Longer is Still Better in Direct Mail

With apologies to those who are fans of brevity, in direct mail—much like for fine wine enjoyers, “Stairway to Heaven” listeners, and “Game of Thrones” readers—longer is still better.

Granted this seems to go against the times we live in.  Communication mediums like Twitter and Facebook that are at the forefront of society’s daily information gathering have proven the effectiveness of short communications.  For many in this brave new world of instant information, longer forms of communications like newspapers and magazines might as well be a single-spaced, font size 8 version of Dante’s “The Divine Comedy.”

So why is this different for direct mail?

Introductory direct mail pieces (relationship-building letters as Tom Ahern would say) need the room to build a compelling case. Two pages is usually not enough to provide a must read narrative and include all pertinent data, let alone portray the need and convey the urgency that will cause a donor to give.

When it comes to cultivating long-term donors or encouraging higher dollar gifts, it’s also important to take as much time as you need to make the case for why a reader should give.

But even with all of that, why would we recommend a longer letter when it’s been well documented that a reader is only likely to scan the letter quickly?  Because if what they see at first glance makes them think they may want to give, they will want to read more.

In the end, longer letters work in many situations because they allow more opportunities to connect with the reader and convince potential donors that NOW is the unique moment in time to give.

Whether you are introducing new donors to all of the great work your organization does or cultivating strong donors with details on what their support helps accomplish, MORE compelling copy is, more often than not, better than less.

– Posted by Kurt Thurber

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *