1860391 / Pixabay

Direct mail. We’ve all gotten it. Whether you like it, or refer to it as “junk mail,” you may still question why companies continue to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on direct mail campaigns when the world of marketing continues to gravitate towards digital advertising.

Contrary to popular belief, direct mail marketing is not dead. In fact, some may argue the “junk” advertisers send you is as strong a marketing tool as anything used today; however, with any marketing campaign, there is one thing all marketers want to know: ROI. Understanding what impact was made to drive business to the organization is critical, and the secret to capturing direct mail ROI is inbound calls.

Direct Mail is Alive and Well

In a survey conducted by BIA/Kelsey, 66.3% of small- and medium-sized businesses shared they’d be investing in direct mail advertising in 2017, which led all other promotional media tools, including Facebook ads, video, and email. Why is this? It could be that direct mail remains the best channel for response rates, receiving an average of 4.4% compared to email’s 0.12%. And when compared to online display, direct mail saw an average response rate 10–30x higher.

Despite the reality that technology and digital advertising have integrated themselves into nearly every aspect of our lives, there remains one intangible value direct mail will always have over digital ads: it’s real. We’ve held it, shipped it, and received it our whole lives. Direct mail has mass to it, creating a stronger perceived value because we as humans appreciate the ability to hold something in our hands. This is particularly true for millennials; based on a study, 36% of people under the age of 30 look forward to checking their mailboxes every day. And with millennials expected to share a combined $1.4 trillion in spending power by 2020, this demographic cannot be ignored.

Calling All Direct Mail Marketers

Okay, you’re convinced: direct mail matters. So how do you measure ROI? An important part of that answer is inbound calls. Every successful marketer knows, a strong call-to-action (CTA) is key to enticing a customer to respond to your promotion or advertisement, and with direct mail, that CTA is often to call the business. By replacing the phone number in your direct mail campaigns with trackable phone numbers from a call analytics solution, you are able to track the volume, quality, and conversion rates associated with those phone leads. And that data is critical to measuring the true ROI of each direct mail campaign and variation in each market.

Along with granular call tracking data, trackable phone numbers enable you to optimize your direct mail spend by gaining insight into what messaging resonates most with your audience and reallocating your spend to prioritize that content. These tracking numbers also allow versatility in your mailing approach. Test different designs or messaging variations on postcards, letters, and other promotional pieces to develop a better understanding of what is driving the most sales.

Pel Hughes, a printing and marketing services provider, used trackable phone numbers in direct mail campaigns for a Texas-based utilities company. That call tracking data measured a 100% leap in response rates for this utilities company’s monthly 500,000-piece direct mail campaign, helping Pel Hughes prove their ROI to their client.

Using trackable numbers in direct mail also gives marketers access to what happens on the call through call recordings and transcriptions. And, if you select a call tracking vendor that has conversation analytics tools, you can automate that analysis to discover not only which sources are driving the most calls, but which calls are good sales leads and convert to appointments and revenue. You can also analyze what the caller said on the call and how the agent or location performed for insights to improve your marketing and conversion rates over the phone.

In a consumer-driven world, marketing best practices shift as consumer behavior changes, making it important to keep up with the latest marketing trends. If your company values phone calls, strengthen not only your direct mail efforts but your marketing strategy as a whole by gaining critical insights from these conversations. Track leads and conversion rates of direct mail campaigns, and optimize your approach to better market to your target audience. Will 2018 be the year of direct mail? We’ll soon find out.