Does Direct Mail Marketing Work?

elderly woman using her phone
Table of Contents

The short answer is: YES! Direct mail marketing works in our digital world. If you’re one of the direct mail marketing companies continuing to generate sales and leads from this source, you know this is true.

But some people may wonder and even ask why you focus on something that’s so old school.

The massive shift to digital ads doesn’t mean that direct mail marketing doesn’t produce results.

In fact, direct mail is alive in 2023 and working as well as ever. This article reviews the direct mail marketing industry and uses the latest data to prove that mailboxes are great places for ads.


Direct Mail Marketing Strategy

As with any campaign or advertisement, it all begins with an aim or goal. Depending upon the objective, you have many options. If a direct mail marketing campaign fits your audience, product, and purpose: outline your strategy. When you launch a new mailing ad piece for your client, try to answer these important questions.

  • What do you want to happen?
  • What is your goal?
  • Do you want to generate a certain number of phone calls?
  • Are you looking for visits to your client’s business?

Hopefully, your first goal is revenue. Increasingly research shows that clients are becoming less patient with purposes other than ROI. In fact, recently we released a long-term study of 200 large companies and why they want and need analytics. Download your copy of the eye-opening research.

If return on investment or ROI is the #1 goal with your direct mail marketing strategy, and it should be, then you must prove that the direct marketing costs bring results. One of the very best indicators of success will be phone calls and call close rates.

How many phone calls do you drive for your customers? <– This query is the question every direct mail firm should ask.

Why is that such an important question?

Why do phone calls matter to direct mail so much?

First, let’s cover a few things before we show some direct mail marketing tips and easy ways to track phone calls and close rates.


The Importance of Phone Calls for Direct Mail Success

According to research from BIA/Kelsey, a phone call is the single most valuable interaction a business can generate. Leads generated from phone calls are the most valuable leads local businesses can receive. They’re more valuable than web leads, web visitors, coupons brought through the door, or any other metric. Phone calls are valuable.

Someone who calls a business is almost 10x more likely to purchase than someone who fills out an online form.

And, as smartphones proliferate, the number of calls to businesses increases, not decrease. According to BIA/Kelsey, the number of calls to businesses could increase by 20% or more in the next 18 months. If you want to get more proof that phone calls still matter, check out this blog. Phone Calls Still Matter for Businesses.

Also, people have access to endless amounts of information on the Internet. Yet they still prefer to connect with another human for several big reasons:

  • When they have questions,
  • Need immediate help, or
  • Are ready to make a larger purchase.

As a reference, check out the average value of a phone call for several major industries.

average value of a phone call for several major industries

So, in summary, calls are valuable and they’re becoming more common.

If you, as a direct mail marketing agency, can show your clients you generate calls for them, your clients will love you. They’ll be loyal to you. And they’ll make more money because of you.

Calls and Direct Mail

Okay, calls are important. But why are they particularly important to direct mail?

1) Calls are the easiest Call-To-Action
Making a phone call is simple. If a direct mail marketing campaign peaks a consumer’s interest, they are likely to pick up their smartphones and call immediately. Calling is easy, especially if the phone numbers are easy to find.

2) Calls are easy to measure
Some direct mail marketing agencies insist their clients collect the coupons their customers bring in to determine success. This doesn’t work.

  • Consumers often forget to bring in coupons.
  • The clients and businesses do not always collect the campaign coupons.
  • If businesses collect coupons, it’s hard to keep track of them and report the results to their direct mail firm.

As you can see, there are many potential failure points.

Saying, “Bring in the coupons and we’ll track success that way,” doesn’t work. It sounds good, but it doesn’t work.

On the other hand, phone calls are easy to record with Convirza call tracking . The call data flows into the Marketing Dashboards in real time. Results are easy to monitor. It impresses your clients.

The bottom line is simple: If you want accurate ROI data, measuring calls is the BEST way to get it.

3) Calls are valuable to your clients
Calls are the best leads. They’re the easiest leads for direct mail to produce. They’re the easiest leads for direct mail to track. AND, your clients desperately need calls to survive.

