Direct mail campaigns used to be difficult to measure. This is no longer the case, now that you can power direct mail with your CRM. Simply use Inkit with your marketing automation platform to evaluate direct mail campaigns nearly as easily as email.
Just as with digital marketing, measuring direct mail campaigns can inform and improve future efforts. So, where should you get started?
Here are five areas to focus your direct mail campaign analysis:
1. Direct Mail Campaign Results
First, you want to make sure your direct mail campaign is designed to track results. You can do this by including a QR code, trackable coupon code, landing page or personalized URL on your mailer. Pro Tip: Learn how to create a QR Code here.
The marketing postcard below from Primary uses a special trackable coupon code. The children’s clothing e-commerce site uses a different code for the same offer in its online marketing, allowing it to parse out the results.
When you go to analyze your direct mail campaign results, look further than response rate and return on investment. One of the most important data points to segregate is interest. You can do this by determining how many people took Step 1 (i.e. how many people went to the landing page or URL listed on your mailer). Was there a significant level of interest that didn’t end in purchases? If so, your mailer worked. It drove people online. But, something is wrong with a latter stage of your customer journey. Or, perhaps there was a low interest level in general indicating the mailer’s content or targeting needs improvement.
2. Your Direct Mail Campaign Offer
Be sure to track data on your offer in all formats. Have you used this offer before in email or another format? If so, how does that data compare to the direct mail campaign’s results? Sometimes offers that work well in one channel do not perform as well in others. Did you test another offer alongside this one (either in this direct mail campaign or a previous e-mail split-test)? If you sense that something is wrong with the offer, show the mailer to people outside of your organization to see if the messaging is clear. If your mailer didn’t perform, but you believe your offer is strong, consider sending the offer again with different direct mail copy and design.
I recently received both of these direct mail campaigns from Petco. These similar yet different offers are a great way to gauge whether dog or cat campaigns performs better. Petco’s marketers could even take it one step further and test images of different dog breeds with the same offer. Could the trendy Goldendoodle outsell the classic Yellow Lab? Who’s to say!
3. Direct Mail Copy and Design
Often, marketers who are new to direct mail start by simply reformatting successful email offers for print. While it can certainly save time and resources to test offers in email, what works in email doesn’t always work in direct mail when it comes to copy and design.
When you’re writing and designing a direct mail campaign, you need to think more like social. You want just enough eye-catching content to get the recipient to pause near that recycling bin and set aside the postcard. The long lists of benefits and detailed FAQs that do well in email could sink your postcard campaign. So, track things like font sizes and colors, CTA length, word count, image placement, white space and postcard size to compare your direct mail campaigns and learn which styles resonates with your audience. (Learn what works in modern direct mail design here.)
4. Direct Mail Campaign Timing
We all know that timing can significantly affect marketing campaigns. For example, there is always mail fatigue around elections. Holidays can also lead to an increase in mail volume, and of course mail volume can shift sporadically without you even knowing.
When evaluating and comparing direct mail campaign results, always consider timing. A meal delivery service, for example, may find that their campaigns do best during the hustle and bustle of seasonal events (back to school, holidays, etc.), while another brand could find they get lost in the mail pile during those times.
Many marketers study what day of the week and even what time of day their audience best responds to digital marketing. You need to pay attention the timing of with your direct mail campaigns, as well.
5. Your Direct Mail List
We saved the most important for last. Your direct mail list can make or break your direct mail campaign. Did you target the right people with your mailer? Before you analyze your audience, make sure to double-check that the right list was used. Whether you’re triggering mail right from your CRM or uploading a CSV to Inkit, make sure no human error occurred. Then, begin to study behavioral and demographic data to learn whether you are targeting the right people and how you might refine your targeting.
Many marketing teams are slow to measure and analyze direct mail. While they pore over all of the above factors (and more) when evaluating digital campaigns, they do not know the same is possible with direct mail marketing. This gives savvy marketers a significant opportunity to outwit the competition in direct mail.
Whether or not your direct mail campaigns currently meet your expectations, aim to identify weaknesses and improve them for even better results. Always look for opportunities to drive better responses. When tweaking a solid campaign, remember this general rule: change only one element of a campaign at a time so that you can fully understand the impact of the change.