Direct Mail: The Importance of Measuring Results


The-importance-of-measuring-resultsNobody does direct mail just for the fun of it or because they don’t have enough to do. Companies and organizations engage in direct mail activities in order to generate leads and to make sales (or bring in donations). They do it to get results.

It’s unfortunate, however, that many businesses and organizations don’t grasp the importance of measuring those results—or of recording them accurately.  What that means is that they don’t really know if their direct mail efforts are paying off or not.

There are actually two major reasons why it’s important to measure your direct mail results. One is to determine the financial impact of your efforts: How many leads did your mailing generate? What did it cost to generate each lead? Did you generate revenues from your mailing? How much did you bring in? What did it cost you to bring in each dollar of revenue?

There is, however, another important reason to track and measure your results. Tracking results can teach you a lot. And while you may not be able to attach a dollar figure to this information immediately, the financial impact down the road can be significant.

What are some of the things you can (and should) measure? Here’s a short list.

List performance

If you carefully segment and track your lists you can identify which ones perform best. You don’t want to keep mailing to unresponsive lists. Not only are you not getting your money’s worth from the list rental, but you’re also paying for printing, postage and mailing without getting a return.

Offer performance

While it’s important to keep mailing (one-shot mailings rarely pay off), you don’t have to keep doing the same thing over and over. Tracking and measuring how different offers perform can let you adjust your mailings to better fit your audience—and improve your response.

Package design

You can change the design—or even the content—of your mailing. You can experiment with different elements such as lift letters, other inserts, colors, photographs or illustrations. You can even test a multiple component package against a simple card mailing.


In some industries, timing is everything. There is a reason that catalogers do their big mailings a few months before Christmas. Many non-profits find that end-of-the-year mailings bring good results because people are doing their end-of-year charitable giving to avoid paying taxes.

All of these things can contribute to improved performance on future mailing. But if you don’t measure them, you’re just guessing. Measuring gives you hard data for making future decisions.

But even if you’re successful with your direct mail efforts, it’s virtually impossible for a company to survive today by doing just direct mail. You need to integrate your mailings with your other marketing efforts. Download our free Best Direct Mail Practices in an Evolving Multi-Channel Marketplace eBook to see how you can accomplish that!

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