6 Tips for Direct Mail Success
Did you know direct mail is STILL a great marketing tool for your school? Direct mail is memorable, easy for customers to process, and actually has a better response rate than email marketing. Direct mail is a great way to reach your local families by letting prospective families know about upcoming events such as Open Houses, sharing about your program, or offering exclusive benefits for mailer recipients.
What makes for a good direct mail piece? What can boost your chances for success? Go Montessori has worked on direct mail campaigns for schools all over the country and has sent out over a quarter of a million postcards for our clients. We’ve compiled some of the most important aspects of a direct mail campaign for you to consider prior to your next project.
Proper timing is crucial to any type of marketing program. When using direct mail to drive enrollment, consider the enrollment patterns in your specific geographic region. If your direct mail piece is mailed too early, it will be ignored. If it’s mailed too late, then parents may have already made choices for enrollment. Generally there are three good times throughout the year for promoting your school.
November and December can be effective for reaching parents who are considering a mid-year entrance option in January – especially for toddlers and preschoolers. Be careful with this end-of-year marketing as holiday advertisers and shopping can hurt your efforts.
February – April is generally the most popular time for recruiting new families for fall enrollment. It is also the most likely time that your competition is trying to reach the same families. Be ready to go and don’t miss this boat!
Early Summer is a great time to reach the “procrastinator” families who meant to do their research, but just kept putting it off. When sending mailers at this time, be sure to reassure parents that you still have room for enrollment!
Look & Feel
You never get a second chance at a first impression. The expression is well-known, but it can often be easily overlooked. Many schools skimp on the design of a postcard mailer and discount the importance of a professional look and feel. Your postcard will be competing for attention in the mailbox of your recipients. Give them something interesting, compelling and attractive to look at. Appealing design will more often lead to reading the postcard and thus, exploring your school.
You’re a school, so you should write well – that’s a given. Create an effective tagline or headline for your postcard. Also, remember to demystify and tone down the “Montessori” speak for those unfamiliar with the vocabulary. Let’s bring people in the door first, and then start educating them about the wonders of the Montessori philosophy. Consider what features of your school separate you from your competition. Maybe you have a fantastic new natural playground or you offer a pre-toddlers class for the youngest of students. Those are great things to mention (and show) on your mailer. Finally, practice the concept “Less is More”. Entice parents call your school or attend an open house where you can show them all the details of what your school has to offer.
The only thing more important than what you send is WHO you send it to. You chose direct mail so that you could reach a specific group of people in a specific area. Spend time considering and researching geography, income levels, ages of children in the home, etc. There are a variety of list brokers that can help you with your list. Go Montessori also has impressive contracts in place and can acquire mailing lists for your school at far below retail prices.
Call to Action
Give your recipients a reason to call, visit your web site, or attend an open house. Typical “call to actions” might include, discounted (limited time) registration, a free book given out at an open house, or other similar incentives.
You’ve created and sent out a great direct mail piece. Before that happens you should have a plan in place for responding to families that contact the school. Make sure you have somebody available to pick up the telephone or quickly answer an email. Have succinct information about the school and your next open house available and ALWAYS collect names and contact information whenever possible. Be sure that your website is up-to-date and has contact information easily found. This way you can follow-up with something in the mail, email, or a telephone call.
Ready to get your next direct mail campaign started? Contact us now for a free quote!