Nine Ways to Decrease Direct Mail Spending While Improving Results


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Looking to decrease your direct mail investment and improve revenue at the same time? Here are nine ways to reach your ROI goals.

ROI (Return on Investment) is a function of cost and revenue generated. Any change in either one impacts your ROI. It is possible to utilize direct mail to its fullest potential, and decrease the amount you are investing in the medium, while increasing response and purchase rates.

Here are nine ways too improve both sides of the ROI equation with your direct mail campaigns:

  1. Determine what deems someone non-responsive, and stop mailing when it is clear they are not going to respond.
  2. Segment and target audiences on macro and micro levels. You don’t have to mail to everyone to be highly impactful.
  3. Speak to specific audiences on a micro level. The more relevant your communications, the sooner you’ll see results or be able to deem recipients non-responsive.
  4. Test, test, test. Test the effectiveness of your message, offer and list on a smaller audience before deploying on a large scale.
  5. Conduct thorough data-cleansing. You’ll mail less, more accurately, and improve your ROI.
  6. Do something with returned mail. I know this seems simplistic, but the tendency is to ignore returned mail and not update the database. Create a process so this is always done.
  7. Incorporate non-paper-based mediums such as email, text messaging, and links to online resources.
  8. Utilize direct mail to keep email as a main communication method by mailing only to bounces, unsubscribes and consistent non-openers with the goal of determining why that are not engaged via email. Check out this article: Email: Direct Mail’s New BFF.
  9. Eliminate people from your list who do not wish to receive mail by utilizing the DMA’s Mail Preference Service. Go to

In my experience, the biggest challenge to achieving the nine points above is not having a plan. Without a plan, marketers shoot from the hip and hope they get it right. And while that works occasionally, if you want something that controls cost and works consistently, start with a plan. Your CMO, CFO and the entire company will thank you.


  1. Great article. I love this:

    “How many times did your door swing and your cash register ring?”
    Paul Ryan, Field Account Manager @ DMEautomotive

    The importance of tracking both response and revenue is too often forgotten.


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