Direct Mail is the Foundation for Effective Membership Marketing

As we deploy new and exciting marketing channels, it is often good to step back to be sure that we are not forgetting about the tried and true performers.  That’s why I found an article by Kevin Mills, the Director of Membership for the National Legal Defense Association, a good reminder.

In the April issue of Marketing Advents, Mills wrote a piece titled, Direct Mail: The Foundation for Marketing Success.  “With more than 15 years of experience developing marketing strategies to increase membership and member benefits,” Mills says, “I have the most confidence in direct mail … Direct mail provides legitimacy to our organization and its cause, and provides the vehicle for email and social media campaigns to be successful. Again, using other marketing tools is obviously a necessity in today’s technology-driven culture.  But, in laying the foundation for marketing success, the results are best when we put together a comprehensive marketing strategy that begins with direct mail.”

He adds “that even our younger customers are responding to our direct mail efforts.”

Mills conclusions were confirmed in the results from the soon to be released 2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report.  Organizations that used direct mail in renewal efforts were more likely to have renewal rates of over 80%, have increased membership in the past year, and have increased or maintained their annual renewal rates.  Additionally associations with 20,000 or more members affirmed that direct mail was their single most effective marketing channel for membership recruitment.

What’s the bottom line?  In my experience, working with nearly 100 individual and trade associations over the years, direct mail remains an effective and scalable channel to help organizations get and keep members.  Used properly, it is highly targetable, track able, and affordable.  If it is not in your marketing portfolio of tools, it probably should be given a try.

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