Proven Ways to Increase Direct Mail and Sales Response Rates

Warning: the following statistics are hardly promising and definitely not satisfying. In fact, they’re kind of depressing.

1-3% is the average response rate for a direct mail campaign.
44% of direct mail goes to the garbage dump unopened.
55% of Americans dislike getting internet disks in the mail while 26% despise it.

But the following statistics may sound better to you:
85% of women age 25-44 read direct mail pieces.
72% of adults said they reply to direct mail that contains a buy one, get one free offer.
100% of the suggestions I am about to provide you with will work.

With postage rates rising, it is becoming even more expensive to send out direct mail, and with such a low return rate, different ideas need to be dreamt up in order to profit from such a campaign. As the average American receives 560 pieces of direct mail each year, the potential to end up buried in the pile is also incredibly high. So, how do we combat that? Well, we step out of line and do something completely crazy.

As a marketing consultant, these are my tried and true, proven, worked a million times ways to increase your direct mail and sales response rates.

1) The first problem is getting YOUR direct mail piece noticed out of the huge pile of 560-yearly mail pieces. There are five rules I follow religiously for this: use a live stamp, never use an inkjet printer, use personalized return address labels (a person’s name, not a company’s name), use an outrageous individualized design on the enveloped, and use a handwriting font to write the person’s address.

While most of my suggestions are pretty self-explanatory, I would like to elaborate on my suggestion to use outrageous designs on the envelope. In the past, I have drawn crazy doodles and out-of-the-box pictures on each of the envelopes we sent out. Of course, I turned them into graphics so that I wouldn’t actually have to draw on each of the envelopes by hand, but it appeared that I had. It is refreshing to receive a piece of mail that isn’t boring and bland like the rest of them.

2) Once the mail is opened, it’s important that what is on the outside of the envelope matches whatever is on the inside. On the direct mail campaigns that I doodle on, I always doodle inside as well (I also always doodle on postcards and every other direct mailer I send out, envelope or not). From words like “Amazing!” to arrows to smiley faces, I doodle everything on these postcards. It catches people’s attention! They don’t want to see anymore of the boring white paper with black type, and this way you can ensure that they will notice exactly what you want them to. Most people will read past everything that isn’t highlighted in some way.

3) Ok, you’ve gotten them to open it and interested in what you have to say. Now, include an incentive for them to respond to your direct mail. Offer to send them a free lunch ($5 gift card to a fast food restaurant) or other type of gift card if they will send you back their name, address, phone number, and answer a few simple questions about their company’s habits and needs. In the past, this has skyrocketed my response rates to 20% and even higher.

You’ll be amazed at how much information you can gain simply by offering this small incentive. In addition, when they answer your few targeted questions, you’ll have the information you need to sift out the dead leads. If they don’t have any use for your product, why waste your time? You’ll also be able to establish your own mailing list of people who would be great recipients for future direct mail campaigns.

You’ve got your responses now. All you need to do is follow through and you’re set! You’ve increased your response rate, and if you’ve got the sales people, you can easily increase your sales rates.

I’ve got one more suggestion for you also; it’s just a little something I like to use for my clients. Viral marketing can work wonders on your campaign if you know how to do it correctly. For my clients, we design and e-mail out crazy desktop wallpapers that include an offer (some sort of service or product at a discounted price) and then include a ‘Forward to a Friend’ link.

Because there is an offer involved, people will e-mail out that wallpaper like there is no tomorrow, and if they really like your company or the graphics you have on the wallpaper, your advertisement will be displayed proudly on their computer constantly. We set up an e-mail capture so every time the wallpaper is forwarded, we are sent the person’s e-mail. This way, we build up our e-mail list as well! It’s a win-win situation.

Each and every tip I have suggested is sure to work for you because it has worked for me for years. If you do it correctly, you’ll increase your response rates and profits exponentially. If you’re not seeing results, try my next suggestion – one, if not all, of these is guaranteed to work for you.

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