What is the average Direct Mail Response Rate?

With households keeping Direct Mail pieces longer, the average response rate has shown to be higher than any other form of advertising.

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It wasn’t until recently that data has shown us response rates from direct mail continue to grow at high rates.  With this exploding digital age we are in, consumers tend to think that direct mail is old school.  While yes it’s true in the sense that it’s a more traditional form of advertising, it hasn’t gone anywhere and it’s here to stay!

So, how do you measure direct mail and what’s a typical response rate? First, let’s take a closer look at what a response rate actually is and what it means. Response Rate by definition is the number of replies that have been received from a particular campaign, typically as a percentage.  As a calculation, divide the number of valid responses by the responses initially requested. Response rates measure the engagement that a campaign has. If you’ve sent out surveys, quizzes, or assessments asking for a reply, then you’ve worked with response rates to a degree. For example, if you send a survey to 100 people and 50 people respond, your response rate would be 50% (50/100 = 0.50). This is where the percentage of responses applies to your response rate.  Next you might wonder, what information do you have to support the results of direct mail and response rates?

What is an average response rate?

We know that generally, the average response rate is anywhere between 2 and 5%.  At first this may seem discouraging, but there is more that goes into these numbers than you may realize:

  • What type of mail are you using? Shared mail will have the largest reach and typically the lowest response rate. Personalized addressed mail will typically have the lowest reach but a higher response rate due to the hyper-targeting. Solo mail will be somewhere in the middle, typically with medium reach, basic targeting and thus, a higher response rate than shared but lower than personalized.

  • What type of business are you? Response rates vary widely per industry, which is why it’s important to create a campaign optimized for your industry.

  • When are you sending your mail and what is your goal? If it’s your off-season and you are focused on being top-of-mind come peak-season, you will typically yield lower response rates but improve your response rates for campaigns come peak-season.

With so many direct mail options and targeting tools, it’s more important than ever to plan each campaign with your internal and direct mail partner teams for optimal results. There are also many ways to improve your response rate that are efficient and effective. See below!

How do you calculate a direct mail response rate?

Take the total number of responses received, divide by the total number of direct mail pieces sent out, then times 100.

Ex:  300 (responses received) / 5000 (direct mail pieces mailed) X 100 = 6% Response Rate

What are simple ways to improve response rates?

When sending out any sort of communication or campaign that ideally requires a reply or action, here are a few ways you can improve your response rate:

  • Keep it short and sweet (everyone is busy and consumers need to see at a glance it will be quick);

  • Ensure what you are asking is accessible, user friendly, with no issues on completing the task;

  • Provide an incentive of some sort.  We are all creatures of habit, if a consumer knows they have a chance to receive something that is of value to them, it increases your chances of a response.

How can you track response rates?

Tracking response rates is quick and simple when using call tracking, QR codes, coupon scans, or any other digital integrations. That’s why we’ve created DRMG Insights.  Insights allows you to track all calls, listen and evaluate the calls that have come in for potential leads and prove your return on ad spend.  This can also be done with QR Code tracking which is a quick scan allowing you to collect valuable data on potential leads and adjust accordingly.  Both options allow you to review, prove the success, and optimize per campaign!

Is there data that shows the impact direct mail has and how it varies by industries, demographics, and direct mail types?

As we know to this day, direct mail still holds strong as an effective marketing tool that can be utilized in many ways.  To truly know the success of your campaign, it’s imperative to track the response rate (providing this has been asked of and is a part of your campaign). So, if you’re looking to increase and improve your response rate, contact us today so we can help you execute your campaign to its full potential!


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