Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions How to Harness Direct Mailings for Outreach

How to Harness Direct Mailings for Outreach

The number of potential ways that church leaders can communicate with their people can be staggering at times. Email blasts, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your own website, billboards, flyers, postcards, smoke signals, pony express — the list this goes on and on!

In the midst of all those channels, I’m still a big believer in well-done direct mail being an effective part of the mix of tools used to communicate to your people. According to a recent study done by the USPS, 98 percent of people bring in their mail the day it’s delivered, and 77 percent sort through it immediately.  

When was the last time your people sorted through all their emails? How many social media status updates go unread simply because people weren’t online the moment you posted it?

In an increasingly “digital” world, old-fashioned direct mail has an increased value as a tool churches should leverage. People have moved their communication to online channels, so often it’s only bills arriving in their mailboxes. This creates an “urgency” for people to sort through the mail — and you get to insert the “positive message” of your church adjacent to the “negative message” of all those bills! Context is a powerful way to focus people on what you are saying.

Here are some more benefits of well-executed direct mail being a part of your strategy:

1. Tangible

Your mailing takes up space in the homes of the people you’re sending it to. How can you design it in such a way that it will linger for a while rather than just end up in trash? What “space” can you design the piece to occupy once it arrives? Are you sending them a few invite cards for your next series and asking them to keep them in their car as a tool to invite friends? Is it a fridge magnet reminding your parents about the important dates in the student ministry?

2. Targeted

Your database tells you a lot about the people in your church. Rather than just “broadcasting” the same message to everyone, you can leverage that data to send different people different direct mail pieces. You can send a letter to people who you know were in a small group last semester asking them if they will be attending again this coming semester, while at the same time mailing people who aren’t in a group information on how to get plugged into one. Leverage the fact that you can focus your pieces to wide variety of audiences in your church.

3. Cost Effective

Every church leader is looking for ways to stretch their communication dollars farther. Start by sending a series of postcards to your people which are pennies to print and deliver. In comparison to other forms of “advertising,” this is an inexpensive way to get the message out. The economies of scale are nice with direct mail as well — generally, the more you print the less expensive each piece is to print and send!

Where have you seen direct mail used effectively in a church communications strategy? 

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Rich serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. He blogs at UnSeminary.com and is a sought after speaker and consultant on multisite, pastoral productivity and communications.