How to Increase Direct Mail Response Rates: Top 10 Tips

Despite all the chatter around digital marketing, direct mail still offers higher response rates. The more cluttered customers’ in-boxes become, the more they appreciate (and respond to!) something tactile.

But how can you tell if your direct mail campaign is working? And if it isn’t, what’s the best way to boost results and justify your investment?

How to Calculate Direct Mail Response Rate

In direct mail marketing, these actions are considered “responses”:

  • Web site visits
  • Phone calls
  • Online and in-store purchases
  • Social media engagement
  • E-mail and/or newsletter sign ups

Total the number of responses and divide the sum by the quantity mailed.

For example:

500 responses divided by 10,000 pieces mailed = 0.05.

Multiply this number by 100 to calculate your response rate percentage: 0.05 x 100 = 5%

What Is the Average Response Rate for Direct Mail?

The average response rate for a direct mail campaign is about 5%. If that figure seems low, remember the average response rate for digital marketing is <1%! 

10 Tips to Increase Your Direct Mail Response Rates

Don’t despair if your direct mail response rate is less than 5%. Sometimes a few key tweaks can make a BIG difference:

1. Segment Your Audience

It’s vital your direct mail piece reaches customers who can actually benefit from your product, service or cause. Few businesses offer products and services everyone uses, so it’s critical to segment. In addition, segmenting your mailing list enables you to connect with your audience on a more personal level, using targeted language and special offers.
Try segmenting your audience by:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Location
  • Spending habits
  • Values, interests and lifestyle

2. Ensure a Clean & Updated Mailing List

An accurate, targeted mailing list ensures your message reaches the right audience and generates the best response. Outdated, inaccurate or generic lists waste money and lead to missed opportunities.  

Here are the most common types of mailing lists:

  • EDDM: Best for businesses and campaigns where location drives sales and engagement.
  • Consumer Mailing Lists: For companies who require specific targeting, such as age, gender, income, home value and/or shopping habits.
  • Specialty Mailing Lists: Great for reaching a more segmented consumer group, like doctors, dentists, political donors, churches or school districts.

After purchasing a mailing list, don’t forget to check addresses, purchase history and other key data points routinely.

3. Personalize Your Message

Personalization goes a long way toward building brand loyalty and increasing response rates. Here’s how:

  • Address customers by first and last name
  • Use language and imagery reflecting their interests and demographic
  • Emphasize your location
  • Reference their past purchasing history
  • Send follow-up correspondence

4. Craft Compelling Content

Your mailer should clearly and concisely explain the value of your business or product and include a strong call to action. Keep your CTA brief (two to five words max) and use action-oriented language to build a sense of urgency.

Don’t forget to proofread for spelling and correct phone numbers, Web and street addresses. Test links and phone numbers for accuracy too!

5. Use Eye-Catching Design

Pay careful consideration to the design of your direct mail piece to ensure the best response:

  • Stick to one or two fonts
  • Incorporate your brand’s colors to build recognition
  • Use high-quality stock or custom imagery
  • Experiment with unique packaging, paper or envelope size
  • Include a free gift or sample

6. Provide Multiple Response Channels 

Make it easy for recipients to respond by including:

  • Personalized URL or custom landing page
  • E-mail address
  • Phone Number
  • QR code

7. Leverage a Multichannel Approach

Multichannel marketing targets customers through several channels, including Web sites, physical stores, catalogs, e-mail, text messaging, social media, direct mail and blogging. Reaching customers via their preferred channel helps boost engagement, build brand loyalty and expand your reach.

8. Implement Personalized URLs (PURLs) 

Personalized URLs (also known as PURLs) are custom web addresses created specifically for a campaign. They offer consumers a more personalized experience and make it easier for companies to track leads and collect data.

9. Integrate QR Codes for Engagement

A QR code is a simple but powerful element to add to your direct mail piece. QR codes can be used to link to your Web site, enroll in text messaging, request more information and even submit payments. 

10. Invest in High-Quality Printing 

Using professional, high-quality printing materials shows consumers you care. Remember, your printed piece might be the first encounter customers have with your brand; it’s important to make a good impression.

Increase Your Direct Mail Response Rates with United GMG &
Omni-Bridge 2.0®

Integrating various digital channels into your direct mail campaign requires precision and a data-driven approach. Certain platforms, such as United GMG’s Omni-Bridge 2.0®, do the hard work for you by taking your initial direct mail piece and strategically spreading it across multiple digital platforms. With Omni-Bridge 2.0®, customers who received your direct mail piece will view a digital (ad) version while scrolling through Instagram, Facebook or other Web sites they frequent. This makes it easy to target your customers repeatedly and strategically—without seeming intrusive or redundant. A personalized dashboard measures your campaign’s performance in real time to calculate response by channel.  

Ready to strategize your next direct mail campaign? Contact your United GMG sales rep or calling 312-427-3537.

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