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4 Reasons People Aren't Responding to Your Direct Mail
Direct Mail
January 12, 2023

4 Reasons People Aren't Responding to Your Direct Mail

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Imagine that you've just spent months preparing a direct mail campaign. You're laser-focused on improving your conversion rate — and you've agonized over every detail to improve your engagement.

Then, you launch your campaign and are disappointed by the results. That gut-wrenching scene is something many marketing professionals who've deployed a campaign are familiar with. For many, it's enough to get them to throw in the towel using direct mail.

But this isn't a result of the channel. Instead, cases like these often come down to teams not being plugged into modern methods of improving direct mail engagement.

Learn four of the most common ways we see direct mail campaigns stumble and go unread. Plus, how to avoid these pitfalls and improve your direct mail conversion rates.

Reason 1: You're not using address verification

Much of the prospect, customer, and address data marketers are working with today can be dated, contradict other records, and contain basic errors like typos. More than ever, address verification is essential to improving direct mail engagement.

Address verification solutions allow teams to systematically correct typos, validate the deliverability of an address, and view metadata. This will enable you to better categorize and analyze customer behavior and interests. As a result, you can avoid wasting mailers, delivery, and tracking resources. Less mail sent to dead addresses, nonexistent locations, or low-value targets means more mail that boosts ROI!

Another feature of address verification is running addresses through the NCOA or National Change of Address service to reduce the chance mail is sent to the wrong recipient as well as reduce Return to Sender (RTS) rates. We’ve found that customers using our Address Verification solutions see an average RTS rate of 2% or less, compared to the industry average of 5-10%.

Failing to use address verification can easily lower a direct mail campaign's efficacy and ROI. In addition, it also forces teams to waste time on manual entry for data and addresses. Teams can instead spend that time on delivering creative, targeted campaigns that drive results.

Recommended reading: 7 Intriguing Ways to Use Address Verification

Reason 2: Your format doesn't match your demographic

In our State of Direct Mail: Consumer Insights report, we found that the most popular format for direct mail overall was catalogs and magazines, with 53% listing this format as the one they most prefer.

But this stat belies further findings in our report - namely, that the format people want varies heavily based on the demographic in question. For example, we found that people aged 18-34 are significantly more likely to prefer letters and envelopes to those aged 35 or over - by contrast, those aged 35-54 ranked postcards as their preferred format for direct mailers.

However, the picture gets significantly more complex once you break down preferences by industry. For example, while retail saw the majority (53%) cite catalogs and magazines as their preferred mailer format, financial services saw the most popular design for mailers as letters and envelopes (48%).

When you bring that together, it becomes clear that every industry's demographics will likely have distinct preferences for direct mailers. So along with targeting your copy, you also need to target your formatting.

Reason 3: You're not doing enough testing

Every marketer knows that testing is king, but a pitfall is thinking that the medium is too limited regarding testing opportunities. Testing doesn't just need to be a digital-only activity! Direct mail campaigns can include strategies to replicate the attribution model from email or social media campaigns. These include customized CTAs such as URLs, QR codes, and phone numbers.

Improving direct mail engagement and conversion in today's market also requires A/B testing. You should also be open to industry-leading measurement methods like cohort analysis, where you create control groups and testing groups to sample the efficacy of a campaign.

Recommended reading: 6 Strategies for A/B Testing Your Direct Mail

Reason 4: Your offer isn’t compelling

Similar to points one and two on this list, you need to reach the right audience but you also need to reach them with the right message. By having the right automation triggers in place, you can ensure your direct mail campaigns are targeted and relevant based on customer or prospect actions or form fills.

This point also related to A/B testing, as you should always be testing your offer to understand what promotions get people to take action. Is it a percentage off? Free shipping? A gift with purchase? Test your offers and its format to find the winning formula for your customers.

Improve direct mail response rates with Lob

If you're hitting a wall in your direct mail campaign, it's not an issue with the channel itself. Most marketers agree with that assessment. Our 2022 State of Direct Mail report showed that 67% of marketers believe direct mail delivers the highest ROI of any channel.

So if you're having trouble getting people to read and engage with your direct mail campaigns, it's worth considering where you may fall short and understanding how you can build a strategy to improve your address verification, design, testing, and marketing offer.

If you want to dive deep into ways to improve direct mail engagement and conversion, the Lob team can also help you. Sign up or contact Lob today.

Curious about how direct mail marketing can help you crush your ROI goals? Download your copy of our eBook: The Modern Marketer's Guide to Crush ROI & Budget Goals with Direct Mail.

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