Direct Mail in Mailroom

5 Ways to Improve Your Direct Mail Targeting

Did you know that in the month of December 2017, DISH Authorized Retailers working with a Distributor (like All-Systems) mailed over 5.8 million direct mailers?  That’s a LOT of direct mail.

Of those pieces mailed, for All-Systems retailers the average cost per call was $195.60.  Yes, that’s per call… not sale.

That may seem very high at first glance, but we actually average much lower than the $231.24 nationwide cost per call.  It’s also important to remember that when your direct mail is targeted correctly, it’s highly effective and well worth the investment.  Based on current statistics, direct mail is still returning on investment around 29%, whereas social media is returning 30%.  Making both tactics still very relevant in today’s marketplace.

All-Systems Marketing Department has been working with our retailers to streamline targeting for satellite TV prospects now for over 10 years.  

Based on what we’ve learned, here’s the top five ways you can improve your small business direct mail targeting, regardless of your industry.

5 Ways to Improve Direct Mail Targeting

Analyze Your Existing Customers

Now it’s time to take a look at your customer base to determine trends.  

  • Are they male/female?
  • How old are they?
  • Are they single/married/divorced?
  • What language do they speak?
  • Do they have children?  If so how many?  How old?
  • Do they own their home or rent?
  • What type of education do they have?
  • Are there any trends with income or credit ratings?
  • What sort of activities or trends are they interested in?

Knowing all this information helps you really target your messaging and your list to hit only the types of people you already know are interested in your product.  It will help you get a higher response and close rate as well as drive down your cost per call and customer.

Make Note of Where Your Existing Customers are From

Pull data from your last 3-6 months of sales and take a look at the customer data to determine which zip codes these customers live in.  You can even take it a step further and look at which neighborhoods or carrier routes they live on.  Really set aside a good chunk of time to analyze this info as it will pay off big time.

If you don’t have specific customer details on file, you alternatively could email your customers a survey, or even start asking at the time of purchase if they’re in your store.

Here at All-Systems we recommend you always devote 75% of your total mailers to zip codes you already know you have active customers in.   If there are new markets or zip codes you’d like to test out, only dedicate up to 25% there.  This will ensure you’ll still get a high return rate even while testing out a cold market.

Ask Your List Provider to Provide Demographic Details on Your List

It’s worthwhile even while doing a saturation mailing to purchase as many demographic details as possible when purchasing your list.  Then you can select which specific zip codes and carrier routes you want to send your pieces to based on the demographics you determined in your customer analyzation.  

This will help save you money in the long run because only the people most likely to respond to your message will be the ones receiving the mail.

For satellite TV retailers in the Northeastern United States, we usually suggest going for households that include families who own their homes, with a median income of $80k or more.  Once you have that data filtered, sort the list by credit index from the highest to the lowest.  This will give you the best possible customer who should qualify  for existing satellite TV and internet promotions.  Granted you kept your list to only the areas where your current customers already are, this will give you a very well targeted list to start with.

Use Call Tracking Numbers to Differentiate Your Mail Drops

All-Systems started utilizing call tracking numbers over a decade ago and were one of the first in our industry to do so.  

Many small businesses are convinced that unless their advertising has their local number on it, that customers will not respond.  Based on our experience, this is simply not the case and the benefits far outweigh the negatives.  

Call tracking numbers when used correctly can tell you which mail drop your call originated from, as well as additional info on the customer including where they are located, the time they called, the length of the call, and more.  This data can be invaluable when determining staffing and business hours to accommodate your campaign responses.

When testing different artwork and messages in your direct mailers to the same list, utilizing different call tracking numbers on each campaign can better help you determine the winning design.

There are many services and resources nowadays to utilize to start call tracking.  Purchase a short term campaign number for your next mailer today and reap the benefits at the completion of your campaign with more data to make your next mailer even more productive.

Regularly Review Your Direct Mail Performance Reporting

At the completion of your direct mail campaign, always make time to review the performance.  

Things to look at include:

  • How many calls did you get?
  • How many sales did you close?  What products/services?
  • How many storefront visits did you receive?
  • What days and times did you get the most activity?
  • For those who bought, what areas do they live in?
  • If using different messaging and art work, which produced the best results?

Use this information you discover and apply it to your next mailer to improve your results even further.  

Remember, any sort of marketing is a work in progress and the market changes quickly, so it pays to react and not to sit on any specific tactic too long if it’s not producing results for you.  That’s why auditing your campaign results can pay off big time if you do it on a regular basis.

And that sums up our top five ways you can improve your direct mail targeting.  

Ready to get started with direct mail today?  Contact the All-Systems Marketing department at or 800-836-4590 and we’ll walk you through the process.

What’s been your recent experience with direct mail?  Tell us below in the comments.