I got another one today – It was a hard copy newsletter from a local nonprofit. Eight pages filled with clip art, stretched type, lots of boxes and a whole wagon full of words. Straight from the desktop revolution of the 1980s. “We don’t need a designer; we can do it ourselves. We just bought a shiny new computer for the office.”
It was painful to flip through, but not for the reasons you are expecting me to spill forth. It was painful because the message was wrong for the medium.
Announcements, event reminders, and general updates are better suited for email where one can scan through and click to read more. Am I suggesting that mailing is a waste of time? No, I am suggesting that all communication needs to be periodically examined to determine what resources to use, and where. Electronic communication costs are so low that you can increase frequency (the magic in marketing). Print resources can be combined to deliver more impact and inspiration and, since frequency is accomplished through electronic communication, you can mail to a smaller, more engaged audience.
What if the nonprofit stopped sending four newsletters and used the pooled resources to create one excellent piece that inspired me to get involved? Something that would make the nonprofit’s mission so real that I’d share it with others and tell them to visit their website. Then when my friends visit the website, they would likely sign up for the nonprofit’s email newsletter because a generous donor is making a donation for every email subscriber. The site would even offer to send them a copy of the excellent piece if they would make a small donation to cover the production costs and help the cause. You’ll notice that your prospecting list just got a whole lot bigger, your new donors list had a huge spike, and the nonprofit got a lot more buzz and attention.
Of course you could just keep sending me the paper newsletter, but I am not going to open it anymore. It is just too painful to see you waste your resources.