A Direct Mail Autopsy

Bob FranquizChurch

Most church direct mail is horrible. Sorry to be so blunt, but it’s true.
In fact, a while ago I received a direct mail piece from a church at my home (which made me happy by the way. I love seeing churches in my community reaching out.), but the piece had so many problems it’s no wonder why it got terrible results.

So let’s do a direct mail autopsy, shall we?

What was wrong with the mailing? There were 5 causes of death in this mail piece…

1. It wasn’t in English – (even though I speak Spanish fluently, English is still my first language). If you’re going to mail in Spanish (or any other language for that matter), you need to narrow your list to those who list that language as their primary language.

2. There were 5 dates on this postcard – The piece was was letting me know the title of every week of the series and the date they would be taught. That’s code for, “Show up whenever you want. There’s no rush.” Instead, give me the big picture of the series, write copy that will pique my curiosity and give me one date for when I need to show up.This will give you much better results.

3. The map was impossible to decipher. I don’t know where you are, so I’ll need some directions. You need a designer to create a simple map. Copy and paste from Google maps isn’t going to cut it.

4. There were 2 denominational references on a 6×9 postcard – One reference, maybe. But two? It seems like a bit much, especially when I’m a pastor and I’ve never even heard of the denomination. Add content only when it’s going to help people in their decision to attend. Eliminate everything else.

5. There was nothing on this postcard that made me want to attend – They didn’t take the time to craft copy that would speak to me. Instead, I got dates and sermon titles that made no sense outside of their series. Yet somehow that is supposed to rouse the masses.

I don’t mean to come off like a movie critic, but it’s criminal for churches invest resources on direct mail, only to do it poorly. If you’re going to do direct mail in an ill-advised way, save yourself the money and don’t do it at all.