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3 Ways to Boost Your Direct Marketing ROI

Written by Michelle Toivonen Director of Strategic Marketing

Tips to Increase ROI on Direct Mail

  1.  Know Your Options
  2. Integrate Online Options Into Your Campaign for Real Lift
  3. Postage Optimization

If you were having trouble paying your personal bills each month, you would quickly figure out that you needed to make more money or cut expenses — and you might have a real sense of urgency about it. You might start shopping at different stores, buy a car with better gas mileage, etc. You would be very focused on getting the most for your money. 

Many marketers fail to do that with campaigns often enough, becoming attached to one or two particular print/mail providers. We understand why — we all build relationships over time and learn who to trust with our valuable marketing dollars. However, in order to be a good steward of your organization’s marketing spend, you need to make sure you're getting the most for your money and achieving your best ROI.

Before your next direct marketing campaign, we encourage you to shop. Look for a company that offers:

Tips to Achieve Better ROI

  • Start as quickly as possible. It will take you a little time to find the best providers for your campaign.
  • Download our worksheet to help you account for all your options and variables in pricing and campaign tools.
  • Find your best quality provider for the best price. Work with a print/mail provider who can offer you multiple price points in both your print and mailing options.

Boost ROI Options

1. Know Your Options

Direct marketing mail is now achieving the best response rate since 2003!  House list response rates are at 5.2% and prospect lists are 2.9% (Direct Marketing Association, 2016). Most marketers are thrilled with the boosted response, but what about ROI? If you know how to add the right services, you can increase your ROI without constantly cutting your budget. Here's how:


From postcards and letters to high-quality booklets, ask your print/mailer for help understanding the most efficient and engaging methods to deliver your message.  There are many ways to boost response and ROI with print. A few include:

Personalization & Versioning

Personalization with messages relevant to the recipient.  This can be as simple as breaking down your list into buckets and creating a couple versions of your message.  Work with a print/mail provider who can help you manage the data and versioning.

High-quality print for “curb appeal”. There’s a time and place for everything and some messaging needs to be special or really stand out.  Be sure you work with a provider who can help you differentiate when you may need to spend a little more on your print to get a little more from your campaign.

Letters & Flats

Sometimes the best vehicle is the tried and true letter or flat.  Your provider should be able to help you with these standard, but very efficient options.

Mix It Up!

Many campaigns benefit from using a variety of touchpoints. Don’t be afraid to use a couple of vehicles in the same campaign.  For example, a postcard early, a high-quality piece to deliver a personalized and highly relevant message and a versioned follow-up letter.  A robust print/mail provider can help you develop and manage a more complex campaign for better results.

Boost ROI online

2. Integrate Online Options Into Your Campaign for Real Lift

Modern martech has grown from the standard answer of QR codes or pURLs. Try something new to achieve 3-5% lift with your print!

Add In-home Online Display Ads

This new cost-effective martech empowers you to serve online ads (like google ads) to your list. Now you can add the same message on their laptops, desktops, and phones that you are sending to their mailbox.  The response rate for these campaigns are coming in as high as 30-50% when combined with print. All you need to get started is your list of home or business addresses and a couple of ads to show online.

Integrate Emails with Print

Did you know you can target your list with emails triggered to arrive in the inbox when your printed piece is scanned for delivery? Marketers are now sending an announcement email (Look for it in your mailbox!) and a Reminder email (You should have received...)

Informed Delivery

The USPS is offering delivery of your marketing messages in emails delivered on the day of mail delivery.  You supply an image of the postcard or offer and your recipient gets two touchpoints in one day, Mail + Email!


Boost ROI Commingle

3. Postage Optimization

Understanding the difference between commingled mail, Dropship, Hybrid, and co-palletized mail is helpful for anyone involved in direct mailings, especially if you are trying to save money.

Commingled mail

Commingled your mail is a great budget cutter. When your mail is mixed with mail from other organizations you achieve a USPS discount.  Diverse clients, postage payment types, rates and mail piece weights are all strategically tossed together, like a very orderly salad in a large rectangular salad bowl.  Commingled mail qualifies for steep postage discounts because it’s sorted to final levels. Destination entry discounts are also achieved because mail is delivered closer to its final destination.

Co-palletized mail

Co-palletized mail also involves combining mail: Here we are talking about sharing trays of mail on a pallet, versus sharing pieces of mail in a tray.  Co-pal mailers also get a discount: Combining mailings into larger entries allows for dropping mail deeper into the mail stream. 

Both commingled mail and co-palletized mail reduce the times the USPS touches your mail, resulting in faster shipping and discounts. Keep in mind this co-pal process doesn’t improve the qualification level of a container: If your trays are sorted to the 3 digit level, they will remain at a 3 digit sort. You miss out on the commingling discount when you go straight co-pal, but it’s still highly advantageous for mailers. 

Ask your mail services specialist which option is right for you, and under what circumstances.

What's Next? Contact us and describe your project.  We'll help you make your way through the best available options to increase your campaign ROI.

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