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How to Successfully Track the Results of Your Mail Campaign Increase your mailing response rate by tracking and taking a serious look at your results.

By Craig Simpson

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

MIND_AND_I

Imagine you just spent $3,000 on a direct mail campaign, the mail pieces are out the door, and you're finished with the whole process. Now it's back to business, fulfilling all those orders that are about to flood in. There's nothing more to do with the mailing, right? Wrong.

Now comes one of the most critical parts of the whole operation. Assessing the results of your campaign so you know:

  • Was it worth it to spend the $3,000 in the first place?
  • Of the two versions of sales pieces you tested, which one did better?
  • Which list of names did better?

In other words, you need to start tracking your results. Tracking your mail campaigns helps you understand every element of the campaign so that you can refine everything you do for future mailings. That's the only way to systematically get better results as you grow your business. I can't tell you how many companies I've talked to who tell me they don't really know the results of their direct mail campaigns. They have a sense that orders picked up after sending out a mailing, but they don't have any hard data. And maybe they tried several different sales pieces over the years, but they don't really know which one did better.

That kind of lackluster effort doesn't allow you to make any progress. Sometimes a mailing works, sometimes it doesn't, but if you don't know why you can't use the information to create more effective campaigns. After mailing more than 200 million sales letters, I am certain of one thing: Direct-mail is no place for guesswork.

Tracking your mailings down to the smallest detail, every sales piece you've sent out, and every mail date you've used, will all help you refine your mail methods and increase your response rate.

Many businesses find that there is a best and worst season for their direct mail campaigns. They know this because they tracked their results, and now they can use this information to help boost their response rates. Getting helpful information like this requires tracking every single mailing, for every single campaign.

If you can't easily look at and compare your mailing list history, seasonality, and sales piece trends, you are leaving money on the table. You need to track every single detail.

Craig Simpson

Author and Owner of Simpson Direct, Inc.

Craig Simpson has managed thousands of direct mail campaigns and grossed hundreds of millions in revenue for his clients over the past 15 years. Simpson is the owner of Simpson Direct Inc., a Grants Pass, Oregon-based direct marketing firm, and a respected speaker/presenter on the topic of direct mail. He is the co-author with Dan S. Kennedy of The Direct Mail Solution, available from EntrepreneurBookstore.com. He blogs at simpson-direct.com/posts.

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