Campaign Metrics

How to Understand & Improve Your Print Mail Campaigns

We’ve said it before – direct mail is a powerful tool. Whether you’re trying to connect with Gen Z or Baby Boomers, almost anyone and everyone can be persuaded by its effectiveness, if well-executed. So, how do you determine if your direct mail campaign is working? Let’s discuss some measurements of direct mail success…

Response Rate

Direct mail response rate is, simply stated, the percentage of people who respond to physical mail pieces (which could be postcards, letters, flyers, dimensional mail, and so on). Responses could come from things like website visits through QR codes or URLs, business reply cards (BRCs), or even coupon code uses and coupon scans. Response rate can help determine which part(s) of your direct mail marketing campaign are working, and what areas need improvement.

To calculate the direct mail’s response rate, use the formula:

Response Rate = (Responses / Mail Pieces) x 100

Let’s look at an example of equating response rate. Let’s say you send out 1,000 pieces of mail advertising the grand opening of your new grocery store, and you receive 30 responses. You’d determine your response rate using the following formula:

(30 responses / 1000 pieces of mail) x 100 = 3%

Keep in mind, the average response rate of direct mail falls between 2.7% and 4.4%, so don’t be deterred by seemingly “low” numbers. To best ensure you’ll be able to calculate and understand response rates, make sure each direct mail piece has a clear call-to-action (CTA). Whether that’s a special offer, coupon, or link to a landing page, it’s important to include identifiable URLs that you can easily track – like UTMs, PURLs, or specified QR codes. Or, make sure they can easily respond via a business reply card. This ensures that, even if the recipient doesn’t take full action, you’re aware of whether they made action at all, if you sparked their interest, and if you’ll possibly remain on their radar.

The call to action (CTA) is the driving force behind a successful landing page. It propels users to act, with phrasing such as “don’t miss out”, “learn more”, “click here”, and so on. Landing pages should be designed with a single, concise call to action. Too many calls to action can create confusion, so again – stick to just one powerful, action-oriented verb that leaves no room for ambiguity. What you want the user to do should be simple and clear.

Return on Investment (ROI)

To calculate the direct mail’s return on investment, use the formula:

ROI = (Net Income / Expense) x 100

Let’s say, for example, you spend $5,000 on postcards. You find that the mailing brings in $15,000 in revenue. If you subtract the initial cost of $5,000 from the revenue of $15,000, you’ve made $10,000 in revenue. To calculate ROI in this instance, the equation would be:

($10,000 / $5,000) x 100 = 200%

So, you’d have an ROI of 200%!

And, if you’re looking to get some help calculating ROI, you can plug the above information into USPS’s ROI Calculator.

Conversion Rate

With the inclusion of CTAs in your direct mail pieces, you’ll be able to track conversion rate. Conversions are often purchases – but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, conversions are things like rewards program signups, app downloads, or referral requests. Either way, to determine your conversion rate, look at the number of people who responded to your mail in comparison to those who became customers (or signed up/downloaded the app/requested a referral).

To calculate the direct mail’s conversion rate, use the formula:

Conversion Rate = (Conversions / Responses) x 100

For example, let’s say 30 people responded to your postcard, and out of those 30, 6 people downloaded your company’s mobile app (the conversion in this case).

(6 downloads / 30 responses) x 100 = 20%

Your conversion rate comes to 20%. Plus, you now know which customers to continue to build relationships with and can (likely) turn them into returning customers.

Monetary Return

To determine the monetary return of each of your touchpoints, you’ll need the following information: sale price, number of mailings, response rate, and conversion rate. As noted above, response rate measures the number of recipients who responded to the direct mail piece, while conversion rate takes the percentage of people who converted.

Ways to Increase Campaign Effectiveness

Now that you can calculate your direct mail’s success, how do you increase it? We have a few recommendations to ensure you’re creating and sending ROI rich direct mail.

Tracking & Attribution

Understanding the health of your direct mail campaigns is easier with first-person information. As stated above, when designing your mail pieces, be sure to include QR codes, PURLs, a phone number, or another easy-to-follow CTA. Not only are you establishing trust between the recipient and your brand (by giving them the power to respond on their accord), you’ll also be able to track which recipients (and how many) are responding.

Design Compelling Pieces

It’s no secret that people love good design. It’s important to keep that in mind when crafting your direct mail. Keep your messaging short, sweet, and to the point, while creating a sense of urgency – don’t overflow the piece with too much content. If a piece would look and possibly perform better on a postcard than in a letter format, think through various shapes, sizes, and textures. Most importantly, use market research or previous data (if you have it) to understand and use what your customers best respond to.

Know Your Audience

Understanding the geographics, demographics, as well as psychographic behaviors of your target demographic is imperative to the details of your campaigns. The more information you have on your customers, the better you can reach and speak to them.

For example, let’s again say you’re conducting a grocery store grand-opening campaign. You’re aware your new neighbors are primarily millennials. So, you send postcards announcing the grand opening and include a redeemable coupon (that can be used online via QR code or in-store via postcard scan). Additionally, you include photography that best matches the demographic background of your target recipients. You’ve provided these highly tech-savvy millennials with two ways to access the deal, while still encouraging them, and those less inclined to visit online, to come into the store.

Looking Ahead…

Direct mail continues to provide valuable customer and marketing insights and can be a key player in your multi- and omnichannel campaigns. Even as the digital landscape continues to evolve, heavily due to privacy policies and laws, mail proves to be an effective outlier. And, it’s even more successful if it’s done well. If you’re looking to get started with direct mail, want to discuss the measurements above, or just want to talk more about marketing campaign options and tactics, connect with Strata’s experts today.

