  • Data hygiene:  One of your first steps is to have a data file that allows the information to be mined and output for mail processing. Ensure you clean your data on a consistent basis, and closely coordinate with your caging partner to ensure that your donors’ updated preferences are being honored. Also, be sure to cross-reference your file regularly to remove deceased donors.  
  • Minimize your costs: When initially trying personalization, you can try a lower-cost option on for size, such as personalizing one aspect of your package.  For example, you can personalize just the letter, but use a large window on your envelope that allows the donor to experience the personalization before they open the outer envelope, thus encouraging higher open rates.  
  • Localization:  One of the easiest and most popular personalization techniques is to highlight the city/state/locality in which your constituents live. For example, you can lead with a message like “you’ve been selected from the state of…”.  You can also personalize your outer envelope with their state flag, bird or flower. The sky’s the limit! 
  • Be thoughtful:  It’s critical to execute personalization in a thoughtful manner that is in alignment with a greater communication plan, otherwise you run the risk of presenting your brand as inauthentic to your donors. Donors and users are both growing increasingly suspicious of data collection, so be sensitive to their concerns about privacy. Have a different communication plan for donors who have willingly shared information with you versus information acquired from a third party regarding their metadata, past giving history or their spending habits. 

Our team of experts can help you make decisions as you continue to develop and refine personalization techniques, and set you up for continued success.  Contact us today to schedule a time to discuss how you can leverage these powerful tools within your program.

About the Author

Jaime McQueen
Jaime McQueen Marketing Director

With over 11 years in the marketing and advertising industry, Jaime is an experienced marketing professional. Her background in product management, digital marketing, web design and development, print production, project management and sales along with her unique blend of strategic, technical, business and creative acuity positions her to problem solve with a multi-faceted approach. She has a demonstrated history of building long-lasting, productive relationships, driving results and leading from her seat each and every day.

Jaime has served as a PS team member since 2018. She telecommutes full-time from Virginia Beach, Virginia. She loves to spend time with her husband, Troy, their beagle, and rotating herd of rescue cats. Jaime is a proud board member of her local United Way Young Philanthropist Chapter and volunteers as a member of the Bridge Conference Marketing Committee. She has also served passionately with pet rescue work since she was a small child with her mother who instilled in her a deep love for animals. In her free time she loves to spend time at the oceanfront, ride her beach cruiser, try new recipes and play in her garden. Her favorite quote is from the great Audrey Hepburn, “to plant a a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”