4) Direct marketing mail agencies can white label call analytics
Agencies are busy doing a thousand other things. However, agencies need to prove value constantly and offer unique customer benefits.

White label products are ideal for agencies to differentiate themselves while saving massive amounts of time. No wonder white labeling is so popular with agencies.

Here are just a few of the benefits of a true-white label call tracking solution from Convizra.

  • Get to market quickly
  • Present the right for your clients
  • Focus on your business
  • Responsive support
  • Email templates
  • Custom logos, full custom colors, and font options
  • Dynamic field support
  • Domain masking
  • Scheduled call reporting


Direct Mail Marketing Statistics

Convirza combines traditional mailbox ads and phone calls with artificial intelligence to prove what works and what doesn’t. Plus, direct mail marketing companies get a massive amount of useful and actionable data. They can even automate marketing with Call Actions. 

During the design phase of each ad, direct mail marketing coordinators logon to Convirza pick a call tracking number and associate it with a specific campaign. The tracking number can be a local phone number, a toll-free number, a true 800 number or a Vanity Number. Each call tracking number has individual benefits and thus you can match the purpose of the direct mailer with the best phone number.

They take a few seconds to set up, especially if you use the call templates.

Convira phone numbers have a lot of flexibility and features. Phone calls can route directly to a specific location with simple routing. We can also send calls to the nearest or best location with geo routing to the nearest or best location. Once the call connects, you can have custom greetings, IVR menus, even alert your agent with call details using whisper messages.

Once the setup is complete, include call tracking numbers on all direct mail marketing ads. This way you have data to monitor campaigns and make adjustments where necessary.

Here is an example of a direct mail advertisement with a tracking number. This direct mailer proves her value by attaching a phone number to each ad that traces the call and records it as a lead. Notice the phone number is prominently displayed. This is a unique local phone number provisioned for this ad and direct mail marketing campaign.

direct mail marketing campaign example

Every time someone calls the number, Convirza records the call and analyzes the conversation. Direct mail marketers know what the time of the call, caller ID, duration of the call, location of the caller, and more call details. The direct mail marketing software also stores a recording of the phone call.


Direct Mail Marketing Reports

One of the useful reports for direct mail marketing statistics is the Call Log. Users have up-to-date information on all phone calls broken into levels of details. Data displays by individual call, by the direct mail campaign connected to the call, and by the exact ad within the campaign that triggered the phone call.

The industry-leading direct mail firms use call tracking and call analytics. And yet, some direct mail firms have objections to call tracking. Here are some of their objections.

My Clients Don’t Ask for Call Tracking
Your clients don’t know how valuable the data is until they see it. They have no frame of reference for the data. So they won’t ask for it.

It is up to the wise direct mail agency–as your clients’ advisor, marketing consultant, and direct mail expert–to stress how critical marketing analytics are. You’re supposed to be the marketing expert, not them.

How do I implement call tracking? Do I sell it to my clients individually?
Implement call tracking by simply telling your clients that as part of every mailer you include a call tracking number. Explain that call tracking is for them, your clients, to hold you accountable and make sure that you’re doing a good job and generating a lot of phone calls.

Will different phone numbers confuse people?
Call tracking requires that the phone number used on a direct mail piece differs from the phone numbers that appear elsewhere. They can be a local telephone number or toll-free number, but the actual phone number has to be different.

Some direct mail agencies don’t like the idea of using a different phone number. They worry their clients will bristle at having a unique phone number for mailers. They’re worried that consumers will be confused.

People do not memorize phone numbers. They just don’t. We have smartphones that remember for us. The fear of using various numbers is outdated.

tracking number in the newspapers

Recently, a corporate officer at a national direct mail company shared that call tracking is actively saving their accounts.

If they have clients that are ready to drop the direct mail company, they show the clients the call tracking data, listen to a few calls, and email the client. The client is generally stunned at how many calls are being generated by direct mail. Additionally, they are astonished at how poorly their employees are handling customers on the phone.

Call tracking is perfect for direct mail. It saves direct mail firms clients, and it saves advertisers money.


Calls are the best leads. They’re the easiest leads for direct mail to produce. They’re the easiest leads for direct mail to track. AND, your clients desperately need calls to survive.

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