Let’s face it: Not every mailing you send out will be an unmitigated success. There will be times when you simply don’t get the results you hoped for. But that doesn’t mean that you should simply turn your back on that effort and never think about it again.
When you track your direct mail results (and you need to make sure you’re doing this!), don’t focus exclusively on the numbers. Sure it’s important to measure response and revenue and return on investment. You should do that. (By the way, if you’re looking for ways to record responses this post has helpful suggestions for tracking of direct mail campaign results.)
But you also need to be recording what you learn. Every mailing presents a significant learning opportunity—especially mailings that seem like they blew up in your face. If a campaign didn’t perform the way you expected, try to figure out why. Look at your list. Were you mailing to the right people? How closely did your audience match your ideal customer profile?
Was your offer compelling, or did it lack value for your audience? Was the offer clear and was it easy for people to respond? Was your “back end” glitch-free or did people run into problems when they tried to respond.
What about your package? Did the way you presented the information make the message clear—or did you let cute and clever ideas get in the way of the message?
Finally, look at timing. Was something else going on that kept people from responding? Did your mailing hit on a holiday when people were busy? Were there events that were beyond your control?
Even if a mailing blows up in your face and doesn’t generate the response you expected, that doesn’t mean it’s a complete failure. Your job is to measure what you can, review the results and then adjust your next mailing accordingly. That’s the slow and sure way to direct mail success.