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Direct Mail Response Rates - Measure Campaign Success

Improve Direct Mail PerformanceI see from my crystal ball that you're going to get a 0.5% response rate in your mail and 2% in your email campaigns"....... WHAT?... It would be mad to base your campaign on the "average" direct mail response rates - there is no such thing as a national average!  Instead you should look at building your own average direct mail response rates which will be specific to each and every product you are promoting or if you send out a catalogue, the average response rate to mailing that catalogue.  If you send out a mailer to sell a widget then the average for that widget.  How marketing people quote a "typical" average response rate of 0.01% is beyond belief!  It's completely irrelevant.

So your mailing has gone, the direct mail response rates are in.  You have closed the sales - it is time to determine whether the campaign was a success.
With appropriate planning at the beginning and setting clear objectives it will be easier to compare your campaign's performance to the targets you set.

When assessing the success of the campaign, remember to:

  • Wait long enough for all responses to stop - some responses can arrive weeks after the mailing was sent!

  • Wait for all sales to close. If you are selling high value items it can sometimes take months to close the larger deals which can often mean the difference between a failed campaign and a highly successful one.

  • Consider the life-time value of the customer you just acquired. They may have purchased some software for £1,000 to start with but if your customers generally stay with you for 3 years and spend an average £5,000 per annum then their value to you as a business is much higher than the initial £1,000.  How many other direct mail responders can be classed as repeat customers?

Can you improve next time?

Regardless of whether your campaign was a success or failure, you should ask yourself "Can we do better next time?"

Look for answers to questions like:

  • Which sales proposition/ mailing pack got the better response?
  • Did the timing of the mailing affect the performance?
  • Which response method was most popular?
  • Which types of business/ consumer responded most?
  • Do responses vary geographically?

If you can answer these questions then you are in a great position to improve your direct marketing performance on the next campaign!

Summary Steps

  1. Establish how to collect your results
  2. Regularly monitor responses
  3. Analyse the end results
  4. Objectively review and report on performance
  5. Keep a library of all campaigns for reference