ROI on Traditional Mail Marketing Campaigns

Peter K. Francese, President of American Demographics, is famous for his rule of thumb, “If you get more than two replies for every hundred pieces of mail you send out, you’re doing great.”  This is because in the old days, a 1% return on a direct mail marketing campaign was considered successful and eventually became the standard.  Recently, some email marketing companies have touted returns as high as 1 in 57, but once you convert that to a percentage, it is still in line with the overall average of 1-2%.  So is direct mail or email the best route for your business?

Gary Christensen, who has been writing about making profit through the mail since 1973, recommends a “2-Step Method”.  The first step is mailing as many small ads as you can in order to draw inquiries.  These ads should contain something for the reader in exchange for contacting you.  The second step is to process the iquierers by contacting them by phone or another round of mail.  The same could also apply to email.  In this way, you are spending more money only on those who may actually be interested in what you have to offer, rather than sending out more information to more people first, which is more costly.

However now that we have discussed both the traditional ROI and the 2-Step Method, you can see that there may be a better way to gain more customers or clients for your business.  The more targeted the ad, the less money you need to spend, and the more the return on investment.  This is how Google, Bing, Amazon, and other online advertisement companies have changed the marketing landscape in the last decade.  Instead of blasting out your message to 99% of the wrong audience, you can pay to only speak to the people already searching for your product or service.

If you have more questions about promoting, advertising, or marketing your business, services, or products online, please contact Erich Stauffer at