Direct Mail

Direct Mail: How to Track Response Rates

In spite of the rise of digital and social media marketing, we emphatically announce, “Direct mail is not dead!” In fact, direct mail still produces a 5.1% response rate. To put that in perspective, the DMA (Data & Marketing Association) reports that the response rates of email and social media marketing are 0.5% and 0.2%, respectively. It’s no wonder with an improved response rate of more than 10x, direct mail is still the marketing method of choice for those looking to fill their events with attendees.

While we’re happy when the end goal is achieved and events have large numbers of attendees, it’s crucial to know which mailing lists ushered in the success. If we want to have repeated success, there are three methods of tracking direct mail response rates—URL links, phone numbers, and keycodes.

top response rate tracking methods for direct mail

URL Links

In the case that your event attendees should register online, create unique URL links for each list you send to. This can either be done by creating a separate landing page link for each list you are mailing to or, if you are wanting to direct registrants to your existing webpage, you can create separate UTM links. UTM links allow you to use Google analytics to track traffic going to your website. Utilizing a free service like can keep your URL simple and easy to manually input.

Phone Numbers

If you prefer individuals register via telephone, assign a different phone number for each mailing list. Make sure whoever answers the phone keeps a record of calls from each line so your tracking efforts aren’t in vain.

Key Codes

Another helpful way to track response rates is by assigning unique key codes to each list you send to. A keycode is a series of numbers and letters associated with a particular list. At ANS we typically use a series two letters and three numbers to make keycodes (see below).

key code sample

When you order data for your next event campaign, as the data company to assign unique keycodes for each list you send to. These keycodes can be used as a registration or discount code, and allow you to track which registrants came from which list. If the keycode is used online, individuals can input it as a promo code. If the keycode is given over the phone, the keycode use for each registrant should be carefully recorded.

When you order the data for your campaign, ask the list company to assign keycodes to each list. This will allow you to track which list a contact came from. A keycode is a series of numbers and letters associated with a particular list. At ANS we typically use a series two letters and three numbers to make keycodes.

Planning Direct Mail Response Tracking

Why is it so important to plan and utilize response tracking? Without it, you will be unable to know which lists should be attributed to your success. This means the next time you employ direct mail in an event marketing campaign, you will need to gamble as to which lists were most effective. With response tracking, you will be able to continually replicate campaign success.

If direct mail response tracking is unfamiliar, but you want to ensure future well-attended future events, ANS is excited to help you plan and implement the best tracking method for your campaign. For more information or to get started, email us at

Updated by Brawn Baker 10/1/18

2 thoughts on “Direct Mail: How to Track Response Rates

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *