Direct mail marketing lesson: “Breakfast with Santa”

santa-big1.gifOne of the many things my Cajun friend does (aside from an occasional interest in LSU football) is help out a cerebral palsy clinic in Opelousas Louisiana with a special event they do every December.

It’s called “Breakfast with Santa“.

He describes it like this:

We have a local cerebral palsy clinic where kids … and adults … can come to get therapy and treatment.

All the funds are donated funds. None of the kids are charged for the services.

Many of the kids who get treatment wouldn’t have it available to them anyplace else.

We put on this “Breakfast with Santa” fundraiser each year. We charge $25 for breakfast and 100% of that $25 goes towards providing therapy for a child.

Local celebrity chefs cook the breakfast, local dignitaries serve the breakfast, everything is donated, 100% goes to the clinic.

Some of the promotion for this event/fundraiser is done by direct mail. Not that boring old direct mail you expect to get from the chamber or United Way every year. No, no, Sparky.

Instead, you get full color envelopes and letters with signature fonts, Santa images, and calls to action on the outside of envelopes. It’s done at a time when most businesses wouldn’t dream of dropping a big mailing, fearing that it’d get lost among the holiday cards. Or they’d use the “people are busy” and similar excuses some business-to-business folks use to avoid marketing their products and services in December (if not November).

The reality is that direct mail in the 6 weeks before Christmas is just as effective then as any other time of year, IF the proper ingredients are in place.

These include a well-crafted letter (offer) and call to action with things to get your attention (color, signature fonts, angled text, photos of the kids being helped).

All these things make the letter stand out from all the inept direct mail crap you get in your box every day – the reasons that most people think direct mail doesn’t work. Those colors, signature fonts, etc are the tools that turn the mailing into what Dan calls ‘A pile’ mail, ie: mail you’re gonna open before you open the bills. If you’re keeping score, “B pile mail” is bills, “C pile” mail is crap that hits the trash can before it even gets opened.

I suggest you send 25 bucks to the clinic if nothing else so you can get the thank you letter, a direct mail (much less web) marketing lesson all by itself (the lesson is the bit of blue text at the bottom). I won’t show it to you here, you’ve gotta earn the right to see it by sending them some cash.

Send your check (made out to the clinic) to:

Breakfast with Santa
Opelousas Area Cerebral Palsy Clinic
PO Box 70
Opelousas, LA 70571-0070

In return, you’ll get a thank you letter that will be well worth the $25, plus you’ll have helped some kids who need it.

Merry Christmas.