In the more than 40 years we’ve been helping businesses and organizations with their direct mail needs, we’ve often asked clients, “How did your last mailing perform? Is it working?”
Some clients know exactly what kind of response they’re getting. Some get that “deer-in-the-headlights” look before muttering something along the lines of “I don’t have a clue.”
So how do you know if your mailing is working, or if something is out of order and needs to be fixed? Some mailing experts will say, “If it can’t be measured, it doesn’t matter!” In general, that’s true. You need to be able to point to specific results. But not everything can be measured in the same way. Here’s a look at some metrics you can (and should) measure.
- Deliverability: You need to know that what you mail is reaching your desired audience. One problem with what’s commonly called “bulk mail” is that undelivered mail isn’t returned to you (that’s one reason it’s less expensive). Verifying your list through the USPS National Change of Address helps ensure you are mailing to legitimate addresses.
- Responses: You can measure the number of responses you get. If you’re asking people to download information, set up a specific, dedicated landing page that’s tied into each specific mailing – that way you know how people ended up on that page. If your call to action is to have people call you, set up a dedicated phone number so that only callers from that specific mailing use it.
- Conversion: You’ll also want to know how many initial responders ended up being qualified leads/prospects, so you need to be able to identify responders as they move through your sales funnel. A customer relationship management (CRM) program will allow you to do that.
- Sales/Donations: Depending on whether you’re a for-profit business looking for sales or a nonprofit organization seeking donations, you’ll want to know how many people ended up buying or giving as a result (or at least in part as a result) of your mailing.
The only way to truly know if your mailings are working—or are “out of order”—is to measure and record the results. That’s what enables you to do more of what works and then eliminate efforts that don’t pay off. If you don’t know whether or not your mailing is effective, you can’t fix it.