Marketing managers at small and medium businesses all have a big common question when it comes to direct mail marketing: how do you know if it’s really working? Measuring effectiveness of marketing campaigns is equally as important as getting those campaigns out in the first place, and it’s imperative to have a plan in place for quantifying the value of your efforts and making sure that your mailers aren’t going straight into the recycling bin. After all, that’s not just money down the drain — it’s opportunity down the drain, too.
The way you measure the effectiveness of your direct mail marketing campaign is different than you would a digital ad campaign. (Sorry, no Google Analytics equivalent in the print world — what a bummer.)
And while it takes a little bit of creativity, it’s pretty easy to do. Here are four ways to track and measure how well direct mail is working for your brand, as well as particular measures of success you should be looking for.
1. Include a custom, trackable URL
Put a unique URL on your mailers that link recipients to a landing page built specifically for your direct mail campaign. You can even take this a step further and include a personalized URL (known as a PURL) that’s further customized for each person—for example: yourwebsite.com/john-doe.
Many marketing automation platforms can help you create PURLs automatically.
A URL gives you deep insight into the effectiveness of your direct mail marketing because it’s easily trackable. Use the same analytics tools you use to measure other elements of your site to figure out how many people are seeking out further information from your mailer by visiting your URL.
2. Include a trackable phone number
Track leads with a unique phone number created specifically for your direct mail marketing campaign. There are a couple ways to do this. You can work with a third-party call tracking company, which can set you up with toll-free numbers to track and record incoming calls related to your campaign.
Or, you can do it the old-fashioned way by tracking the calls manually on your end. Create a toll-free number advertised only on your campaign’s mailers and then record how many calls come through. (Use a local area code instead of an 800 number, since recipients may find it more trustworthy.) If you’d rather use an existing line, make sure you make it easy to tell which calls are coming in as a result of the campaign. A simple “mention this mailer to receive a discount on your next XYZ” will usually suffice.
3. Include an exclusive coupon code or offer
If your direct mail marketing is centered around a specific deal or promotion, you can easily track its effectiveness by measuring how many people redeem the offer. This is a pretty versatile method, since you can allow recipients to redeem in a range of ways, including online, by phone, and in person, all of which can be tracked by seeing how many times the offer is used.
If offers are redeemable by coupon code, use codes that are either unique to the campaign or unique to each recipient, depending on how specific you’d like to get with your tracking. You can even create coupon codes specific to particular regions or demographics.
4. Include a QR code
QR codes are barcodes that can be read by a smartphone’s camera to automatically direct a direct mail recipient to a targeted (and trackable) URL built for your print ad campaign.
Make it clear what the purpose of the QR code is. “Scan the code for more information” or “Scan the code to access the deal” are both effective ways to let people know what it’s there for. And since QR codes are mobile-based, be sure the destination landing page is mobile-friendly as well.
Did It Work? Measures of Success for Direct Mail Marketing
Knowing how to measure the effectiveness of your direct mail marketing is only half the battle — you also have to know what exactly you’re measuring for. The key indicators of a successful print marketing campaign vary slightly depending on your brand’s goals and objectives, but should encompass one or more of the qualifiers below.
Response rate. Your response rate is the total number of people who respond to your call of action, either by contacting you, redeeming a promotion, or visiting your campaign’s landing page. Direct mail has an average response rate of 4.4% compared to email’s response rate of 0.12%, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).
Cost per action. Take the total amount you spent on your direct mail marketing campaign and divide it by the qualifier you want to measure. To determine cost per new customer, for example, divide the total amount spent by the number of new customers you gained as a result of the mailers. You could also calculate the cost per response rate, dividing the amount spent on the campaign by the total number of direct responses you received.
Direct mail versus other marketing efforts. Once you’ve tallied up how well your direct mail campaign performed in terms of responses and costs, you can then measure it against other marketing campaigns that you’ve run to evaluate how effective both the method of advertising and the campaign itself were. Compare it to other print campaigns as well as digital campaigns for the clearest picture of its strengths and weaknesses.
The effectiveness of direct mail marketing, like the effectiveness of all marketing activities, ultimately comes down to ROI. You want to be sure that what you invested in your campaign was worth it in terms of responses and sales. Measure it correctly and you should have no trouble seeing if your mailers did a good job for your brand.
If you want to know more about how to get started with a direct mail campaign, check out our Direct Mail Secrets or give one of our direct mail consultants a call. PFL can help you build a successful direct mail campaign, from concept to delivery we can do it all.
Need help with your print? Talk to a live print expert today: 800-930-7978.