How to measure your direct mail or marketing campaign’s success

Let’s say you put an ad in your local newspaper, send out a direct mail campaign or postcard…

What will you use to measure how successful it was?

Actually, there are three common answers you’ll get, depending on who you talk to, so I’m going to talk briefly about each one.

The first answer may be:

“How many eyeballs saw your marketing piece?”

You notice I didn’t say “read it”, or “respond to it”, but saw it. In other words, SUPPOSEDLY, if it was seen by thousands of people, the branding efforts were well worth the money spent. This type of advertising typically doesn’t include any response incentive, or give you any way to track the real success on any level.

Advertising agencies are well known for passing this crap on to their clients. Personally, I think branding style advertising for the sole purpose of getting your name out there, is a waste of money.

I won’t argue the point that your image and your brand is important. I just don’t think it should be your primary marketing goal. (Though I’m sure many graphic designers will disagree).

The second common answer:

Success is often measured by the response rate percentage. What percentage of the people who saw your ad or received your mailing responded to your call-to-action?

This is a more accurate indicator of success for a particular postcard or direct mail campaign, because you can track the response for a particular campaign using a tracking code, or a special phone number. And knowing the percentage is important, and useful in other ways, too.

For example, many studies show the average response rate using direct mail is ½ to 1% response. There are many factors that can sway those numbers though. Things like your mailing list, sales copy, and your irresistible offer can influence results tremendously.

But… it’s not necessarily the best measure of your promo’s success…

The third answer is:

“How much money did you put in your pocket?” You know – your ROI (return on investment).

After you add up all your costs… Copywriting fees, printing, postage, and anything else… what was your profit?

To me, this is the most important measure of a promo’s success because you’re looking a real dollars and cents.

Depending on the price/profit of your product or service – even if your response percentage rate is lower than you’d like, it might take only 1 response that turns into a sale to make an overall profit.

And making a profit is what advertising and marketing is all about.

Think about it… wouldn’t you like to have more profit with lower response rates… than to have higher response rates, but fewer profits?

If you’re like most businesses… yes!

So… every time you want to advertise or send out a direct mail promo or postcard, or whatever, think about “ROI” first, then response rates second.

Once your ROI is positive, then you can tweak and test your sales copy and ads to improve the response percentage, creating even higher ROI.

Talk to me – What are your thoughts?

If you want help with your marketing strategy, writing effective sales copy, have any comments, or have a marketing project you’d like help with, e-mail me or call me at 603-686-5140

If you need help with website design, writing SEO optimized web copy, e-mail marketing, or other online marketing strategies, I can help!

To your marketing success!

Merrill Clark
Website and Marketing Copywriter

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