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Understanding Metrics Series (5 of 6) - Direct Mail


In part five of our 6-part blog series, we’ll examine the top five metrics you should be looking at in regards to your direct mail marketing efforts, and give you suggestions of how to improve what you find.

Direct Mail Metrics

(1) Response Rate: Your response rate indicates the percentage of people who responded to your direct mail piece by doing what your call-to-action told them to do.

How to improve your response rate:

  • Provide multiple ways for them to contact you: Include at least a phone number, email, and link to a page on your website that includes a form that they can fill out.
  • Include QR codes and shortened URLs: Make it easy for the recipient to learn more by directing them to your website. Shortened URLs have the added benefit because they can be personalized to your domain name (see: YOURLs). Include both a QR code and a shortened URL for added convenience.
  • Design an attractive mail piece: Your direct mail piece may not be piquing the interest of recipients, even if the offer you have would appeal to them. Choose a good format for your text: use bullets when applicable, don’t write too much. You should also be designing a professional, attractive piece that is designed to match your company logo. Also, make sure you personalize whatever you are sending.


(2) Conversion Rate: Your conversion rate is the percentage of people who actually take advantage of the offer mentioned on your direct mail piece. This number should be equal to or less than your response rate. You need to create a method to track conversions or you won't know if your campaigns are successful.

How to improve your conversion rate:

  • Use landing pages: If you’re directing recipients of your direct mail piece to a service page, consider creating a landing page instead. They’re less busy than service pages because visitors can’t jump around on your website. If you already have a landing page but that page seems to have a high bounce rate, try to redesign your page.
  • Create call scripts: Prepare your salespeople for any calls they may be receiving by creating a generalized script that they can refer to when people call in to inquire about the offer.
  • Make sure your list is well-vetted: You may not be receiving the response you expected because your mailing list is not up-to-date. Companies you are sending to may have moved locations. Specific individuals that the mail is addressed to may have left the company, so that mail may be thrown immediately in the trash. Keeping your list up-to-date will minimize this. If you’re struggling to do this yourself, purchase a lead list and/or have someone evaluate your current list.


(3) Cost per Acquisition: Your cost per acquisition - sometimes called your cost per order or cost per lead - measures the cost-effectiveness of your direct mail campaign by looking at how much it cost your business to obtain a new customer (or get a current customer to purchase an add-on). This is determined by dividing the cost it took to run your campaign (postage, printing, staff costs, and any other related costs) by the number of orders you received.

How to improve your cost per acquisition:

  • Decrease your costs: Consider hiring someone else to handle your direct mail campaign. The cost of running a direct mail campaign yourself will likely be higher than if you hire someone who typically handles direct mailing due to the economies of scale the professional company has developed.
  • Increase your number of acquisitions: You can convince more people to take advantage of your offer by doing many of the things we’ve already discussed: making it easy for them to contact you or learn new information on their own time, and sending your mail to the right people.


(4) Revenue per Order: Revenue per order measures the revenue you generated as a result of your direct mail campaign, measured by dividing the total revenue earned divided by the number of orders you received.

How to improve your revenue per order:

  • Use promo codes: Using a direct mail-specific promo code will allow you to better track the number of people who converted because of your direct mail piece they received. Not including a specific tie to your direct mail piece will make it difficult to determine what orders came in because of the piece of mail individuals received.
  • Choose a better target audience: The recipients of your direct mail piece may not be interested in what you are selling, even if they would receive it as a discount. Do your research, and select recipients who would be most likely to purchase what you are offering.


(5) Return on Investment: Your return on investment (ROI) indicates whether you earned more than you spent to distribute your direct mail pieces.

How to improve your total return on investment:

  • Use multiple touchpoints: Don’t just include a single direct mail piece in your campaign. Include multiple pieces, and inform them of your offer through other methods such as social media and email. Be sure to space out these touchpoints so you do not overwhelm the recipient.
  • Try a different type of direct mail: Have a lot to say? Don’t try to shove everything on a postcard. Send a ‘letter from the CEO’ instead. If you have a lot of information to talk about but have pictures that can accompany it, send a brochure. If you don’t have too much to say (or, if you would rather say more on the landing page you direct them to), send a postcard.
  • Track your campaign: You won’t have an good measure of your ROI if you aren’t carefully tracking the success (or failure) of your campaign. Make sure you have the tools you need to ensure that your measurements are accurate.

Understanding Metrics

We hope that this blog gave you the foundational knowledge needed to better track the success of your direct mail marketing efforts. Check back for the final part of this blog series, covering blog metrics, and reach out to us if you have any questions.

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