How to Improve Direct Mail Response Rates

If you haven’t already taken notice, direct mail is making a major comeback. In the past, direct mail was one of the most popular ways for businesses to communicate with consumers. But with the proliferation of the Internet, email became the go-to marketing method. However, in modern times, this has left room for nostalgia, and today’s consumers enjoy the concept of getting a piece of snail mail from a company they like or might be interested in. But as you work on your direct mail strategy, you may find yourself struggling with your ROI. To guide you, here are a few tips for improving your direct mail response rates.


Split Test Your Campaign

Marketers often split test their websites, email marketing, and online advertisements. The same strategy should be used with your direct mail campaigns. There are plenty of elements you can split test with direct mail, including postcard copy, design, offers, and even envelope designs. For example, you could create several custom 5×7 envelopes from Envelope Superstore to see which envelope makes a difference.


Of course, the key to split testing is tracking your progress throughout every step of the campaign. You can easily measure your campaign success with trackable codes or unique URLs. For example, you might test one postcard design against another, giving both postcards unique coupon codes. From here, you can quickly determine which was more successful by analyzing conversion numbers.


Create a Great Offer

One of the main reasons you might be struggling to convert your mailing list is because your offer isn’t very good. Every piece of direct mail should incentivize your audience to take action. In the majority of cases, this involves a coupon code. But you should refrain from thinking of a deal and seeing if it sticks. Come up with several potential offers and put a microscope to each. How much does each offer cost the business? What are the margins? What’s the likelihood of repeat deals with the offer? How much incentive do they need to take action?


On the same token, you should think about how you can tie your offer into holiday or event marketing. For example, as a pizza place, you might create a direct mail campaign that centers around the Super Bowl. A boutique ecommerce shop might focus on Black Friday or Christmas. Think about who your core audience is and what events are most appealing to them.


Get Creative

Sometimes, all it takes to boost your direct mail response rates is the ability to get a little creative. For instance, why not opt for a 3D design? The Data Marketing Association found that 3D designs were actually 250% more effective than traditional mailers. Many businesses have successfully created hard-hitting campaigns by going the extra mile with creativity. And furthermore, there are companies that specialize in creating 3D mailing items that spring to life for your target recipients. Depending on your budget and goals, this may be something you could explore for your organization.


Target Your Market Better

Your campaign success is only as good as your mailing list. And with that in mind, it’s important to hone in on your target market. If you don’t already have thorough information about your target market, now’s the time to invest. It’s critical that you don’t make assumptions about your audience—you’d be surprised at what you can learn by conducting proper market research. If you’re not well-versed in research methods, you might want to outsource to a market research firm.


Direct mail allows you to target your list based on several demographics. If you run a brick and mortar store, perhaps geographic location is your primary concern. Otherwise, you can find revealing demographics and target your market segments based on areas like income level, age, or education. As a business with smart notebooks, you might target college students.


Depending on your business and goals, you might even opt to target your existing customers, which may be a good idea if you’re focusing on retention. After all, it’s much easier to keep your existing customers than it is to attract new ones.

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