Having been in the mailing business for over 25 years, we have assisted education establishments with their mailing campaigns on numerous occasions.
If you are mailing regularly you learn from experience, if you are not or it is not your main job role, we have listed a few tips to help guide you on your next campaign.
We have highlighted the Alumni campaign’s as we appreciate; this is not something you do on a daily basis and having had numerous discussions with those responsible for the Alumni campaign we thought the below may help.
Here are a few pointers that may help you plan your campaign:
1. Plastic polywrap or paper envelopes?
Well David Attenborough has answered that one for us. It has to be paper every time, even bio degradable poly wrap can take an age to decompose, whereas paper can get recycled straight away.
2. Maximise the envelope
Utilise the front of the envelope to promote your number 1 message e.g. a fundraiser, a thank you or simply outline the contents inside. On the reverse of the envelope you can have an alternative message and a box for any recipient address changes.
3. Do the maths
If you calculate the cost of producing, packaging and the postage costs to send each item, it will highlight the importance of using the right supplier to ensure your deliverability is 100%.
4. Keep it clean!
… The data that is! Do ensure your list is up to date. As your pack cost price will highlight, the data needs to be as fresh as possible. The stats say data deteriorates at 35% per year, so whether through return envelopes, telemarketing, charging for membership, or other means – it’s important to keep it clean!
(NB ensure your systems records the date of last update, then continually updating the dated records before mailing)
5. Embrace our digital world
With Unique Reference Numbers (URN’s) or membership numbers on the mailings, recipients, can very easily keep their own details up to date. This self-management saves a huge amount of time, work, and expense – with a simple email campaign and landing page they can confirm their details before the mailings are sent and confirm receipt after it. This can be based around incentives to do so, if needed.
6. Keep it simple and make it machinable
If you can avoid any matching of items, use window envelopes and display the address on the letter or correspondence form, it will save a small fortune if you can mechanically fulfil your
campaign. Firstly the envelope needs to be gummed and with sufficient space to fulfil all the items. (I know it sounds basic, but you’d be surprised how often it’s over looked)
Inserts generally need a straight edge to select the mailing pieces (not a z fold). It is important that the printer is given clear instructions to supply flat items.
7. Select the right organisation to help
In the same way a plumber wouldn’t be you’re first choice to fix your car, you should select a mailing house to run your mailing and not a printer, agency, envelope supplier or the plumber! This also goes for the carrier, for UK post, we are Royal Mail all the way and happy to explain why when we speak.
8. Lose weight
The heavier the campaign, the more costly it is. This sounds fairly obvious but there are certain weight breaks; especially on heavier items. So it is good to double check and ensure you haven’t tipped the scales!!
9. Plant a seed
If you put your own and colleagues names and addresses in the data you will see the timing and quality of your campaign. It will also help you prepare for responses as you will know the precise day it lands.
10. Start with the end in mind
There are ways around most things but the sooner the mailing house is in the loop, the smoother and more cost effective your campaign will be. If you work back from the final pack; what it consists of, if it’s all machinable, the desired (if any) order of the inserts, delivery dates, urgency on foreign items, the envelope type being used, how many suppliers (printers) will be delivering in the packs, ensuring they are fit for purpose, packed properly and correct quantities are supplied… in fairness there is more but in essence the message is ‘It’s good to talk’.
I’m sure much of the above you will know but hopefully that helps a little for you to prepare your mailing.
Good luck with it all.
Thanks for taking the time to read this piece on Alumni mailings. If you need any further info or would like to talk to us about your alumni campaigns, feel free to contact us on 0118 474 888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.