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The average direct mail conversion rate.

Average Direct Mail Conversion Rate - image


Direct mail is a funny thing. Early in our career, we loved direct mail because it was one of the more measurable marketing mediums. We still do love direct mail for this reason and doing personalized campaigns have helped get better responses. Also adding landing pages behind the campaign has helped to measure and qualify your prospects.

I guess the thing that is so funny is how people use these response rate percentages to guarantee their success. You do need to shoot for something, but new direct marketers rely to heavily on these numbers sometimes. I would say that if you truly understand direct mail and know how to maximize every aspect in an expert way than you should be able to reach a 1% response rate. However in this day and age of getting a 1% can be a difficult thing to do.

From a marketing standpoint the great thing about this is that using numbers like this builds failure into the campaign. Since 99% of the campaign is not even expected to work. Building failure into the process is very valuable because you can learn a lot from your marketing failures. This will help your follow-up campaign get better results.

Ok so realistically a lot of companies are getting less than a 1% response rate on their direct mail so what is direct mail conversion rate? Well the conversion rate is the next number to track.

Here is an example.

  • Let's say you are mailing 5000 postcards.

  • 1% response rate would be 50 people that have made contact somehow, by phone, email, landing page, etc.

  • Let's say your sales team is good and they close 20% of these responses. That means you now have 10 new clients.

The direct mail conversion rate has
a lot of variables to consider:

  • How qualified the leads are - quality mailing list are huge
  • How good is the offer you are making 
  • How good is the sales person working the lead
  • How fast you act on the lead
  • How strong your brand is - this helps the prospects trust level be higher

These are just a few of the items you need to understand before you look at a standard direct mail conversion rate. Honestly the only true way to know this is by building a campaign and trying it out. Typically we shoot for at least a 20% for our clients campaigns. However focus on the failure of the first campaign and see if you do reach a 1% response rate and a 20% conversion rate. If you missed any of these marks, ask yourself why? Evaluate the successes and failures you had on this campaign.

Start developing the follow-up campaign and make some changes and see whether you are having more success or more failure. Then evaluate why and where and what would have effected this. This is the true process for a successful direct mail campaign. Do not stick all your eggs in one basket and just hope and pray that you are going to have an 80% conversion rate on your first direct mail campaign. Instead, use this to start creating your baseline to measure against.

I know a lot of companies here these numbers and start spending the money they think their new campaign is going to generate. This is a big mistake. Another mistake is not hiring a professional. Do not go to these quickie all in one places and expect huge success. We know the post office offers this type of service, and they may make it easy to do something, but the effectiveness will be much less than hiring an actual professional.

We wish you all high response rates and better yet high conversion rates with your direct mail campaigns.

Check out our Driect Mail ROI Calculator to learn more about what to expect from your direct mail campaigns.

Good Luck and Happy Mailing!




Posted by: Dale Berkebile

Tags: , ,


When using direct mail make sure you have an idea of what the Long Term Value of a new customer is, and what is an acceptable cost to acquire these new customers.  
Some people new to direct marketing use direct mail one time and say it didn't work for them because the amount of initial sales from new customers didn't pay for the mailing.  
Yet if they figured in how much a new customer would spend over the next year or years, they may find out that the effort was hugely successful. 
If you are looking for direct mail marketing statistics to plan a successful marketing campaign, two studies are available from the National Mail Order Association, NMOA. They are, the DMA Statistical Fact Book, and the Response Rate Trends Report,

posted @ Saturday, January 23, 2010 9:59 AM by John Schulte

These are some excellent points you bring up. It is true that by doing direct mail on an ongoing basis you build brand awareness that is hard to calculate a hard number on. I think as with any kind of marketing keeping things going on a regular basis, maybe quarterly mailers, really helps build a strong presence in the mind of prospects. It is part of the drip marketing of staying in front of people on a regular basis and hitting them when they have the problem your company solves. Thank you for sharing these ideas John.

posted @ Saturday, January 23, 2010 10:32 AM by Dale Berkebile

Another good way to give your response rates a boost is to use personal urls. An example of a Personal URL would be: and when "Jim" visits his personal url, the website will usually be customized to him. It also allows the marketer to track who is responding. Learn more at:

posted @ Wednesday, January 27, 2010 11:10 PM by Marty Thomas

You are correct. PURLS can boost response rates. We have seen some impressive things in the past few years. It has been tough for some clients to buy into this service in our experience, but we think Personal URL's will really change DM once it fully catches on. Of course the people that are doing it now are leading the way and will have better success now than when everyone does fully start using this type of program - in our opinion. Thanks for sharing Marty.

posted @ Thursday, January 28, 2010 7:34 AM by Dale Berkebile

Comments have been closed for this article.



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