5 best practices for developing a direct mail strategy that will help reach your marketing goals On the fence about adding direct mail into your marketing mix.
Know what you want to measure and how you’ll track it before you mail
In the world of direct mail, many tend to focus on volume-based metrics to measure the success of a campaign, or in some cases, they don’t formally measure success at all. It’s easy to assume that a campaign performed well when there is a definite increase in leads or sales, but you need to know what aspects of your direct mail campaigns are more or less successful.
As a best practice, it is always a good idea for companies to measure the value of their marketing investments, and the savviest marketers are those who establish comprehensive tracking systems designed to test and measure the performance of their direct mail campaigns and compare them to their goals.
But, what is the best way to accurately determine success metrics, or establish reliable tracking methods to gauge things like direct mail ROI and response rate?
Here’s how to track and measure the success of direct mail campaigns.
- Define measurement goals
Starting with a clear goal in mind before launching a direct mail campaign will help to measure whether or not it was successful. For example, is the goal to:
- Reach new customers?
- Retain current customers?
- Increase sales or increase revenue per sale?
- Boost website traffic?
- Create brand awareness?
Identifying these goals before starting will help keep the campaign focused and determine what to test and the results to measure.
- Determine how you’ll tracking results
After defining the campaign’s goals, establish a way to attribute leads and sales to the campaigns themselves. Otherwise, there is no way to know where the influx of sales or leads originated. The best way to track the success of any given campaign is to make sure all points of contact are trackable and unique.
For example, you can connect leads and sales back to the direct mail pieces that generated them by including the following tracking methods:
- Source Codes: Depending on what you are tracking, you can assign unique codes by campaign, by test segment or down to an individual prospect. Source codes are an excellent way to track action rate. Linking a code to an offer in the mail piece makes it more likely the prospect will enter it on a website form page. Also, if you’ll be accepting them over the phone, make sure your staff remembers to ask for the codes each time a new order is placed.
- QR codes: Adding a QR code is a great way to measure success and collect analytics. When scanned, a QR code directs people to a customized landing page that can track traffic levels and response rates. These work best when used in conjunction with limited-time offers.
- Traceable phone numbers: Call tracking is an efficient way to measure response rate. You can set up a dedicated toll-free number or use call-tracking software to help produce valuable analytics. Just make sure each phone number is unique to each direct mail campaign.
- Campaign-specific URLs: Try adding trackable URLs that lead to customized campaign landing pages on the company’s website. Tools like Google’s Campaign URL Builder can help create URLs that can be easily measured by analytics tools. It’s also a good idea to include a submission form on the landing page to capture more-specific information about the target audience.
- Personalized URLs: Personalized URLs, or PURLs, are web addresses created for each person on your mailing list, and they lead to landing pages customized just for them. PURLs allow marketers to track the response rate and movement of individual customers, which offers more insight into what does and does not resonate, along with more information about each person’s interests.
- Create a strong call to action
If you don’t directly ask recipients to take action, chances are, they won’t. This is why all direct mail should include a strong call to action (CTA), prompting the audience to perform a desired and trackable task.
CTAs should be compelling, engaging, relevant, and easy to complete. Examples of strong CTAs include:
- Call us for a free demonstration
- Contact us for more information
- Scan this QR code to redeem your offer
- Visit our website to sign up
- Present this coupon at participating locations
Stay focused on where your prospects are in the sales funnel and make sure to tailor direct mail CTAs accordingly. For example, the CTA shouldn’t ask someone to sign up for a 5-year contract on the first piece of direct mail correspondence. Instead, take the time to get to know the audience, and only devise CTAs that ask them to take the natural and appropriate next steps.
Direct mail can be an impactful marketing tool for any business, but unless you know how well your campaigns are performing, your efforts could be futile. Using these methods will allow you to track success and measure the response of your campaigns, and help you to be more strategic when devising your overall direct mail marketing strategy.
Need help adding tracking measures into your next direct mail campaign? Drop us a line.