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Powerful Methods for Tracking the Effectiveness of Direct Mail.

Direct mail campaigns have long been a staple in the marketing arsenal of businesses looking to connect with their target…

Powerful Methods for Tracking the Effectiveness of Direct Mail

29th April 2024

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Direct mail campaigns have long been a staple in the marketing arsenal of businesses looking to connect with their target audience in an authentic and meaningful way. Royal Mail Marketreach research shows that direct mail is the communication channel with the highest engagement rate, a whopping 95%.

While direct mail remains a trusted strategy, there are certain intricacies when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of campaigns, and by mastering them, marketers can achieve better results.

David Beasley, director at Washington Direct Mail said: “Tracking the effectiveness of direct mail services is crucial for businesses as it helps them better understand how various elements of their campaigns are perceived and engaged by their audience in order to drive accurate reporting and help optimise them and achieve a better return of investment. 2024 is all about targeted campaigns, and with the use of smart tools and big data, marketers can create outstanding campaigns that are both effective and budget-friendly while meeting all KPIs. It all starts with having the right set of tools to measure direct mail’s effectiveness.”

The formula for measuring direct mail’s effectiveness

The success of direct marketing for businesses from various industries is unquestionable and has been so for decades. A third of campaigns that use direct mail as part of their marketing mix have experienced an increase in revenue, and 35% have seen an increase in ROI, according to WARC’s study. Additionally, 35% of consumers have been inspired to make a purchase, a payment or donation in the last year from receiving a piece of direct mail, according to IPA Touchpoints.

Success in direct mail marketing is a unique journey for each business. For some, the goal might be driving more traffic to their website. Others might be on a quest for more leads, while some businesses might be focused on boosting sales revenue. Each objective requires a different approach and measurement strategy.

Depending on your business’ objective, the key performance indicators (KPIs) and the tools you will use for measuring their success will vary. Some of the main KPIs to consider include response rate, conversion rate, cost per acquisition (CPA), average revenue per order, and return on investment (ROI).

Top tracking tools and methods

QR codes

Beasley said: “QR codes are an echo of the modern technological inventions, and they are increasingly gaining traction. As a mailing house, we have noticed a boom among companies utilising the potential of QR codes.”

Quick Response (QR) codes allow marketers to measure the number of people visiting the website or acting on a call-to-action after scanning the QR code. It also encourages engagement, bridging the gap between physical and digital marketing.

This provides a measurable interaction point and allows businesses to gather valuable data on customer behaviour.

Beasley continued: “Building and refining a database of your customers, including their behaviour, goals, and needs, will help you deliver hyper-personalised messages centred around human connection. For an effective direct mail campaign, you need to understand all aspects of your audience before sending direct mail.”

Discount codes

Beasley said: “Discount codes work well with direct mail marketing, as recipients love a freebie. They encourage recipients to make a purchase, visit a store, or engage with a specific promotion. By checking the redemption of these codes, businesses can directly attribute sales to their direct mail efforts.

“However, it’s important to consider that not all campaigns will have direct purchase outcomes, and some might result in indirect purchases or intangible benefits such as new prospects, customer satisfaction, and data accuracy, which should also be included in calculating actual ROI.”


Beasley said: “Including a specific URL on a direct mail marketing that leads to a custom landing page allows businesses to track the responses and gain an insight into the impact of their campaigns.

“The best thing to do is to create a custom URL specific to the campaign, which helps measure the campaign’s effectiveness through the site’s analytics.”

Personalised URLs for each recipient are also a great way to track online interactions on a more granular level and increase the effectiveness of direct mail campaigns, as each URL is tailored to individual needs and preferences.

Phone number

Phone numbers are one of the oldest and easiest methods for measuring direct mail’s effectiveness. A phone number provides a direct and immediate means for recipients to respond to the campaign and, in return, allows marketers to track responses.

Marketers can either set up a dedicated phone number for the marketing campaign or use the services of a call tracking software company which provides detailed analytics, including call duration, location, and caller demographics. This data can be used to gain insights into the audience and better tailor future campaigns. If a campaign includes a specific call to action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a service, phone numbers allow for direct tracking of conversions.


Direct mail remains a powerful tool in the marketing mix, and tracking its effectiveness is essential for maximising ROI. By embracing methods such as QR codes, discount codes, URLs and phone numbers, businesses can gain valuable insights into their direct mail campaigns. Integrating data analytics empowers marketers to refine their strategies and deliver more targeted and impactful direct mail initiatives in the ever-evolving marketing landscape.

Categories: Articles, Creative

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