How to Get a High Direct Mail Response Rate

One of the things that our clients ask about the most when considering a mailing campaign are the direct mail response rate. It is critical data for planning and budgeting the entire campaign.
To put it simply, the response rate is the percentage of the people that respond to your mail. The higher the response rate, the better the overall campaign is.

There are quite a few tips and tricks of the trade that focuses on boosting response rates. But the only way to be sure what will work the most for your campaign is to test different methods. You might be thinking, “But there are so many methods! How do I know where to start?” Luckily there is a multitude of research and studies which have determined the “best practices” for mailing campaigns. We have compiled some of them here for you.


Use a highly-deliverable and recently updated mailing list. Those updated within the last three to six months are best.

Target customers on a 1:1 level, that means investing in personal connections and adding a personal touch to your outreach. This can improve your response rate by up to 50%!

You can get an even higher response, up to 12.4%, by reaching people aged 18-21 years old.


Adding a person’s name and full-color in the direct mail can increase response by 135%.

Oversized envelopes have the greatest household response rates (6.6%) over other formats (followed by postcards at 5.7% and letter-sized envelopes at 4.3%).

Standard letter with the highest response rate is a direct mail piece that includes a personalized sales letter folded in half.


Use a free offer rather than a price based offer for lead generation campaigns. This way you’ll get more responses from those who are interested in your specific products.

Use a price offer for order generation campaign. Price offers typically lower response rates. But a high response rate doesn’t mean necessarily high-quality leads. You want just the right response rate for your specific product and service sales.

Make it easier to understand “what’s in it for me” at first glance: give them an obvious reason to do business with you.

Call to Action

Using a telephone number in the call to action can significantly improve response rates, even when there is an easy click-to-order method.

Create a landing page for customers that prefer to respond online to direct mail rather than by phone.

Follow the rule: “more ways you give a potential customer to respond, the more response you get”.

You can see an increase in response by requiring less contact information and less time commitment.


The response rate is higher when direct mail is integrated with digital marketing and increased personalization like PURLs and personalized landing pages.

You can get a better response if you text or email recipients a day after the mail piece lands in mailboxes to provide an extra push to open and respond.

Combining direct mail with digital ads will significantly improve response rates.

Social Proof

Use social proof in such as testimonials, reviews, and trust badges to help customers feel confident in your product

Relate to positive emotions to appeal to your prospects while providing a clear solution to their problems.

Direct Response Marketing: How to Write Catchy Business Postcards or Sales Letters

The bottom line is:

Provide a personal experience for your customers and infuse your mailers with social proofs and positivity.

Customers can be found on different platforms: Integrate direct mail with other channels: digital marketing, text updates, telemarketing, and social media. Make sure to keep your message consistent across all your channels.

And lastly, don’t focus solely on getting as many responses as you can. Focus on developing your message and use it to find the active leads – just the right audience for your offers.

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