Measuring Direct Mail

March 15, 2011 by
Filed under: Direct Marketing Mailing 

Peter Drucker mentioned that the purpose of business is to create a customer but business cannot survive unless you make a margin. Margins are simply the difference between price and the mailing costs.

Many people that don’t understand direct mail may think it is simplistic on the surface. Once you decide on a list and design your direct mail piece, write a compelling offer after testing your control package over the years. your mailing is dropped at the USPS, the complications of metrics begin to unfold.

Most often we hear direct marketers boasting about response rates to direct mail and emails. While a high response rate is good, sometimes it is only one page to the whole story. This is when measuring direct mail becomes so critical between making a huge profit or closing your doors for business.

There are three results in a direct mail piece to always account for when measuring: Response Rate, Conversion Rate, and ROI. While response and conversion are important, ROI is the highest priority.

Let’s break it down into simple pieces:

Response Rate

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This measurement tells us exactly how many people took action from your direct mail piece. For example, if you were to send out 10,000 pieces and you get 100 responses you have a response rate of 1%.

Measuring a good response rate is specific to the type of list you are sending. If you send a list based on your current customer data you should be looking for a rate of around 25%. For renewals it could be 70% on some magazine subscriptions

Of course, the rates can be much higher than this, and in many cases are. When it comes to current customers, the sky is the limit.

If you are sending to a purchased target list, you can typically expect your response to be around 2% upwards of 3%. This also depends on your offer and copy and how close your lists matches the affinity of the offer.

Conversion Rate

Conversion is essentially the percentage of customers that respond to your mailer and make a purchase. This percentage is of much greater importance than the response rate.


Return on Investment is at the top of the measurement food chain. There are times when a direct mail piece may generate >.01% conversion, but if the promotion sent out is advertising a high ticket item, how have you really done?Allow me to help you implement your next strategic marketing plan focused on your niche. I will make the most of what you already have by analyzing your biggest strengths and exploiting your competition.

Timothy Little – Direct Marketing Consultant

Tim Little
1 (888) 889-0552

Service Description

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