6 unique ways to measure direct mail effectiveness

(including a few you may not be aware of)

6 unique ways to measure direct mail effectiveness

Almost everyone knows that there are multiple metrics you can use to evaluate the impact of digital marketing. But how do you measure direct mail effectiveness? Tracking the performance of direct mail takes a little planning and a touch of cleverness, but it CAN be done.

Here are six unique ways you can measure your direct mail campaign effectiveness, including several ideas that may surprise you. 

1. Intelligent Mail Barcodes

Most organizations that send large mailings are familiar with intelligent mail barcodes (IMB) – the 65-bar codes used by the U.S. Postal Service to track outbound letters and flats.These tracking tools not only help  reduce mailing costs but also offer these important capabilities:

  • Marketers can use IMBs to verify estimated and actual delivery dates for mailings.
  • IMBs enable marketers to tailor messages to improve the impact of their direct mail campaigns.
  • Marketers can create automated marketing campaigns that coincide with specific direct mail triggers. For example, when a mailing about a special offer receives its final scan before delivery, the scan could trigger an email to recipients, reminding them to watch their mailboxes..

The USPS designed the IMB program for mailings of over 10,000 pieces. They also offer the Small Business Mailer (IMsb) tool for smaller bulk mail projects. 

2. Trackable Phone Numbers

One powerful way to measure customer engagement with your direct mail is by including a trackable phone number. A dedicated trackable phone number automatically forwards calls to your business line, while enabling you to track how many calls your campaign generates. 

Trackable phone numbers are even more valuable when conducting A/B tests on direct mail effectiveness. In other words, create two versions of your direct mailer, each with a different headline, message, or offer. Assign a different trackable phone number to each version, and track which one receives the greatest number of calls.

3. QR Codes

QR codes are a common and convenient way to add interactivity to your direct mail campaigns. When recipients scan a QR code with their smartphone, they’re taken to a landing page where they discover and act on your latest offer.  As in the previous example, directing them to a dedicated landing page makes tracking visitors and responses to your offer easier. 

However, one limitation to keep in mind, is that QR codes require smartphones. If your offer requires your audience to view your request and then take action on their work computer, this innovative direct response technology won’t work.

4. Trackable URLs

Why not add a trackable URL to your mailer that leads prospects to a custom landing page where they can learn more about your offer? Trackable or “vanity” URLs allow you to measure direct mail effectiveness quickly. Vanity domain names (such as acmeincspecialoffer.com) are inexpensive and easily set up to host one or more landing pages. 

A dedicated landing page keeps prospects focused on one task and minimizes the distraction of other navigation options. Placing these pages on a dedicated website makes it easy to “hide” them from web search engines. That means the only traffic these pages receive will come from your direct mail campaign. 

You can also use trackable URLs for A/B testing to measure and compare results. Create two versions of your mailer to guide recipients to two different landing pages. To measure your direct mail effectiveness, compare the number of visits each page receives and actions completed (downloads, event registrations. or product purchases).

5. Personalized URLs

Personalized URLs (PURLs) are another excellent way to make your direct mailers more appealing to recipients – and to determine which prospects are engaging with your offers. The simplest way to use PURLs is to create a customized landing page for your campaign, Then use digital printing to append each person’s name to the end of the URL (i.e. clickheritage.com/bobjones) or use a short, unique numerical code (for example, clickheritage.com/12345). 

Remember that PURLs need to be easy for recipients to type into a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. You can even take this approach one step farther by programming the landing page to use the PURL to display each prospect’s name and content customized just for them.

According to Target Marketing Magazine, response rates for direct mail with PURLs are about 5 percent; the industry average is 2 to 3 percent.

6. Coupon Codes

Incorporating coupon codes and special offers into your direct mailers gives recipients a powerful incentive to take immediate action. Customers could redeem these offers in stores, on websites, or over the phone,allowing you to track each of these touchpoints.

Like the other techniques for measuring direct mail effectiveness we’ve discussed, you can A/B test different headlines, body copy, and offers to determine which one generates the greatest engagement and results in conversions (such as sales, downloads, or registrations).

With the right tools in place, you’ll track your direct mail effectiveness, reach your target prospects, and run a more effective campaign. If you need guidance, we have a team of experts ready to help. Contact Heritage DIRECT today to discuss your direct mail marketing and measurement needs.

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