11 tips to increase your direct mail response rate

You could make big improvements to your direct mail response rate by following some of the tips in this article.

With many of us spending much more time at home over the past year, mail matters more than ever and there’s never been a better time to try it. 

Read through these tips before you do anything and put some into practice to ensure you get the direct mail response rate you deserve.

Here are 11 tips to increase your direct mail response rate

No. 1 – Start with good data

Did you know that 2.3 million householders move and 500 thousand people die every year in the UK? When you take a moment to think about that, it’ll open your eyes to the importance of maintaining an up-to-date database.

It’s vital you schedule in a regular ‘cleanse’ of your data. A print and mail house (like RNB!) can carry out a data health check to carry out a number of actions such as

  • Removing deceased and goneaway records
  • Correct casing and generate contact and salutation fields
  • Mailsorting

By creating clean, personalised data files, you can ensure that your direct mail campaigns land in the right letterbox – helping to maintain your reputation and improve conversion rates and ROI.

No 2 – Now segment that data

Your mailing list may contain a real mixed bag of contacts with varying interests in your business.

Some may be existing, loyal customers while others may have consented to join your marketing list.

Careful segmentation of your data list is a surefire way to improve response rates from your direct mail activities.

It will allow you to send out content specifically targeted to each segment so you’re not wasting money sending a message that may only suited to a fraction of your list.

This is the first step in personalising your direct mail campaigns. Segmentation will allow you to address the right audience, with the right content at the right time.

No 3 – Hit them with an offer they can’t resist

Including a unique offer is a surefire way to increase your direct mail response rate. Identify the objective of your direct mail campaign first and then work on an offer that will help you achieve your goals.

The purpose of your piece of mail could be to build brand awareness, acquire new customers, retain existing customers or reactivate old customers. Whatever your intentions, ensure you present an offer that works for your chosen segment and aligns with your goals.

You could consider including the following in your mailshot:

  • A discount code – include a unique code only available from your direct mail marketing. It’s a great way to help track results and drive traffic online or in-store
  • Offer a free trial – depending on your service you might want to give your mailing list the opportunity to sign up for a free trial
  • Free samples – who doesn’t love a freebie? You could include a sample of your product in your mailer, alongside a voucher for money off their first purchase

No 4 – Tell them what to do next

Make it really, really obvious what you’d like your recipients to do next. Having a clear call to action is a key step in ensuring a good response to your direct mail.

It could be ‘visit our website to sign up today’ or ‘call us to make an enquiry’ or ‘use your discount code today’. Whatever your objectives are, ensure this is clearly represented in your design’s CTA

Create a sense of urgency by including a deadline or offer expiry date.

No 5 – All part of the multi-channel experience

Your direct mail marketing will no doubt integrate with your wider marketing campaign and again, this is another tactic to increase your direct mail response rate.

By also targeting customers via social media, email marketing and TV etc. you stand a much higher chance at your message getting through. In fact, a Neuro-Insight study carried out by Royal Mail MarketReach in 2018, revealed how mail boosts other channels.

Consumers who saw mail first had 30% more dwell time on social media ads.

Memory encoding to social media advertising was 44% higher when people had seen mail first.

Each area of marketing should complement the other and clearly sit together within the same campaign (design and objective wise) for maximum impact.

No 6 – Use direct mail to drive digital action

This tip leads on nicely from the last. Use direct mail to drive online response. A well-executed direct mail campaign can build awareness of your online channels and ultimately lead to a conversion (be that a sale or a new lead).

Did you know that as a direct result of receiving direct mail:

  • 87% of people were influenced to make an online purchase
  • 92% of people driven to online or digital activity
  • 43% of people download something from a website

(Source: DMA)

No 7 – Make it personal

Personalisation is so much more than a ‘Dear First Name’ salutation these days. However, that’s the first essential step to take, to ensure a higher response rate.

In fact, research carried out by the BMRB revealed 51% of people are less likely to open a piece of mail if it’s addressed ‘to the occupier’. Including first name and address ticks a big box.

Next, let’s talk content. If you target your copy, imagery and offer to meet the individual needs of your segment, you’re on to a winning formula. A great example of this in practice? The vouchers you get from the supermarket, with offers specifically based on your shopping history.

The more specific you can get in your personalisation, the more your mail will speak directly to the receiver and the higher your response will be!

No 8 – Get noticed

For direct mail guaranteed to be open, opt for an attractive, eye-catching design that stands out from the pile on the doormat.

You can experiment with coloured envelopes, perforated seals, play with scale (make it huge or tiny) put something obvious inside the envelope that entices open.

It could be as subtle as clever wording that just screams for the envelope to be opened.

Design is so important and can make or break the response to your direct mail.

Take a look at these examples of direct mail done right.

No 9 – Testing, testing

One of the best ways to improve your direct mail response rate is to continually test your approach.

A/B testing will help you identify the highest performing formats, messaging and promotions among other things.

Split testing only really works if you have a big enough data set and the recommendation is 5,000 to 8,000 per test so bear in mind, you’ll need at least double this figure to carry out a successful test.

You’ll be able to measure results by tracking the response rate so be sure to have measures in place to log calls from a campaign for example if this is your primary objective.

No 10 – Use technology to win at direct mail

You can encourage response rate by including a QR code on your mailer. This code will be unique to your direct mail campaign and can be used to measure interactions/scans of the code to visit a custom landing page. It’s an easy way to direct recipients to the webpage you’d like them to visit as a result of receiving your mailer.

Another clever use of technology and mail is something called programmatic mail.

This is where you automate mail to be sent out based on a user’s interaction on your website. Perhaps they abandoned the shopping basket or added items to their wish list.

You can send them an instant mailer featuring the exact items they’ve shown an interest in. Include an exclusive offer and it might just be the incentive they needed to complete a purchase.

No 11 – Be sure to follow up

Don’t just send a piece of mail and call it quits. Schedule in some form of follow up soon after the mailer lands with them while it’s fresh in their mind.

Phone calls can be very effective if it’s the right approach for your audience. Alternatively, contact them again by post, referencing your first mailer.

You could remind them the offer will expire soon (if that’s the route you’ve taken)

Ready to try direct mail?

Our dedicated team of mailing experts have over 15 years experience and are here to offer help and advice as well as ensuring your campaign runs smoothly and to schedule.

Complete our quick contact form and we’ll get back to you with a quote.

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