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How To Do a Mailing

Posted by Matt Postiff February 7, 2012 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Church 

Direct mailings are not a panacea marketing solution for churches. They lack a personal connection with the recipient, but they can serve well to introduce a church to a large part of the population in a city. That is what we wanted to do late last year.

We did one mailing a couple of summers back that did not turn out very well, as far as cost and response. So we did a bit more research and made a better attempt the second time. This is far from a "best practices" document, but here are some things we found.

Step 1. Decide on what size piece you will use in your mailing. We decided on a 9x6 inch card, with color printing on both sides. There is such a dizzying array of possibilities as far as size of the piece and postage costs that it is helpful to just pick a size and run with it. This reduces the universe of possibilities to a manageable size.

Step 2. You need to get a sample card layout that will help you know how much space you actually have. You can contact me for a PDF file sample, or obtain one from your mailing service provider.

Step 3. It is important to think about your target audience in your crafting of the mailing to them. We decided that we wanted to let new movers know about the church. This told our mailing list provider how to extract data from their databases, and it guided us as to what to write on the mailing. If we were mailing to new college students, the mailing would look different. Of it it was a saturation mailing, to every address on many routes in the city, that would look different as well.

Step 4. Once the size and layout is settled, along with the target audience, you can begin to figure out what will go on the card. We designed the text and features of the mailing with all of the above things in mind.

Step 5. We decided to have the design of the card done "in house" because we have some talented people in that area. You might not. Likely your mailing service provider can provide help, or recommend someone who can. After several iterations using Photoshop, and going back and forth on the exact dimensions of where the address and stamp and so forth would go, we had a complete design.

Step 6. Decide how many you can print/mail. Our mailing service provider could tell us the cost to print X number of cards, and how much the mailing and postage fees would be. We went back and forth with them before settling on printing and mailing 10,000 cards. This number fit our budget. The total per piece price (print, mailing list, and postage) was 22.4 cents per card.

We thought that was a very reasonable cost given the number of homes we would be able to reach. We could not walk to that many homes in a reasonable amount of time using the volunteers in our small church. Beside the problem of limited resources, door-to-door work in our area (and in much of our American situation) has been ruined by the cults. We believe that we have to be more creative about reaching folks and the mailing was one way to do it.

The mailing was sent in November of 2011. Did we see any results? Frankly, not many. Some folks contacted us with address information that was bad. This was itself an opportunity to have an interaction with those folks. One person on an anti-junk-mail crusade contacted us, so we had an opportunity to minister to that person through correspondence. We are not aware of anyone who has come to the church through the mailing. But then again, this was the first attempt. Mailing has to be done consistently and regularly for it to have an impact in a community.

We plan to use mailings again in the future to keep our community aware of our ministry and to get the gospel into many homes. We have a Great Commission responsibility to do what we can with the resources God has given us, and this is one way among others for us to discharge that responsibility. Lots of personal invitations and flyers in common gathering places in Ann Arbor are other ways we use to reach the community.

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