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What is a good conversion rate on mailers these days?

Just curious if anyone can share how open rates are doing in this market. I have more clients that want to start doing direct mail and want to get a sense of how to manage their expectations.

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Great question. I here a lot of different feedback but it typically ranges from 1-2%. This is coming from people with experience and that do a ton of mail and not beginners doing basic farming. Your list certainly matters. We spoke with Bill Allen about this our podcast #9 and Erik Bee and I spoke about this a little bit as well on an episode 8.

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OK, I’ve been telling people 1% so that’s about right.

Just for fun, what kind of mailers are you doing? What other channels to you use for clients?

The handful that I work with like standard letters or postcards. Some are doing PPC ads but they are really getting expensive and it’s getting harder to show conversions. They’ve done better with direct mail.

That’s what I’m hearing a well. I have a friend in the Greater Sacramento area says that cost per click has doubled. Also, she said ibuyers are purposefully bidding against her brand names and those prices have tripled. Seem a little rotten to have to pay for your own branded terms. Just be careful. I’ve caught a few actually using my brand names in their ads. That’s against Google terms and you can report.

One of the problems with open rates is that there is no way to measure it. You could actually have 100% open rate (person saw message), but not get a single call (person acted on message) if your message is bad. Whenever possible I tell people to test their message in person, or on the phone before moving to direct mail. The key is to have a compelling offer, that prompts action, from the people actually on your target list. The thing I think those starting out in direct mail most often get wrong is that they use that message to sell. The best messages plant a question in the recipient’s mind that they feel compelled to call you for an answer on.

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Eek. Good point. I work with a number of companies in numerous industries. Very rarely do they have a marketing person on staff and they want my help developing messaging. Not easy when it’s not my industry of expertise. Good reminder to have them tell me what has worked in the past. Start there and I can tweak.

I got this piece of mail today. I love creative mailers. Bubble envelope handwritten and with a unique hand-applied stamp. Inside is a message addressing a tech pain point with an aspirin attached. I bet the open rate on this bad boy is extremely high.

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Is the letter personalized?

No, below the fold it says “Dear Colleague”.