The adage “all good things must come to an end” applies to most things in life, including the effectiveness of a direct mail package. Even the best campaigns eventually become stale and begin to lose their ability to drive direct mail response rates. They may become dated by a graphic that is irrelevant to a new audience, or more likely, their repeated use has made the mailpiece commonplace and easy to ignore.
It can be hard to pinpoint exactly when you need to think about refreshing elements of your direct mail package, but staying on top of your response rate data can reveal some telltale signs of exhaustion and help you keep your offer compelling.
Monitoring Direct Mail Response Rates is Crucial
Sometimes, response degradation is slow and not very noticeable. Other times it’s a quick, large drop. The only way to notice response degradation and make a change before it gets out of hand is to continuously monitor direct mail response rates and partner with a strategist who can advise when to make a change, and how big that change needs to be.
Depending on how often you mail, what industry you’re in, and other factors, a strategist will help you determine when you need to start shaking things up in your mailings. That’s why monitoring response rates is so crucial. Without that data, you’re marketing blind with no idea what’s working, what’s not, and how well your efforts are paying off.
Backups and Testing Can Make Sure You’re Always Prepared for Response Degradation
Regardless of the rate of degradation, you should always have a fresh, new package ready to roll. As a general rule of thumb, always assume your package is going to start pulling in fewer responses at every turn. That way, you’re always prepared to make a quick recovery if campaign fatigue sets in and direct mail response rates begin sagging.
Testing is a great way to prepare for response degradation without having to take the big risk of jumping to a totally new package. By making smaller changes to your control, you can discover what aspects of the mailing are driving response, and which can be altered to create a fresh look.
A good place to start is a format test. This involves keeping all the content the same, but changing the letter size or another physical aspect. Not only is this an easy test, but it’s quick for you to implement, since all copy, offers, and disclaimers have already been approved by your organization.
It takes a team to keep your direct mail response rates high and ensure any decline is quickly reversed through renewed efforts. If you’re in need of such a team, or if you’d just like to know more about how to prevent response degradation, contact me.
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