Improving the Response Rate on Direct Mail Campaigns

The nuerosciencemarketing blog among others are very excited about the results of a marketing effort documented in Robert Cialdini’s Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive.  The point of the study was that personalization works. To test their theory, a survey was mailed under the cover of three separate letters:

1) A laser personalized printed letter.
2) A laser personalized printed letter with a handwritten message written in the margin, at top or bottom.
3) A laser persoanlized printed letter with a handwritten message written on a Post-It note that was attached to the letter.

So which configuration would compel you most to complete the survey? I bet you’re not surprised to find that:

  • The response rate for the plain printed cover letter was a mere 36%.
  • Adding a handwritten note improved the response rate of the second letter package to 48%.
  • Including a post-it note more than doubled the response rate of the first package, receiving 75% cooperation rate.

Yet if we’re not surprised by these results, why do businesses repeatedly send out bland, generic marketing messages to their clients and prospects and then wonder why they fail? Set a goal for yourself in this new year: Resolve to incorporate personalization and watch your results grow.

BTW, I haven’t read the book (yet) but if the stats is this excerpt are any indication of its quality, we should probably all add it to our bed-table reading list.


2 Responses to Improving the Response Rate on Direct Mail Campaigns

  1. Jim Gilbert says:

    Get even more personal. Add a PURL, personalized URL and a personalized landing page and see what that does to yur response rates. For those not knowing what a PURL is, it would be something like, or


    • jenniferkoon says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Jim. We conducted a campaign for a client last year that included a series of personalized URLs driving clients to a page personalized with business content just for their organization. It is amazing the dfiference it can make with your response rate.

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