14 Tips to Increase Direct Mail Response Rates

14 Tips to Increase Direct Mail Response Rates


I’ve recently read a few articles on increasing direct mail response rates. There were some great tips and ideas so I thought I’d distil them into a useful list and share them here.

A typical conversion rate for direct mail is between 1-3% (depending on how advanced your data segmentation and personalisation, as well as your market sector) so it can represent a very good return on investment.

And like many things in marketing, it’s customer psychology that comes into play here. Understand your customers, employ a bit of simple psychology, learn from and apply the experience others, and you’ll push up your response rates and increase your return on investment.

Creating personalised Direct Mail can be of real value to your customers!

So here’s the condensed wisdom of the great and the good. The data is from commercial as well as charitable sources so some will be more applicable to your business than others. Use as and when you feel they may be appropriate.

  1. Analyse and use your data wisely – to make your mailing more relevant and to identify distribution savings.
  2. Where possible, stick to one, straightforward offer. Multiple messages and offers will confuse your readers.
  3. Create a website landing page – a growing proportion of customers prefer to respond online to direct mail rather than by phone.
  4. Four page letters often get better responses than two page letters
  5. Larger envelopes almost always pull in a higher response rate than smaller envelopes.
  6. Incorporate a sense of urgency with a deadline. This direct call to timely action can increase response rates.
  7. Try and incorporate current events into your mailing as these generally increase responses.
  8. Larger response coupons often lead to a higher response.
  9. Handwriting. Having a real signature or hand-written address (or simulating both) increases personalisation, the chance a letter is opened and can improve response rates.
  10. A real stamp can improve opening/response rates.
  11. Older and younger people respond best to direct mail campaigns.
  12. Try one, get one free offer. These can dramatically increase response rates – over 70% response rates isn’t unheard of!
  13. Once opened, you have just a few seconds to encourage your potential customer to read on. Create a compelling headline or ‘sticky’ creative to draw them down the page and keep the mailing hanging around the home/office.
  14. Combining a DM campaign with other marketing activities can increase a campaigns return on investment by 20%*

If you have any further tips to add, please comment as we’d love to hear them and we’ll extend the list in the future.

*source, Meta Analysis of Direct Mail by Brand Science.