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How to Supercharge Direct Mail Campaigns with Call Tracking

min read
How to Supercharge Direct Mail Campaigns with Call Tracking

Summer is right around the corner and all the promotional mailers you’re going to receive for Fourth of July Sales and Hot August Nights are probably on the presses as we speak. Yes, the tried and true direct mail, aka snail mail, is still quite the reliable strategy even in this digital age. In this post, we’ve taken a deep dive into how you can track your direct mail campaigns, make them more effective, and get accurate attribution for sales.

What Is Direct Mail Marketing?

Direct mail marketing is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a targeted advertising strategy that involves sending physical promotions like postcards, brochures, or catalogs, directly to potential customers' mailboxes. Very well known brands have been able to rely almost solely on direct mail campaigns to promote their products and services.  If you’ve heard of RH, aka Restoration Hardware, they have no social media presence and rely only on direct mail catalogs, email, and their website because their products are able to speak for themselves. Do your products or services? 

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 than 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.

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.

The Top 5 Advantages of Direct Mail Campaigns

1. It's Interactive: Direct mail is a more engaging strategy than email. It provides your potential customers with a tangible item that they can touch and feel. It can also include a call to action to help them reach one of your contact center agents or your website. 

2 It's Memorable: Direct mail is your business’s opportunity to create a genuine connection with a potential customer. By including personalization and including a hand signature, or at least having it printed so that it looks like one, your audience will appreciate the extra effort, versus an automated email.  

3. It Allows for Universal Outreach: Not everyone in your audience is on social media or uses email. And even if they do, platforms have ways of detecting promotional emails and sending them directly to spam folders. We’ve yet to see a mailbox that can do that, so direct mail is another way of targeting the audience you’re missing via email. 

4. It Allows You to Flex Your Creativity: This is another opportunity to showcase your business’s product or service capabilities and how they differ from your competitors. Get to the point, create a sense of urgency, and make it attention grabbing before your mailer ends up in the recycling! 

5. It's a Competitive Differentiator: Trends tend to be cyclical, and come and go in waves. Right now, an increasing number of companies are shifting towards the digital space, making the direct mail strategy more of an opportunity. Combining the suggestions we mentioned above will allow you to make a lasting impression that effectively promotes your business. 

10 Quick Direct Mail Campaign Tips to Drive More Revenue

1. Use QR Codes: Include a QR code on your mailer materials! This will allow your recipients to easily navigate to your business’s website without having to retype it manually. 

2. Set Up the Right Tracking & Monitoring: To add onto the QR code, including some sort of identifier will allow your teams to properly measure response rates, conversions, and the ROI on your direct mail initiatives. For example, a trackable phone number!

3. Take Advantage of USPS Promotions: You have to appreciate the irony that the USPS has promotions that your business can use for its own direct mail promotions. They have discounts on sensory, tactile, and interactive promotions, mobile shopping promotions, personalized color promotions, and more! 

4. Make Your Offers Seem Exclusive: By now, it’s safe to say the modern audience is pretty savvy to the “trick of the trade” when it comes to digital ads, so creating offers that are only available through your direct mail collateral may make them feel “special” enough to convert. 

5. Audit Your Mail List Health: This goes for both direct mail and email initiatives. Doing some clean up and eliminating the people that just aren’t engaging or responding will allow your teams to focus their efforts on those that are and make better use of their time. 

6. Personalize Your Materials: Creating tailored messaging will resonate more with your potential customers, which will increase the chances of conversion and revenue generation. 

7. Use an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy: Including direct mail marketing will allow your business to add another tool in its marketing tool box if you’re already utilizing email and social media to promote your product or service.  

8. Do Regular A/B Testing: Just as your social media, website, and emails need tweaking, your direct mail may need it as well. Make sure to track what’s working well, what’s not, and why with your direct mail. Feedback from your internal UX/UI members as an extra set of eyes might be helpful as well. 

9. Get the Timing Right: Figuring out just the right amount of days before a special event, like a holiday, to send a direct mailer is important. You don’t want to send it so soon that it ends up under a fridge magnet and forgotten, and you also don’t want to send it too late that the offer you’re promoting expires. 

10. Use Eye-Catching Visuals: Use attention-grabbing headlines and eye-catching visuals to capture the recipient's interest right from the start, ensuring that your direct mail piece stands out among the pile of other mail they receive.

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 call tracking technology like Invoca.

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.

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.

  1. Keep your promo URL simple, e.g. hardwarestore.com/fridgesale NOT hardwarestore.com/refrigeratorsale/promos?ABC123purplemonkeydishwasher 
  2. 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. 
  3. Using a unique promo code will allow you to track sales using the code in your CRM.
  4. 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.

Additional Reading

Want to learn more about how Invoca can help you drive more leads from your marketing campaigns? Check out these resources:

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