Engaging Potential Students Through Fun (And Educational!) Direct Mail
Getting “real mail” is almost like opening a present. When you open your mailbox and see that you have more than just bills and coupons, it gives you a tiny thrill.
Although getting mail from an organization or business may not be as exciting as real mail from a friend or family member, it doesn’t mean it can’t be. People actually spend more time with direct mail than they do with email -- about one to five minutes on direct mail versus less than a minute on digital communication, according to the Wall Street Journal.
However, direct mail can still quickly go from a homeowner’s hand into the wastebasket – so as part of Kenowa Hills Public School’s targeted enrollment program, they wanted to ensure theirs stood out. In the case of their recent STEM mailer, we helped them do just that.
The piece delivered potential KH families an enjoyable, “boredom-busting” activity to do over summer break. The focus was on both the children and their parents, so we created a mailer that walked them through an interesting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activity with crisp, catchy graphics and a fun and unusual goal: create a catapult.
Who doesn’t like flinging things at a target during the boring days of summer break?!
One of the challenges was to make sure that this was a project every household would be able to do when they got it in the mail – that prospective families didn’t rip the package open only to find out they didn’t have the materials and either set it aside or throw it away. So, included were the 14 rubber bands needed to complete the project. This way, families would only need to gather the 12 pencils or pens needed to construct the catapult.
In a pile of bills and other mailers, this one stood out. The slim packet was sent in a clear envelope, and the front exclaimed that it was a “SUMMER BOREDOM BUSTER.” At the end of the step-by-step project, information was provided to showcase the innovative school district behind the mailer, highlighting some points of pride about the Knights as well as important back-to-school dates.
This particular STEM activity was chosen because it was memorable, entertaining, and cost-effective. STEM education uses hands-on, real-life situations to encourage students to be creative and tap into their critical thinking skills. Elements of STEM exist everywhere, and the number of jobs in this sector are only continuing to grow. By including a STEM activity, the mailer signaled to parents that the school district offers relevant and exciting learning opportunities.
In addition, the mailer was not cost prohibitive at approximately $2 per mailer, plus the cost of postage.
This mailer was just one of three targeted mailers for Kenowa Hills sent during their January through August enrollment period. These efforts specifically targeted families that had children living in the Kenowa Hills district who attended a different school. Through the enrollment program, we located the target households for them and sent the mailers to roughly 2,000 of the 10,000 households in the district.
For whatever reasons, the target families were not sending their children to Kenowa Hills, and this mailer offered a glimpse of what changing that decision could look like. By making the project fresh and fun, the entire family could interact with the mailer and walk away thinking about the school district behind it: an innovative public school invested in its students -- even potential ones.
This relevant, eye-catching, and engaging piece is helping the district drum up enrollment, proving that direct mail doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can even be exciting!