Three things that affect direct mail response rate

arrows on targetDespite the perception that digital channels outperform direct mail, that is not the case, according to an article in Direct Marketing News.

In fact, direct mail boasts a 4.4% response rate, compared to email’s average response rate of 0.122%. Even though direct mail has declined in terms of overall response rate, it is still beat email by 10-30 times—and even more when compared to online display ads.

The reason direct mail has a higher response rate could be related to the fact that consumers are continually bombarded by digital messages they don’t want. Direct mail translates into less clutter.

Here are the three things that affect direct mail response rate:

  • Right market – Be sure you have a good, clean mailing list and that you are sending to names in the right market (in the right industry and the right job titles) that have a need for your product or service.
  • Right offer – Whether you are offering a discount or a free consultation or a random drawing, give careful consideration to this critical component and make sure it ties in with your product and industry.
  • Creative approach—Nothing can kill a good direct mail campaign faster than a poor creative approach. It’s best to hire an ad agency, or at least a professional writer and designer, if you are not trained and experienced in marketing communications.


How do you find out if you are mailing to the right market with the right offer and the right creative approach? You need to conduct a test mailing to find out. And then test again before sending out the full mailing. It’s a little more work up front but it pays off in the long run.