Many marketers struggle with how to increase their direct mail response rates year over year. There can be many reasons for falling response, such as the offer, the creative or the list.
Many marketers struggle with how to increase their direct mail response rates, year over year.
There can be many reasons for falling response, such as the offer, the creative or the list. Sometimes, it’s because the lead attribution is unclear. Because many customers travel through varying channels before purchase, it can be hard to know where they originated.
So with ever-increasing pressure to stay out in front of current marketing trends, it becomes very important to validate the use of direct mail.
Therefore, we need to find ways to continue to increase direct mail responses.
3 Ways to Increase Direct Mail Response Rates
- List — The first place to look to increase your responses is your list. This is your most valuable asset. Hopefully, you have maintained a good clean list that you can rely on to be accurate. If so, you are able to glean a lot of information about who your customers are and what offers will interest them. The most effective way to target offers to the right people is with variable data on your mail pieces. This will create unique pieces, with not only variable offers, but also corresponding images. It is not enough to personalize the piece with just a name; you need to target your messaging and offer to each person through the use of variable data.
- Offer — Your offer drives people to respond. When you get a lackluster response to a mail campaign, you need to look at what offers you used and who you sent them to. Start by looking at the wording of each offer. Are they too long or confusing? Did you provide a good incentive? Is the offer easy to find on the mail piece? You want your offer to be simple, concise and relevant to each person. Create some new offers on your next campaign to test which offers get the most response.
- Creative — Before anyone actually reads your mail piece, they make a decision on whether to read it or to throw it away. Your creative design matters. The images you choose are very important, as they convey your message before anyone reads what you have to say. The wrong images have a big impact on response. Have you made any changes to your creative design recently? What formats have you tried before? Sometimes, just changing from a postcard to a letter in an envelope can help you increase responses. You can test different formats at the same time. Create curiosity about your mail piece and do something different. You may be surprised by your results when you change things up.
These are by no means the only factors that contribute to direct mail response rates; they are, however, the three most important ones. Yes, timing matters; but in many cases, that is out of your control, anyway. So focus on what you can control and create the best direct mail pieces for each of your customers and prospects. Your mail service provider can look over what you have been sending and any new ideas you have in order to help you find the best fit for you and your customers/prospects.
Direct mail response attribution can be a challenge; but if your direct mail results really matter, you can find ways to track customers, even with omnichannel experiences. How, you ask? The easiest way is to provide different offers for different channels. You can then track exactly which offer was responded to and what channel they chose. Just keep in mind that most people who get direct mail pieces are going to make a purchase online. So be prepared. Are you ready to get started?
We are in challenging marketing times. Every dollar spent matters, and in direct mail there are a lot of dollars spent. They are worth it when you are getting good results, but many times that is not the case. The problem is not with the direct mail channel, but rather with your mail campaign.
We are in challenging marketing times. Every dollar spent matters, and in direct mail there are a lot of dollars spent. They are worth it when you are getting good results, but many times that is not the case. The problem is not with the direct mail channel, but rather with your mail campaign. So what really matters in 2018 to make your direct mail campaigns a success? Let’s take a look.
What matters? These seven elements:
- Time — The time you spend to create your mail pieces; audience and message make all the difference. Many times timelines are cut short so steps are rushed through and not carefully thought out. This can cause a bunch of problems that can either cost you more money or responses, either way you lose out. Purposely block out time dedicated to making the best mail campaigns possible.
- Myopia — Many times the problem with a mail campaign is the wrong focus. Your messaging list and design all need to work together to drive response. When your team cannot see the forest through the trees they are creating messaging that is not going to appeal to your audience. This will cost you responses. Focus on the benefits to your audience, this means you need to know them well, not just assume that you do.
- Innovation — Today’s direct mail needs to stand out. What worked yesterday will not work tomorrow. Have you tried to innovate your mail pieces to stand out? There are many tools you can use from technology to folds or special coatings. You want to integrate with your messaging, so you need to carefully consider what will enhance your message and drive response.
- Inspiration — Many times inspiration is lacking in mail campaigns. From lackluster design to poorly worded copy. You cannot inspire response without a great mail piece. Sending the mail piece to all the right contacts does not matter if your message does not resonate and your design does not generate interest. Your piece just became trash. Consider testing your design and copy with a couple of key customers who are willing to give you feedback. What they say may surprise you.
- Adaptability — As your customers change you change your products and services, but are you changing your mail campaigns? You need to adapt to what your prospects and customers want and need. Very targeted messaging can help you generate a better response rate. Beyond messaging though, you need to adapt your design, too. Change is a good thing and can lead to more responses.
- Brand — Many times a mail piece does not perform well because of a conflict between your messaging and your brand. Who your company is and what it stands for needs to mesh with your design and messaging on your direct mail pieces. When there is a conflict in the mind of your prospect or customer, they are not going to buy from you.
- Degeneration — Overtime a direct mail campaign can degenerate if it’s continually done the same way. Constant vigilance to changes in your audience, your product and the culture in general need to drive changes in your direct mail. The world is changing at a faster and faster pace, you need to change, too. Declining response is a big indicator that your campaign is degenerating. Start your process all over again to refresh creative design, copy and your list segmentation.
Your direct mail results can and should be better. Each of these seven elements can directly affect your results. Take a good look at what you have been doing along with your team to see if there are changes you can make to improve your results. Sometimes the smallest change can make all the difference in how your audience perceives your offer. Remember to track your results as you make changes to see what is working and where you can improve. In 2018, you can have the best direct mail results you have ever had if you make a real effort to do so. Are you ready to get started?