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We're used to hearing that the average direct mail response rate is 1.0% - 1.5%. But according to a new study from the Pew Research Center ("Internet and American Life Project," April 2013), this view needs to change.
According to the project, the average response rate for direct mail is now 4.4% for both B2B and B2C mailings. In 2012, envelope-sized direct mail letters achieved a 3.4% response rate when mailed to a house list and a 1.28% response rate when mailed to a prospect list.
In the study, the Pew Research Center also cites a recent Direct Mail Information Service report that more than three-quarters of direct mail is opened by the recipients. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of these recipients read the contents.
What is accounting for the growing response to direct mail? In part, it is less mail in people's mailboxes. As email and other electronic media channels continue to proliferate, the mail that consumers do receive tends to stand out and get noticed. There is also an increase in targeting, personalization, and customization that makes the mail more relevant. Relevant mail tends to get a better response.
So next time you are about to cite the stat that direct mail has an average response rate of 1.5%, stop and think again. Direct mail has always been an effective marketing channel. As today's direct mail techniques become more refined, its effectiveness is becoming that much greater.
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