Measuring response rates of direct mail

One of the key aims in direct mail campaigns is to gain responses, so this is an important metric to monitor, along with conversion rates and return on investment.

It’s not always easy to track response rates because not everyone acts straight away – longer term retention of your message could trigger contact at a later date. Using a time-limited or individually coded call to action can help, as can ensuring that customers are routinely asked what prompted their contact.


What sort of response rates can you expect from direct mail? The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has found that response rates to direct mail (for B2B and B2C) can be 10-30 times higher than email, boasting an average 4.4% response rate, compared to email’s average rate of 0.12%. Research suggests that 7% of recipients will take some sort of action – visiting your website for example, even if this does not offer a traceable conversion.

But there are many other factors that may affect response rates, including the targeting of your audience, how personal your communication is, the timing and strength of your offering, message and copy.  And response rates and ROI are not the only valuable aim of direct mail – customer retention, brand awareness or customer education are other important reasons to send a DM campaign.

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