5 Reasons Direct Mail Works to Promote Your Conference

Published by Steve Manicor | Topics: Associations, Print, Training

  • Pin It
  • Pin It

With shrinking budgets, green initiatives and the ease of email marketing, some meeting planners have all but abandoned direct mail initiatives to promote their events. But direct mail plays an important role in reaching your potential attendees, and we’ve collected 5 reasons to add it back into the mix.

1. Email Doesn’t Reach Everyone

Studies estimate that an email blast only reaches about 30% of your intended audience due to spam filters, outdated email addresses and the general challenge of getting people to open your emails. Plus, few organizations have emails addresses for every potential attendee.

A well-designed direct mail piece has a much larger delivery rate, and if the intended recipient has changed jobs, your piece will probably end up on the desk of his replacement, unlike invalid email addresses that bounce back.

“I absolutely believe that there is still a need for direct marketing pieces. We have seen that our registration significantly rises when people receive our direct mail pieces for events, ” states Amy Eldridge, Events Director, Ohio Association for the Education of Young Children (OAEYC).

2. Everybody Emails

Email marketing can be fairly low-cost and easy to produce… that’s why it’s so popular. But that’s the problem: everyone’s doing it. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to design an email promoting your conference that can compete with the dozens, perhaps hundreds of other promotional emails that hit your invitee’s inbox EVERY day.

Amy Eldridge (OAEYC) says, “Obviously electronic pieces are more economical and can be quickly produced, but not everyone responds to an email like they do with an actual piece of literature.” She also indicated, “As hard as it is to comprehend, not everyone is connected in cyberspace,” referring to the effectiveness of direct mail and the use of social technologies.

3. Your Direct Mail Piece Can Stand Out

According to Terrance Barkan, CAE, Chief Strategist and Business architect for GlobalStrat, the volume of direct mail has slowed in the past few years. This is great news for meeting planners who promote events. “The reduction in the use of direct mail by many organizations means that direct mail has a chance of standing out again in a less crowded mailbox,” Barkan said.

4. Direct Mail Appeals to Different Senses

Marketing experts have long recognized the strengths of having an actual object in a prospect’s hands. Adding the tactile experience to your message will help your response rate. In addition, according to an article in B2B magazine, “When it comes to lead generation, don’t fail. Mail,” Russell Kern (a direct mail guru) indicates, “Prospects responding to direct mail are 10% to 20% more likely to convert to a marketing-qualified lead than their online counterparts.”

5. Direct Mail Has Options for Every Budget

Traditional direct mail marketing for a conference might include a save-the-date postcard, exhibitor prospectus, sponsor brochures, an advance conference program plus perhaps a letter campaign and more. But savvy meeting managers can reduce direct mail marketing costs by modifying their mail and cutting down on printing, postage and paper use. Instead of printing and mailing large volume programs, create a modified version of your advance program or conference brochure. Highlight the key event topics in an 8-page flyer or even a postcard, and provide a link to your website. You can cut postage costs in half by reducing a page count from 32 to 12.

There is no one solution for marketing your event.

We have found that integrating a mix of direct mail, emails, tweets, blogs and phone calls works best for Omnipress.

Be sure to read Mac McIntosh’s article, “Event promotion techniques that really work.” There’s a good section on direct mail and which type of copy is most effective.

Omnipress can conveniently print and mail most any pre-event marketing program, brochure or flyer. View samples and learn more.


About Steve Manicor

Steve is Omnipress' Director of Business Development. He has over five years serving the meetings and training industry. He leads our product/service leadership and development teams. ...read more

Tags: , , , , ,



June 4th, 2009Jodi Ray says:

If you are not already taking advantage of nonprofit postage rates, I encourage you to take a look at applying for qualification as the savings is pretty significant:



June 5th, 2009Jodi Ray says:

And save lots of money by scrubbing your mail lists!!!

Typically a mail house with postal software has to do the address list cleansing, but this may be of some help-it’s from the UPS site:

Take Steps To Clean Up Address Lists
Does your list have them? Troublesome addresses you just can’t figure out?

The decisions you make about address quality directly affect your ability to reach valued customers. Cost-effective and timely delivery of every mailpiece depends on an accurate address containing complete and correct address elements. Here are steps you can take now to improve or correct your addresses:
Communicate with your vendors.
Process your address list using CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) ZIP+4, DPV and LACSLink address-matching software.
Identify problem addresses.
Resolve problem addresses.
“LACSLink and DPV, working in conjunction with CASS Certified software, benefit both mailers and the Postal Service,” says Rick Arvonio, manager of Product Management. “These tools help mailers identify problem addresses that are undeliverable as addressed, and that saves postage and processing costs for mailers while reducing processing and delivery costs for the Postal Service.”

The Postal Service offers Address Element Correction (AEC) and AEC II as solutions for addresses that CASS Certified software can’t resolve. AEC uses enhanced computer logic to focus on inaccurate addresses, specifically those deliverable addresses that can’t be matched to a ZIP+4 Code using commercially available CASS Certified address-matching software.

When AEC is unable to resolve addresses, AEC II is the next logical step in the address element correction process. With AEC II, still-unresolved addresses are submitted electronically to delivery offices using the electronic Unresolved Address Resolution System. Delivery unit personnel can correct or identify undeliverable records through Delivery Force Knowledge — in other words, the personal knowledge of our carriers and clerks.

AEC fees are based on the total number of records submitted. AEC II processing fees are calculated on the number of resolved records returned to the customer.

For more information on how AEC II can help you with troublesome addresses, contact the National Customer Support Center at 800-238-3150 or aec@usps.gov.


September 24th, 2009Amy E says:

I wanted to follow up on your blog article that I contributed to… I can confirm that my statements are true.

I knew they were but never really tracked how much attendance increases after mailing a piece. I have been planning a workshop for my association this summer. In efforts to save money we decided not do a direct mail piece and thought we would just promote our event through e-marketing efforts. We figured that the content was a hot topic and we would get more than enough attendees through e-marketing and posting info on our website. After two weeks our numbers were low and we thought about actually canceling the event. This workshop is our second “Members Only” workshop. We thought that we were not getting attendees because it was a members only event. We decided not to cancel the workshop and change the date to a later date. I convinced my Executive Director that we needed to do a direct mail piece and to find money in our budget.

I did a simple economical post card and it was sent out last week. As a result of the post card our attendance has spiked over 50% prior to the mailing.

Now that’s RESULTS!

Twitter: chrisuschan


September 30th, 2009Printed Conference Brochure Saves Event says:

[…] Amy E said… I wanted to follow up on your blog article that I contributed to… I can… […]


[…] appears every time is the major increase experienced when communicating with prospects via both direct mail and email when both contact forms exist. Standalone emails and mail-only campaigns produce positive […]


April 12th, 2010Mary Stocke says:

Thanks a lot! That was very informational, I just Dugg your website.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge