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6 Ways to Improve Response Rates

6 Ways You Can Improve Your Direct Mail Response Rates

Direct mail provides a tangible impression of your brand to both current and prospective customers — an impression that can make or break your future relationship with them. You need that impression to make a positive difference! You need to maximize your response rates for each direct mail campaign.

But how do you ensure your mail stands out in a customer’s mailbox? How can you best use your mailing list even before your design hits the press? And how do you plan to track the success of your campaign?

Here are six ways you can improve the response rates on your direct mail campaigns, including eye-catching formats, improved design and messaging, and personalization methods to accurately measure your audience’s response.

Use stand-out direct mail formats to capture your audience’s attention 

  1. Unique shapes and sizes

You want to avoid using direct mail that just looks like another bill in your customer’s mailbox. Try the bread and butter of direct mail marketing: postcards. Postcards can easily catch a reader’s eye with colorful visuals and bold copy. Set your business even further apart from the rest by designing postcards that are unique shapes, or that are non-standard in size. Remember, commanding your audience’s attention is a crucial first step in earning a response. Large and personalized envelopes are another direct mail format shown to have increased response rates. 

  1. Key words that emphasize value

Brilliant images and creative graphics may spark your reader’s interest, but it’s important you speak to them as well. Regardless of your direct mail format and amount of copy, you should include as many key words as possible — words that resonate with your target audience. Consider highlighting these words and your call to action with bolded font or additional color. Ultimately, your message should emphasize the value of your business or product, as well as what you want your audience to do next. Doing so will ensure positive response rates that maximize the value of your direct mail campaign.

Tailor your direct mail marketing campaign to your mailing list

  1. Strategic use of fonts and color

At the end of the day, you want to distribute your direct mail to a strong, targeted mailing list. However, you can use your mailing list in more ways than one. In fact, your mailing list is an excellent resource for consumer research, allowing you to design direct mail that best appeals to your target audience. From thematic visuals to specific fonts and colors, you increase the chances your message will resonate with customers — and the likelihood they respond. For different customer profiles, inline printing is a cost-effective choice to print direct mail variations that resonate with each group, increasing response rates overall.

  1. Personalize your message

One of the most effective ways you can increase your direct mail response rates is through personalization. For example, adding a customer’s name in full color can increase response rates by 135 percent. Again, inline printing is both efficient and cost-effective when it comes to printing variable content. Using a high-resolution, high-speed print process, your entire direct mail campaign can be prepared in a single pass.

Leverage personalization techniques to measure direct mail success

  1. Personalize your desired response

Targeted designs and messages may increase response rates, but personalization can also be used to measure the effectiveness of your direct mail marketing campaign. With a multitude of online response options, you can personalize calls to action with unique barcodes, QR codes, phone numbers, and URLs — known as personalized URLs or PURLs. You can assign these types of personalized responses to specific campaigns or even to specific customers. Doing so will allow you to easily track the number of customers who engage with your campaign. And printing this variable data is made simple and cost-effective through inline printing.

  1. Learn which direct mail has the greatest response

Put your direct mail to the test with personalization. Inline printing easily allows for A/B testing, enabling you to measure which variation in image, color, or message most resonates with your target audience — and earns the greatest response. This type of personalization and consumer testing is most beneficial when developing future direct mail or other marketing campaigns, ensuring increased response rates as you continue to grow your business.


Remember, the success of your direct mail can determine the success of your overall marketing strategy and future business opportunities. Connect with your audience through unique direct mail formats, targeted key words, strategic design, personalized messaging, customized calls to action, and techniques to improve your response rates over time.

Inspired and ready to explore these options for your next direct mail campaign? Contact McAdams Graphics and we’ll help you develop a solution for improving your direct mail response rates.

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