Jesse Stein

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direct mail response rate

Once upon a time, people approached their mailboxes with dread and felt the only things they held were bills and disappointment. Today, people choosing electronic billing look forward to checking snail mail because bills are no longer printed on paper. 

Many find mail a far more personal experience than digital communications. They’re often eager to see what’s waiting for them, which is why people respond more favorably to direct mail marketing efforts than other types of marketing used today.

What is Direct Mail Marketing (DMM)?


As the name implies, direct mail marketing involves using physical mail delivered via the Postal Service. It may include postcards, catalogs, flyers, handwritten notes, brochures, sample products, swag, and more. It involves physical items delivered to physical addresses, whereas email marketing consists of virtual correspondences delivered to email inboxes.

The open rate is one eye-popping difference between direct and virtual or email marketing. Direct mail has an open rate of 90 percent compared to only 23 percent with email marketing – a massive difference.

Direct Mail Marketing Campaigns: 6 Options


What’s great about direct mail marketing campaigns is the abundance of choices available to marketers. You’re not relegated to a single option, and you can use any of these six tried and true solutions – or come up with something creative to try.

  1. Letters
  2. Postcards
  3. Flyers
  4. Handwritten Notes
  5. Newsletters
  6. Catalogs


Each option offers unique strengths and weaknesses to consider and can be instrumental in helping you develop more personal and stronger relationships with your target audience.

6 Key Reasons People Respond to Direct Mail Marketing


There are many reasons people respond so well to direct mail marketing. These six factors are among the primary reasons why these marketing efforts are a hit for businesses of all sizes.

  1. Consumers can see, touch, and feel it. It’s tangible.
  2. Businesses can tailor direct mail marketing to individual customers. It’s personal.
  3. People can open their mail. Read their mail. Scan QR codes they receive in their mail. It’s interactive.
  4. Companies can send direct mail to customers’ homes or offices. It’s convenient.
  5. Marketers can reach out to many people for a low price. It’s cost-effective.
  6. Direct marketing sticks with people in a way digital marketing doesn’t. It’s memorable.


Even better, there are things you can do as a marketer to improve the response rates for your direct mail marketing efforts.

9 Things to Enhance Your Direct Mail Response Rate


Increased response rate is the result of effective direct mail marketing. The more people respond to your efforts, the greater your return on investment. The following nine small things can significantly improve response rates.

  1. Learn your audience
  2. Identify and follow trends
  3. Target all mailings
  4. Create custom graphics
  5. Design things responsively
  6. Respond more effectively
  7. Track every campaign
  8. Repeat what works
  9. Get help from professionals


These steps can help you become a direct mail marketing superstar—the more steps you take, the better results you’ll experience.

11 Ways to Measure (and Track) Direct Mail Response Rates


You can use multiple tools to track and measure your direct mail response rates and how cost-effective specific direct mail marketing campaigns are. Tracking your campaigns is a great way to learn what works for you so you can repeat your efforts in future campaigns. You need to continue tracking and monitoring shifting trends to identify when it’s time to move on from one marketing strategy for greener pastures. These 11 methods can help.

  1. Monitor your conversion rate.
  2. Determine average order size.
  3. Assess revenue per order.
  4. Identify cost per acquisition.
  5. Establish customer lifetime value.
  6. Pinpoint return on investment (revenue – campaign cost / campaign cost = ROI)
  7. Create discount codes. These unique offers or activation codes can be instrumental in helping you track campaign response rates.
  8. Arrange for call tracking with 800 numbers established exclusively for each unique promotion.
  9. Use one-of-a-kind URLs. Make sure each is unique to the direct mail campaign and tracks visitors to this URL.
  10. Add QR codes for a fun, interactive, and easy tool customers will enjoy using to help track your results.
  11. Link to different social media accounts with each campaign and track new followers and fans using the social media site’s analytic tools.


These tools can be invaluable if you want higher response rates from direct mail marketing efforts. More importantly, they need to be part of your overall marketing strategy to improve your response quality and conversion rate and enjoy the high response rates you seek.

6 Direct Mail Marketing Stats You Won’t Believe


These direct mail marketing statistics are sure to blow your mind. 

  1. “70% of consumers say direct mail is more personal than online interactions,” says Fundera.
  2. SmallBizGenius shares, “42.2% of direct mail recipients either read or scan the mail they get.”
  3. “Direct mail has a 13X higher response rate than email,” says Lob.
  4. According to Forbes, “81% of people reported that they look forward to seeing what they’ve received in their mailbox.”
  5. A “USPS study reveals that direct mail recipients purchased 28% more items and spent 28% more than non-direct mail recipients,” as per DMN3.
  6. PIWorld claims, “75% of consumers report being overwhelmed by the number of digital ads they see daily.”


In light of these impressive numbers, your next question should be, “Can direct mail marketing be effective in my industry?” Yes! Nothing stops you from seeing how effective direct mail response rates can be for your business but the obstacles you create.

Industries Primed and Ready for Direct Mail Campaigns


Some industries are particularly well-suited and primed for massive results from direct mail marketing efforts. (This list is by no means all-inclusive.)

  • Education
  • Auto sales
  • Real estate
  • Mortgage
  • Home improvement
  • Home services
  • Retail (both online and offline)
  • Travel
  • B2B
  • B2C
  • Hospitality
  • Health

Direct mail can be a massive lead generation tool in these industries. Don’t just take our word for it, however. Visit your mailbox. See what mail you receive daily, and measure how you respond to different direct mail offers. 

What gets your attention? What types of direct mail marketing campaigns appear more inviting to you? What entices you to become a customer rather than simply receiving the mail, reading it, and then forgetting about it? Do you believe you could create a more effective campaign using this knowledge?

Direct Mail Response Rates are High, and They’ll Stay That Way


The numbers don’t lie. Direct mail response rates are high, and there is every indication they’ll remain high in the weeks, months, and years ahead. Despite the ease of digital communication, people continue to prefer things they find tangible.

With direct mail being so cost-effective to marketers and offering results so easy to measure and track, it’s no wonder marketers are finding it an increasingly attractive alternative to digital marketing (or in addition to digital marketing efforts). Don’t forget that the response rate for direct mail is 13 times higher than the average response rate for email.

It’s time to start building your house list or permission-based mailing list and implement your direct mail marketing campaign strategy. If you’re unsure where to start, help is available to maximize the potential of your direct mailing campaign efforts while watching your ROI soar.