Direct Mail

Campaign Tracking: Questions, Strategies, and Tactics

We all know that direct mail still works. And that the United States Postal Service is not going out of business. But in this multichannel digital driven society; how do we ensure that we are eliciting the response we need to justify the investment in direct mail? The answer is campaign tracking!

In Craig Simpson’s article Tracking Your Direct Mail Campaigns he discusses the questions we need to ask, the strategies we need to implement for experimentation, and the response tactics we need to implore with every direct mail piece.

Questions to Ask

Simpson suggests that the three questions to answer with your campaign tracking are:

  • Was the investment worth it?
  • Which mail piece had more response? This could be comparing two different mail pieces you send simultaneously or contrasting your new mail piece to a standard design that consistently has the best response return.
  • Which mailing list has a higher response rate? You might further this inquiry with; does a certain mailing list (audience) respond better to a certain type of mail piece, offer or call to action?

Strategies for Experimenting

Instead of sending one mail piece to one mailing list, try sending two different mail pieces to several unique mailing lists.  If you are testing a new mail piece, make sure that the targeting of your mailing list is spot on. Use lists that have produced successful returns for you in the past.  If you are testing a new mailing list or marketing segment, use a mail piece you have tracked exceptional engagement rates with consistently, your standard, go-to mail piece.

Tactics to Implore

Every single mail piece needs a tangible way to be tracked.  With multiple channels in this digital world, every response medium available to the recipient also needs a unique way to be tracked.

It can be simplified into two forms of tracking tactics:

  1. Campaign Tracking Codes

    Put a tracking code on the mail piece somewhere, and include it also on order cards and coupons. The code might be different for each; mail piece, order card, and coupon depending on how detailed you want to track your return. How many recipients used the coupon versus the order card, etc.? Make sure call takers are trained to ask for the tracking code when recipients call in to redeem your direct mail offer.  (Check out ANS’ Campaign Trakker tool, here.)

  1. Dedicated URLs/Landing Pages

    Whether it’s an actual personalized URL the recipient is typing into a web browser, they are scanning a QR code or texting for opt-in the easiest way to track the response is for the link to take them to a dedicated landing page instead of directly to the homepage of your website. This allows you to know that every single hit to that landing page came from a specific direct mail campaign.

Without gathering data, you will not know if your direct mail campaigns are engaging the recipients in response.  Instead, you are blindly sending mail into the mailbox abysses and potentially throwing money away with no confirmation of whether the campaign created revenue or determined your loss.

By Emily White, Creative Specialist at American Name Services


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