The holiday shopping season is upon us and that means running promotions for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Super Saturday, and the bevy of other special shopping days that come between now and the new year. While many efforts are directed at digital, good old direct mail is still an effective way of driving sales, especially now that we’re all a lot closer to our mailboxes this season. Here’s how you can track your direct mail campaigns, make them more effective, and get accurate attribution for sales.
Is direct mail still effective?
Snail mail may seem about as high-tech as a typewriter, but when letters drop through the mail slot, consumers pay far more attention that when emails hit their inbox. According to MailChimp data, the email marketing click-through rate (CTR) across nearly 50 industries is about 2.6%, with open rates around 21%. Not bad, right? When you consider that direct mail response rates are between 5% to 9% and that 42% of direct mail recipients either read or scan the mail they get, it pales in comparison. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure my eyeballs would fire out of my head if I ever saw a 42% open rate on a marketing email I sent.
While those are some eye-opening stats, in the real world, we know that direct mail costs far more than email to produce and send. However, direct mail produces a median 23% ROI, trailing only email and social media marketing and beating out display advertising by a significant margin.
In this video, you’ll see how Dell proved the ROI of one of its direct mail campaigns.
Your marketing may be digital-first, but that does not mean that it has to be digital-only. Just like you wouldn’t only run a Facebook campaign and call it a day, direct mail must work in concert with other offline and online channels to be a valuable part of your integrated marketing strategy.
How to Track Direct Mail Campaigns & Prove ROI
While direct mail is an effective channel, it also poses an age-old challenge. How can marketers prove the value of direct mail promotions and optimize the most effective campaigns? When you are dealing with a piece of paper that can drive people to call your business or go to your website to make a purchase, it can make attribution a challenge. Here’s how to get attribution for either channel.
Use Call Tracking Software to Track Direct Mail Effectiveness
If you’re using direct mail to drive sales calls, you need to connect the calls and the call outcomes to each promotion. The most accurate way to get attribution for phone sales from direct mail is to use technology like Invoca’s Active Conversation Intelligence platform.
This allows you to use a unique tracking phone number for each campaign or mailer, or even further slice and dice your attribution data by prospect vs. win-back segments, pricing/packaging/bundling, language, region, or demographic segments. Access to these attributes means you can analyze response rate behavior for a particular segment of the population then hone in on the ones that are more effective and stop wasting valuable marketing budget on those that are underperforming. This is done by using unique tracking numbers for each of your audiences on the mailers.
When a call is placed to any of these tracking numbers, it is routed to your desired location or call center. Then, Invoca records data like the time and date of the call and automatically detects and reports the outcome of the call using advanced AI speech analytics. You can also assign revenue to particular call outcomes, allowing you to attribute revenue to each call. Better yet, this data can be pushed in real time to almost any other platform, such as Salesforce or Google Analytics, allowing you to create more precise and detailed customer records and track your offline conversions in your desired platform.
When using Invoca with direct mail, you may also find some surprising results like Dell did with its promotions. Watch this video to see how they used Invoca conversation intelligence for direct mail and what they discovered.
Before testing their direct mail with Invoca, Dell thought that some of their direct mail promotions were ineffective to the point that they would never do them again. To their surprise, they found that people were not only hanging on to postcards for weeks before calling to make a purchase. Without Invoca, they never would have noticed the call and sales spike that occurred weeks after sending the mailers out, because they would not have been looking for it that far out.
Attributing Direct Mail to Website Purchases
Getting attribution for direct mail promotions on your website can be tricky because the customer can take many paths to subvert your tracking efforts. But you can take a few steps to minimize the chances of this and get accurate attribution for direct mail-driven sales that happen online.
- Keep your promo URL simple, e.g. hardwarestore.com/fridgesale NOT hardwarestore.com/refrigeratorsale/promos?ABC123purplemonkeydishwasher
- Redirect your promo URL using a query string to track in Google Analytics. If you just do a straight redirect, Google cannot track where that redirect came from and will only track the final page visited, which does you no good for attribution. Query strings are simple to set up and this blog post explains it very clearly.
- Using a unique promo code will allow you to track sales using the code in your CRM.
- Don’t run the same promo on your website that you ran in your DM campaign at the same time. This will help you determine how effective the DM piece is without any extra variables.
Now you should be ready to hit some analog inboxes with more successful direct mail campaigns. Have a happy and safe holiday season!