Small Business Marketing Tips

Three Things that Affect Direct Mail Response Rate

Despite the perception that digital marketing outperforms direct mail, that is not always the case, according to the latest advertising research.  

 In fact, direct mail boasts a response rate ranging from 2.9 percent for business lists to 5.3 percent for residential lists, compared to email marketing’s average response rate of 0.6 percent.  And it performs even better when compared to online display ads. If you do direct mail properly, you’ll likely be very pleased with your response rates. 

The reason direct mail has a higher response rate could be related to the fact that consumers are continually bombarded by digital messages they don’t want. Direct mail translates into less clutter. Also, people still tend to trust direct mail more than digital. That’s why many advertisers today continue to use this classic marketing channel. 

 Here are the three things that affect direct mail response rate:

  1. Right market – Be sure you have a good, clean mailing list and that you are sending to names in the right market (in the right industry and the right job titles) that have a need for your product or service.
  2. Right offer – Whether you are offering a discount or a free consultation or a random drawing, give careful consideration to this critical component and make sure it ties in with your product and industry.
  3. Creative approach ­– Nothing can kill a good direct mail campaign faster than a poor creative approach. It’s best to hire an ad agency, or at least a professional writer and designer, if you are not trained and experienced in marketing communications.

How do you find out if you are mailing to the right market with the right offer and the right creative approach? You need to conduct a test mailing to find out. And then test again before sending out the full mailing. It’s a little more work up front but it pays off in the long run.

This is not to say direct mail should be used exclusively. In our modern age, digital marketing should be a part of any marketing program. The reason is 70 percent of consumers take the time to learn about the products they’re interested in via content rather than traditional advertising methods. You can reach these consumers via your website, email, social media, online ads and other digital avenues. 

The lesson is that multiple marketing channels should be used.  Direct mail and digital marketing both have their advantages. By combining them, you’ll get the best of both worlds. In fact, almost half of all businesses today use as many as eight marketing channels to interact with their customers.