Have you ever designed what you thought was a stellar piece of direct mail marketing only to find the response rate to be less than optimal? Direct mail serves a lot of purposes, but ultimately, the goal is a simple one: to get a response. And if you’re not getting a big one, it’s time to rethink your strategy.
Compared to other types of marketing efforts, the direct mail response rate is already one of the best out there. On average, you can expect a reasonable 5.1% of your house list and 2.9% of your prospect list to respond – a significant jump from the 2% response rate you’d get from all your digital efforts (email marketing, paid search, social media, etc.) combined (DMA).
The good news is that if you didn’t get a great response rate, it has less to do with your marketing method itself than the way that you framed it. Direct mail provides businesses with a ton of opportunity to connect and grow, you may just have to tweak how you get there. Here are some tips for getting more out of your direct mail and increasing that all important response rate.
Have a clear and distinct call to action
The call to action (CTA) is one of the most important features of your direct mail. A CTA is a directive of sorts that inspires immediate action on the part of the mail recipient. And it’s often promotional, i.e. “Schedule before January 1 and receive 10% off your next appointment!” or “First 100 people to sign up get a free gift.”
Your exact CTA will depend on what the product or service it is that you’re selling, as well as who your audience is. But regardless of the exact terms, it should have a few key distinct features:
- It should stand out on the page. Whether you’ve sent a postcard or a multi-page brochure, your CTA needs to be clear and obvious to the recipient. Play around with placement, font size, color, and more to ensure that your CTA pops off the page.
- It should be actionable. A good CTA encourages the recipient to act fast. Direct mail is highly effective, but it’s also time-sensitive – if your lead isn’t inspired to act now, they may not act at all.
- It shouldn’t be too general. You’ve got to give something to get something. If your CTA is broad and doesn’t offer anything to the recipient – for example, “Call now to learn more!” – they’re not going to have any incentive to follow through. Making your CTA promotional is a way to offer the recipient value in return for their response.
A piece of direct mail can be informative and well-designed, but if it’s lacking a strong CTA you’re missing out on a major component of high response rates. More than anything else, you should be optimizing your CTA if you want to increase the amount of responses that you receive.
Make it personal
Your recipients are more apt to connect with a piece of mail that is personalized to them and their needs. Seventy-seven percent of individuals who responded to a USPS survey said that personalization in the direct mail they receive is very important to them (PRIMIR). In another survey, 29.2% of respondents said that they’re much more likely to open and read personalized direct mail, and 55% said they’re a little bit more likely (InfoTrends).
You’re not going to get a high direct mail response rate if you don’t get people to look at your mailer in the first place. Include the recipient’s name in the headline and tailor an offer to what you perceive as their specific needs. You can even personalize the images, choosing visuals that are most likely to appeal to the unique demographics your recipient falls under. By making a bigger impression you up your chances of engaging with the recipient and getting a response.
Incorporate digital components
Direct mail and digital mail aren’t completely antithetical. In fact, you can increase your direct mail response rate by including digital directives through a personalized URL (PURL) or a QR code – both of which drive the recipient directly to your website with minimal effort on their part.
We live in a digital world, and it’s not just millennials who are loathe to pick up the phone. Ninety percent of customers visit a company’s website before calling or emailing them (Huffington Post). A recipient visiting your site is both a response in itself and a precursor to further engagement. And using PURLs and QR codes to get them there – instead of just offering a broad direction such as “visit us at xyz.com” – allows you to track who follows through and monitor their behavior once they get there.
When including digital aspects in your direct mail, be sure to specifically note where they lead. Context matters, and a recipient might not want to follow through on a PURL or QR code if they don’t know where it’s going to take them. A good way to increase the efficacy of these digital components is to tie them in to your CTA. “Follow the link to claim your $10 off” is almost always going to more effective than simply “Follow the link.”
Focus on existing customers
Obviously you want to use your direct mail campaign to drive new business to your company, but if you’re neglecting your existing customer base you’re doing yourself a major disservice. You have about a 60% to 70% chance of selling to an existing customer, and just a 5% to 20% chance of selling to a new prospect (Invesp). So if you’re dealing with a low response rate, it might be who you’re marketing to – not how – that is to blame.
One of the major benefits of focusing your direct mail on your current client base is that you already know what they’re interested in. Use that information to help further your personalization efforts, offering information and promotions that will appeal to them. Don’t neglect un-converted leads entirely (this isn’t an all or nothing approach), but do tap into your existing base of customers for insight on how you can better connect.
Your direct mail can – and should – do more for you. Talk to a print expert today to learn more about how to increase your direct mail response rate and start turning a bigger ROI on your mail campaigns. And if you’re just getting started, call us at 800-930-7978 to get started with direct mail printing.