From QR Codes to Concise Copy

Direct mail trends can be difficult to forecast, and even harder to use correctly and efficiently. However, you’re in luck, because as direct mail experts, we’re providing you with the top 10 direct mail trends – from QR Codes to concise copy – that have and continue to dominate 2021.

1. QR Codes

In the last few years, QR codes have really built a name for themselves. Not only because of their quick, digital nature, and the 2% postage cost break that comes with them, but because of their data-backed effectiveness. When a QR code is included in a way that makes sense- it provides a time-saving benefit to the customer while letting the company lead their customer exactly where they’d like them to go.

Although the year 2020 was detrimental for most industries and marketing tools, the QR code flourished. During a time where we didn’t want to physically touch anything, QR codes made up for physical marketing pieces like menus, signage, print ads, and flyers, leading customers from physical to digital – and quickly. The more QRs were seen, the more used to them we became (similar to our newfound familiarity with masks and hand sanitizer). And they’re still going strong in 2021.

Like we said, QRs lead customers to wherever a company would like them to go. They can provide helpful information, send the customer to a website, or even lead them to purchase.

2. Postcards on the Rise

Envelopes – they’re great and all, but let’s be honest, they add a few seconds (at least) to the time it takes to open (and read) direct mail. These days, it’s often better to send a postcard due to its more creative, eye-catching nature and faster access to information. Making it easier to read your call-to-action can often make customers more likely to respond to an offer or even visit a website or landing page for more information. Plus, they’re lower in cost – which means a better chance of higher ROI for your campaigns. As you can see below, postcards pushed past self-mailers and envelopes this year by quite a bit.

3. B2B Dimensional Mailers

These fun, three-dimensional, interactive mailers are the perfect way to stand out and cut through the clutter of everyday mail. “On the B2B side, dimensional mail is working well; because we all receive so many packages today, prospects want to open it and see what’s inside,” says Grant Johnson, Owner and CEO of Responsory. Although more costly and demanding in terms of postal handling, dimensional mail has the best B2B response rate at 8.51%. Check out our blog on the best secrets to a successful dimensional mailer campaign to get started on your own.

4. Better Segmentation with Data

“Accessing 1st and 3rd party data to further segment an audience will continue to play a huge role in a DM campaign’s success. If you’re able to align targeted messaging and great creative with those different segments, then that’s a recipe for increased response rates. Furthermore, surrounding that DM send with a similar message/offer through various digital channels will only add to that campaign’s success. Being able to hone in on delivery dates and putting an emphasis on speed to market are big contributors to making a direct mail/digital integration program thrive.”

– Mike Efstathios, Business Development at ICS Corporation

Data, data, data. It’s all everyone can talk about these days – and for good reason. Enriching your data qualifies your audience, and in turn, increases your ROI. And, if your marketing strategy is multi- or omnichannel, the customer experience becomes even more successful. While better segmenting your data may cause your audience to shrink, it will definitely cause your engagement to grow. Like we always say – it’s better to target the right people than all the people.

5. Increased Personalization

88% of marketers recently reported seeing better campaign metrics after using personalization in their advertising. More than ever before, the need for marketers to make human connections is extremely relevant, and some may even say necessary. The majority of our population feels they’ve lost personal connections and relationships due to the pandemic. Because of this, 2020-2021 has been the time to make up for lost connections by personalizing materials to bond with your audience and make them feel seen, heard, and human. Check out our blog on the best ways to get personal, here.

6. Higher Response Rates

Since the beginning of 2021, we’ve seen a rise in direct mail response rates. Why? More time at home means more time to go through – and even pay attention to, mail. And as the trend of working from home and staying at home has continued and even increased, response rates don’t seem to be dwindling anytime soon.

However, high response rates don’t just come from people staying put. They come from quality tracking, targeting, design, and audience awareness. For more tactics to increase response rates, visit this blog.

7. Interactive Direct Mail

In today’s world, we’re surrounded by technology. And with all of this technology, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be incorporating it into our direct mail efforts. 2021 brought new technology and an abundance of data that empowers companies when targeting audiences and crafting content. Next time you’re sending direct mail – think about how far you can go with it. Can it include a scratch-off? A game? A free kit or item? A contest? It’s pretty limitless.

8. Digital Prompts

Direct mail isn’t only a way to reach customers, but an excellent way to reinforce online efforts. Simply use social icons, QR codes, or other prompts to send customers to social platforms, websites, menus, forms, landing pages – you name it! Marketers are definitely catching on to this direct mail tactic, as usage of digital prompts has doubled in the last four years. Take a look at the chart below to see how the use of digital interactions has increased.

9. Concise Copy

It’s one thing to know what you want to say, but knowing how to say it is the real key to direct mail effectiveness. Throughout 2021, we’re seeing shorter sentences, smaller paragraphs, fewer bullet points, and obvious CTAs. Your audience’s attention span is only so long, so catching the ears and eyes right away is crucial.

Below is a great example of how Amazon has practiced this and changed their copy to be more concise and clearer. Even at just a quick glance, the message is less overwhelming and more approachable.

Need some help with your direct mail copy? We’ve got a blog for you on ways to write action-inspiring content.

10. Investing in Direct Mail Tools

Although it’s not always top of mind, the right tools are one of the most important components of great direct mail. If you haven’t looked into or invested in marketing and data tools, you should be, because they can take your direct mail from general and stale to effective and exciting, and in turn, save you time and money. Instead of targeting the wrong contacts or using the wrong design elements, the right tools will ensure your mailer looks great and is sent to people who will actually open and engage with it.

Consider changing your format, ink, paper, or finish. Update your branding, content, or calls to action. Or, try technology like USPS Informed Delivery to reach consumers in a modern way.

So, there you have it! 10 effective direct mail trends that took off this year. If you’re interested in learning more about enhancing your direct mail, feel free to contact the experts at Strata. We’re happy to get you started with some great direct marketing materials.