Online communications have never been better.
Not to geek out or anything, but it’s an exciting time to be an environmental copywriter.
Online communications today means you can push your message on any number of social media sites, and each one will reach a different audience. No longer do we have to rely on old mailing lists or wait for people to self-select.
It also means you can try different methods of connecting for just a fraction of the cost of old-fashioned mail. Although I personally almost never watch videos online, this proves to be a generational issue (and makes me admit a bit to my age). Video sales messaging is fast becoming an important tool, one you shouldn’t dismiss lightly.
For people like me, there’s so many other options for internalizing the important stories.
There’s infographics for people who like information in short, bite-sized, picture format.
There’s case studies for people who like a story with a lesson.
There’s long-form, heart-wrenching fundraising emails.
There’s short, emotionally powerful emails that encourage you to click-through.
There’s e-newsletters for your solid supporters.
I could go on.
But here’s the thing… I expect to see you all over my online life. I’m not surprised when I open an email appeal or overly grateful when I come across a useful how-to article.
But…there’s one method that somehow doesn’t show up regularly in my life.
And that’s mail.
I mean, real mail. Mail that shows up in my mailbox.
Mail that I grab, that I run my fingers over as I flip through bills and junk mail. Mail that I set aside to read later when I dump the rest in the trash. Mail that tempts me as it perches colorfully on the kitchen counter.
And even though I don’t get a lot of mail, the direct-mail business is stronger than ever.
But here’s my reality.
I’m seeded on literally dozens of e-newsletters and social media pages for environmental organizations and green businesses. I do this partly to keep up with the environmental news and partly to keep up with marketing methods these organizations are testing and using consistently.
But only a small handful – five or less – show up in my mailbox.
My secret confession… These are the organizations that have somehow wiggled their way not just into my heart, but also my wallet.
Perhaps I’m simply admitting that I’m the kind of person that still responds to hard-copy communications. And maybe not everyone does.
But I do. And I’m not so unique as to assume I’m the only one. So here’s my plea.
Environmental organizations…Don’t forget about people like me.
I get ridiculous joy out of your article-shares on Facebook, your pity remarks on Twitter, your beautiful images on Pinterest and Instagram.
But reading your fundraising appeal while I hold part of your organizations’s efforts directly in my hands seems to do it for me.
And another secret? The organizations that always get my money send me at least one piece of marketing that is simply informational: a how-to, a newsletter, the highlights from their annual report. Then, twice a year or so, they send me a fundraising letter. And when I get both together? Forget about it. I’m racing to my checkbook so I can be one of the first to get that swag before they run out.
Bottom line… don’t forget about those of us who like to read things on paper. Invest in finding their mailing addresses and sending them something in the mail.
One day, not far from now, you’ll enter their lives in an old-fashioned, unexpected way.
And that just might do the trick.