Most fundraising professionals have reaped the benefits of events for years. Whether it be the education, healthcare, or nonprofit space, the value of visibility and interpersonal interaction at events is undeniable.
Thanks to COVID-19, many organizations are struggling1 from both a donor acquisition and revenue perspective due to the loss of in-person events. While some events have been cancelled or postponed, still more have switched to a virtual format instead.
It might seem counter-intuitive to state that direct mail pairs well with a virtual event. How could a perceived “basic” tactic like direct mail compliment a highly sophisticated online gathering?
Here are three ways to use direct mail for virtual events:
Use direct mail to send special offers to attendees
Events are the perfect time to engage or re-engage donors with a little extra TLC.
While donors are at home looking forward to their daily walk to the mailbox, it makes sense to utilize direct mail in the wake of a virtual event. Sending a pre-event checklist that donors can hang in their home office or a special promo code2 postcard are some simple and budget-friendly options.
Use direct mail as an extra touch point
One of the current weak spots of a virtual events is, quite simply, the competition. While attending a virtual event has many pro’s, the biggest con in this climate is over-saturation.
Using direct mail as an additional touch point can help break up some of the virtual clutter and overall fatigue.3 Consider sending a personalized direct mail invite or save the date, just like you would an in-person event (example here).
Use direct mail for appointment setting
Appointment setting is a hugely popular practice of sending an offer to attendees before the event in attempts to connect with them at the show. Usually there is some kind of special offer being teased at the booth or an opportunity to speak to an expert in person.
Direct mail can still be used for virtual event appointment setting. Provide attendees the opportunity to speak with you in a one-on-one chat room. You can also send them a special code to enter your booth prize drawing.4
In short, events may be more complicated for the foreseeable future, but that does not mean they have to be overly difficult. Virtual events exclude more traditional logistical challenges and costs, such as paying for airfare and hotels. Adding the ease and proven track record of direct mail to your event strategy is sure to prove successful.
If you like this post, check out our guest blog spot with the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce on how direct mail can cut through the virtual noise in 2020.
2 = Impact
4 = Event Marketer