Direct mail analytics aren’t exactly new, but they are made possible hugely through the advent of digital marketing tracking and analytics platforms. As our field gets more innovative and technological advancements like the Internet of Things become more accessible, we could eventually be looking at smart envelopes that cost pennies on the dollar more to mail, and allow you to track everything from how long they stay in a potential customers’ mailbox to how many times that customer touches it before opening it, reading it and either using it or throwing it away. For now, let’s talk about what we can do, and how it works.
In the days of Mad Men, how did marketing execs monitor whether their campaign was a success or failure? By and large…they didn’t. There was simply no effective, data-driven way to monitor the exposure, reach, and effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Sure, you could see a spike in sales and draw a loose conclusion that the spike was driven by an ingenious campaign. By today’s standards, however, that conclusion wouldn’t hold one whit of weight in the boardroom.
The first question is establishing a baseline. For that, we query an authoritative organization, the Direct Mail Association. Our baseline—how many people open and act upon offers they get in the mail? According to the DMA, that number averages out to approximately 65% of consumers. The kicker? That’s across all ages.
So how do we track the success of individual direct mail campaigns? There are a few ways.
1. Simple Response Rate
The easiest and most direct way to measure the success of your campaign is with a simple response rate. This can be achieved a few ways, whether with a promo code only included in the mailed offer or a special URL that only recipients of the mailing are privy to. A simple response rate becomes even more useful when you compare it to industry averages and your own alternate campaigns. Learn what works best for your brand and use it to fuel future marketing efforts.
PURLs are Personal URLs. Each customer (or interest group of customers) receives a unique URL. We track how many times the URL is visited and the behavior that results from each individual visit. PURLs not only give you insight to how many subscribers from a specific interest group take action on your mailing, but also their behavior once they’ve landed on your website. Thus, you can both monitor the success of a specific campaign within a specific interest group or individual, and learn more about their behavior to tailor future marketing efforts in their favor.
3. QR Codes
This is often the most direct, quick-access way to get mobile users in the proverbial door of your website and acting on your offer. With QR Codes, you can collect broad or specific data, sending all users to a unique hyperlink or simply collecting page impressions by who scanned the QR code across all market segments.
4. Unique Offer IDs
When giving customers a special offer, you can generate a unique code for each customers and track usage individually or use a different code by marketing segment to judge the effectiveness of the campaign between interest groups. While this doesn’t offer as much online data as a PURL or QR Code, it gives you the ability to track response rates across web and retail channels of your business.
These are just four of the most common ways to track the success of your direct mail campaigns. How creative can you get? Try combining a few to see just how much information you can learn about your customers, potential customers and leads. For every campaign, it’s important to establish your goals ahead of time. This will help you stay focused in a sea of data, zeroing in on the figures that matter most to make your next campaign even better.