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What is the Average Response Rate for Direct Mail Marketing Today?

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Average Response Rate for Direct Mail Marketing

A question which often arises is, "What is the average response rate for direct mail marketing, and what should be considered a good response rate?"

In this short post, we will dive into the world of direct mail marketing and explore response rates to help you gauge the effectiveness of your campaigns and set realistic expectations.

Now before I go into it…many overlook direct mail in today’s market.

Everyone is talking about the new TikTok or Youtube Shorts strategy that may or may not work. Everyone's an expert at a given thing.

So I want to shut down the misconceptions surrounding “new” versus “traditional” media, and spotlight the only truths that matter—why among numerous surveys,direct mail consistently holds the #1 spot for customer acquisitions and retention, and how, if done right, it can increase your business by tenfold.

So I highly recommend to all my clients to use tools such as Mailbox Power to start testing direct mail as part of the Magnetic Marketing system.

Here’s One More Thing You Need to Understand

Response rate refers to the percentage of recipients who take a desired action in response to a direct mail campaign, such as making a purchase, requesting more information, or subscribing to a service. It serves as a key performance indicator to evaluate the success and profitability of your direct mail efforts.

key performance indicator

It's important to note that response rates can vary significantly depending on various factors, including industry, target audience, offer, copywriting, design, and overall campaign execution.

While some campaigns may yield high response rates, others may fall below average. Therefore, it's crucial to consider response rates within the context of your specific campaign objectives and industry benchmarks.

Yet, there’s one crucial complement which will determine your response rate, here’s what it’s all about: Volume.

Now the average response rate from a direct mail is somewhere between 0.5% - 5%. And can always go up and down depending on many factors such as, industry, target audience, and the specific campaign objectives.

Improving Your Direct Mail Response Rate

To improve your direct mail response rate, consider the following strategies:

  • Targeted Mailing List: Ensure your mailing list is highly targeted and
            reaches individuals who are likely to be interested in your offer. Segment
            your list based on relevant demographics, interests, or purchasing behaviors.
  • Compelling Offer: Create an attractive offer that provides value to the
            recipient. Consider discounts, exclusive promotions, freebies, or personalized
            incentives that motivate recipients to respond.
  • Clear Call-to-Action: Clearly communicate what you want the recipient to do
            and make it easy for them to respond. Provide multiple response options
            such as a website, phone number, or prepaid reply envelope.
  • Personalization: Customize your direct mail pieces to add a personal touch.
            Personalized messages, tailored content, and addressing recipients by name
            can increase engagement and response rates.
  • Testing and Optimization: Experiment with different elements of your direct
            mail campaign, such as design, copy, offers, and formats. Test multiple
            variations to identify what works best for your target audience and refine
            your approach accordingly.

And you have to play the long game. Everyone’s out to get the quick buck but me, and hopefully you? I can wait years.

Here’s a little story that may surprise you…

I recently did almost $250,000 of “new” business with two “new” clients – each having incubated, grown, matured, and readied themselves with years — in one’s case, 23 years — of “following me”.

Aware of me, reading my books, reading my newsletters, hanging out in circles with other people following me and talking about me. Yes, a very slow crop to harvest.

But it’s my 50th year at this, give or take, so I was able to afford such a patient progression of clients, enough rising up each year pretty much of their own accord; but by my ‘system’. Now imagine I hadn’t sent a single mailer to his house.

$250,000 lost.

Here more insight…in the first quarter earnings reports to shareholders and financial media, YouTube reported an increase in viewership credited to its move (forcing creators) to short (like TikTok) rather than long content.

But YouTube also reported a DECLINE in ad revenue.

Advertisers need viewers that stay in place for a relatively long period of time. Some advertisers are figuring this out.

Even shifting ad spend from all the online/social media back to TV, where the audience stays put for 30 or 60 minutes. Advertisers really benefit from “blocks” on TV: 3 shows back to back that hold the viewers for 3 hours, in which they can present their ads 3 or 6 times.

The clients I have seen most successfully using YouTube are driving people into online presentations that are 40 minutes to 6 hours long.

A client using TikTok moves her viewers from there to a 25 minute video at her site, and from that to a 3 hour video.

They are all doing the equivalent of long form, multi page sales letters, brought to life. One is using an infomercial format.

The often used argument for “keep it short” is The Goldfish Attention Span.

The Goldfish Attention Span

Depending on which goldfish expert you get this from, it’s 17 or 90 seconds. Online marketing “experts” insist that the humans’ attention span has fallen to match goldfish. But you are not selling to goldfish.

Goldfish attention span may be fixed; but humans’ attention spans are elastic, depending on variables, including relevance of your presentation to the viewer (listener or reader) and whether or not you are boring.

So, first I would encourage you to play the long game, second, direct mail is still one of the top revenue streams, and, third, if you want to increase your direct-mail response, it’s simply a matter of not being boring and having volume.

Therefore, your reader can start to expect mailers coming from you, and let them be flashy, out of this world, type mailers. Because that is how you’ll be remembered, and referred to.

So while you focus on a well crafted promotion, get the desired action, and grow your business further, don’t forget to stand out from the crowd.

Here’s a little perspective shift from the government. They will always send a bill via mail. Even though the world has shifted for the most part online and now even more with A.I. You can be rest assured that they will almost always send a mail.

So where does that leave you?

You can either stand out from the crowd by sending direct mails or don’t and blend in with the rest of the market and try to compete for space along with millions of other people in your market. Obviously a mix between the 2 is where the Magnetic Marketing System relies on, but you never want to have just one acquisition channel.

You always want to have multiple channels that grow your business, even if it generates one customer a year.

So There is your insight on direct mail, the average response rate and how you can start sending mails today.

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