6 Tips to Improve Response Rates

The objective of print marketing and direct mail is to generate response, which in turn will hopefully lead to customer retention and loyalty. Often, businesses will spend a lot of money on a print marketing campaign and disregard the key drivers for response, resulting in a low ROI.

There are some ways to help improve response. Try these out on your next print marketing campaign!

1. Keep it Simple

Leonardo da Vinci said that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Remember that consumers spend 2-5 seconds with a mail piece before they make the decision to regard or disregard. Don’t convolute your mail piece with a foggy message and unmotivated Call to Action. Keep it simple, but clearly state what you are offering or how you want the consumer to act.

2. Have a Deadline

Urgency sells! Consumers tend to disregard an offer if they think they can react later. By putting a time limit on your mail piece, consumers are urged to act fast and take advantage of your offer before it is too late. Phrases such as “24-Hour Sale!”, “One Time Only”, “Limited Time Offer” or an expiration date are all key drivers for improving response rates.

3. Test It Out

Be vigilant about testing your campaign. On your second and third rounds of your campaign, change something about the mail piece. This could include changing the outer envelope, the reply piece or adding more color, just to name a few. You can also try adjusting the offer. Did this new offer perform better than your previous offer? Make sure to continually evaluate the results of your print marketing campaign.

4. Color Sells

Utilize color in the best way possible! Color can call attention to the piece. Make sure to use the right color for the right thing, as certain colors evoke certain emotions that can make or break your mail piece. Use colors that complement your brand and create visual consistency across all of your platforms.

5. Use Proven Techniques

  • Try some of these techniques from representatives of the USPS to help generate higher response rates.
  • Yes/No response offers usually outperform offers without a No response.
  • A negative option offer may outperform a positive option offer.
  • An offer with a time limit normally outperforms that without one.
  • An offer with a free gift usually outperform discount offers, especially when the gift closely matches the prospect’s interest.
  • Envelope packages normally outpull self-mailers.
  • Sweepstakes usually increase order volume, especially for impulse items. (Caution – sweepstakes customers are usually not loyal customers)
  • Benefits outperform features.

6. Hit all 3 components of Direct Marketing

  • Make a compelling offer
  • Provide enough information for immediate consumer acceptance of the offer
  • Provide a user-friendly mechanism for responding to the offer