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The Growth Marketer's Guide to Direct Mail

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Direct Response Frequently Asked Questions

Direct response is complicated, but we're here to make it easy for your organization to understand so you can see better results.
Is direct mail right for my company?

Not every business benefits from direct mail, but direct mail is the most effective way for many businesses to acquire significant amounts of new customers.

How do I know if direct mail is a good option for me?

The best way to measure the effectiveness of direct mail is by testing it. But there are some common tell-tale factors, many of which come down to your product/service, revenue model, lifetime value, and customer acquisition costs (current and tolerance).

Wait, isn’t direct mail dead?

Direct mail is more successful now than ever. It is still the leading way for many companies to grow their customer base, both in terms of volume and cost-effectiveness. Direct mail continues to be a viable option because of the rich amount of personal data available that far exceeds and is much more exact than what’s available for online users. Additionally, direct mail can reach virtually everyone whereas no other single channel has complete audience penetration.

How many sales could we add through direct mail?

The number of sales you experience will vary based on your industry, your target audience, your customer acquisition tolerance, and your appetite. While no two campaigns are the same, it’s common for our clients to see thousands of new customers from each direct mail campaign. We’ve seen several clients gain over 100,000 new clients in a single year from direct mail! A good rule of thumb is that mail can drive 25-40% of all new customer acquisitions for your business.

Why should I do solo mail instead of shared mail?

Solo mail lets you get your message into the hands of the right prospects — and makes sure they focus on your offer. With shared mail, a good chunk of your mail will go to people who aren’t your best prospect, and your offer will often get lost in a sea of other deals. With shared mail, you’re paying to compete with others. With solo mail, you’re setting yourself apart.

What’s the best way to mitigate risk when investing in direct mail?

By using smart testing methods and attacking it in phases, you can launch your first direct mail campaign at a low cost and with high probability of success. And you’ll be setting yourself up for a lot more success in the future by collecting the right insights up front.

How/when do I know it’s the right time for my business to test direct mail?

If you’re looking to grow, and perhaps are seeing the ceiling of your other channels on the horizon, then now is the best time to test direct mail.

What’s wrong with A/B testing in direct mail?

A/B testing might seem simple and inexpensive, and it is, but any given A/B test has only a 15% chance of beating the control. Therefore, it takes months or even years to find minor improvements. As a result, A/B testing ends up being a very expensive and slow way of finding a winner.

How does FaQtor Test work?

Our FaQtor Test combines the best of A/B and multivariate testing with none of the downsides. By using fractional factorial design, we create a test matrix based on a strategic sample of list/offer/creative combinations. We then test these combinations at sample volumes so we can measure which variables have the biggest relative impact on campaign performance. We’re then able to predict how every combination would fare in a full-scale multivariate test. This allows you to see winning results of combinations you didn’t test and avoid testing a bunch of losers. In other words, it saves you a lot of money and delivers much faster results.

How can I ensure data security and appropriate usage of data in DM?

With SOC-2 Certification, we can ensure every campaign will stand up to data security requirements and appropriate usage standards.

How does the ability to scale in DM compare to digital or other channels?

Direct mail provides an unmatched level of scalability, with the ability to tap into highly targeted and significantly sized populations of consumers who are likely to buy. It is common for direct mail to become responsible for 25-40% of all new customer acquisitions in just 12-18 months from the first mail test.

Does SeQuel offer omni-channel marketing strategies?

Yes. We are well-versed in all marketing channels and can bring seamless continuity to your campaigns through our SeQuel Surround methodology.

How do you measure the performance of DM?

We look at myriad factors to determine the performance of direct mail campaigns. On the one hand, we track directly attributable results like promo codes, custom URLs, or telephone numbers. But those methods only tell a fraction of the story, so we also always perform a “matchback” process to determine which customers match to our mail files within an appropriate sales window. The reality is likely somewhere in between, so the more metrics the better to help determine the appropriate attribution for direct mail within the marketing mix.

Our proprietary analytics platform, sQoreBoard, puts this campaign performance information at our fingertips so we can quickly optimize our approach between mail drops. 

How long does it typically take to launch a direct mail campaign?

If we’re launching a campaign from scratch with a first time mailer, we’ll need to build models and new creative, both of which take several weeks to do well. Depending on the size/complexity of the test, you can expect 8-10 weeks from approval to mail drop. Based on our experience, this is the optimal window to set you up for long term success. Cutting corners just to move a few weeks faster usually leads to a short-term failure.

Isn’t direct mail way too expensive?

Direct mail is an expensive channel from a cost-per-piece standpoint. Data, Paper, Ink, and Postage are legitimate tangible expenses. However, from a cost-per-acquisition / ROI standpoint, direct mail can be a workhorse. Especially if you’re leaning on it for scale, too. When utilizing the right testing strategies, direct mail doesn’t have to break your budget. You’ll see results quickly and will see exponential growth that far outweighs anything you put into it.

Can SeQuel help me with my digital marketing campaign, even if I’m not doing direct mail?

Yes! We can handle almost every aspect of your digital marketing campaign even if you aren’t doing any direct mail. We understand that direct mail doesn’t work for everyone, and we’re here to help all companies scale their business. Our years of direct response experience give us a big advantage over many digital agencies that don’t see the big picture or understand the full landscape of how direct response works.

What digital marketing strategies can SeQuel help me with?

SeQuel provides a complete suite of direct response digital marketing strategies. We focus on paid search, paid social, programmatic display prospecting/retargeting, and conversion rate optimization. We’re not an SEO or link-building agency. We provide digital marketing services with proven ROI and direct results.

Why do I need to integrate my digital and mail campaigns?

If your digital and mail campaigns aren’t integrated, then you’re leaving customers on the table. By integrating digital and mail, you’ll realize a higher response rate and create a more consistent conversation with your prospective customers.

We’re spending in digital now and are getting decent results, but think we could be doing better. How can you help?

If you feel like you’ve been burned before, then we can show you why it didn’t work and walk you through the strategies that will. When it comes to Google and Facebook advertising, it’s not about whether or not it can work for you. It’s about how to make it work for you. A lot of times, that just means choosing the right agency. If you give us a chance, we’re confident that you’ll make money and acquire new customers through Google and Facebook. In fact, we’re happy to audit your current or past campaigns to show you where the opportunities are.

Shouldn’t I just put all my money into digital since that’s the future?

We’re the first to admit that digital is the future. Everyone uses some form of digital. But mail is never going away, and the personal data available on individuals based on their address is much greater and more exact than the predicted data that’s available for online users. As the world continues to change, digital and mail will always have their places. Having them work together is the best way to achieve success.