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Different Types of Direct Mail generate different Direct Marketing Results

One of the most important features of direct business mail is the rate of response that is generated by the mailing. However, figures differ greatly on the type of mail and the type of audience. Here are three typical examples of direct mail that have totally different goals and expectations.

The aim of a local authority sending out an information pack regarding the affects of a new rate of council tax is to inform rather than to sell. Promotional mail containing special offer vouchers sent to local customers by a new store opening in town has a totally different goal. And a business promoting its service to another business has different expectations again.

Response Rates – What to expect

Over the years, the main source of statistics for Business Mail has been organisations such as the Direct Marketing Association and comment from other informed direct marketing sources can be found on the internet.

Figures change year on year as trends change and new marketing ideas come to the fore. However, many of the rules have remained fairly constant and the most important thing to remember is quite simple. The more you put into your promotion, the more you will get out of it.

Typical Response Rates for Standard Business Mail – aka “Flat Mail”

The type of mail that we call “flat mail” tends to be used in informative mailings though the format is also sometimes used to send information pertaining to sales and promotions. A typical item of this type might be a plain white C4 envelope with a red business frank, containing a letter and a couple of leaflets.

The format is designed only to deliver from A to B and offers little to encourage the addressee to open the envelope with any great level of expectation. Response rates generated by this type of presentation are reportedly in the region of 1% - 2%.

Get Better Response Results by “Beefing-Up” the Mailer

By making the envelope more attractive and giving the addressee a taste of the special offer contained within, the sender increases the chances of open and response quite dramatically and recent UK internet reports suggest that average response rates can be expected in the region of 3% - 4%.

Business to Business Campaigns Achieve Better Direct Mail Response

However, for those with a bigger budget and a need to create a bigger splash, there are ways to increase the success rate and impact of your direct mail. One very successful form of direct marketing is achieved by sending what is known as “Dimensional Mail”. This description is a simple deviation away from the type of mail that we referred to as “flat mail”. It is particularly popular within the business to business (B2B) direct marketing fraternity where it is known to bring some quite spectacular results.

Direct Marketing Response for “Dimensional Mail”

Our own company has a website of Pop-up Mailers which features many styles of promotional mailing pieces which fall into the category of “dimensional mail” and the success of this type of mail promotion is well-documented on our testimonials page. However, “Dimensional Mail” can be anything that is sent in a chunky pack rather than just an envelope.

Many B2B professionals send enticements such as executive gifts in this way. There are many reasons why it works. The initial effect is that a chunky pack arouses the curiosity of the addressee as it is just like receiving an unexpected gift. This guarantees that the pack will be opened with enthusiasm.

If you don’t have something different to say and a different way of presenting yourself, you’ll get quickly tossed aside. Larry Bauer

Response rates for this type of mailing vary greatly on how well the campaign has been planned. Results will definitely be better for a well thought-out and co-ordinated promotion. However, there are no hard and fast statistics to let you know what to expect as mail campaigns of this size differ so much from one to the next. The best that we can do is to show you some comments that can easily be found on the internet.

Response Rates for Dimensional Mail – Internet Sources

“Dimensional mail outperforms flat mail by huge numbers according to Research at Baylor University. It has 20 times the penetrating power of flat direct mail, boosts response rates by as much as 75% and scores 80% or better in generating positive opinions among recipients.”  William Levins

“Dimensional mailers also you to stand out among your competitors and some marketers have reported response rates of 25 to 50% from dimensional mail.” Janice Jenkins

“Unlike traditional direct mail pieces these hands-on pieces trigger a response rate that is 5 to 50 times the normal rate.” Craig Huey
“Last year, dimensional mail averaged the highest overall response rate of any direct response medium, according to the Direct Marketing Association's Response Rate Report, with campaigns for some businesses yielding astronomical response rates of close to 16 percent. (The average response rate for other direct mail last year was just 2.73 percent.)” Kim T. Gordon

“Response rates of 8-14% are common for dimensionals and some blockbusters get response rates as high as 20-30%!” John Kumpunen

“Response rates for the dimensional package recipients were 75% higher than for the group who received only a sales letter.”  Risinghill Marketing

“A marketer who used a dimensional slide-chart in a direct mail promotion reported response rates as high as 47 percent.” Cathie Smith

“Alpha Graphics scored an impressive 21-percent response rate by including dimensional mail in a recent multichannel campaign. 'It's more important than ever to do something unique in your approach that will attract consumer attention.”   Jesse Himsworth

“One client used our Postage-Saver Pop-Ups and the result was an 80% response rate - priceless.”  Mary Bittel

Response Rates are one thing but what about CONVERSION to SALES

Our own website can give some insight into the real success of dynamic pop-up mailers. Here are just a couple of comments from our list of genuine UK client testimonials.

“We have current figures showing a 9.6% uptake on the offer with new accounts opened and being used on a regular basis." Gemma Garrad

“The Box Office went crazy after the mailing and it increased our sales by 20% on the previous year.” Tracey Shaw

Conclusions to be drawn about Response rates for Direct Mail

The message appears to be simple. The better the direct mail campaign – the better the results. Much of what you do will be down to the purpose of the mailing and the size of your budget but there are still plenty of things that you can do without breaking the bank. The internet is awash with advice on how to write a good letter and that you should always include a call-to-action.