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Optichannel Marketers: 5 Tactics to Track Print Response Rates

blank signs pointing in many different directions

According to our recently published Optichannel Opportunity Report, marketers show a renewed focus on print marketing. And with large-scale changes to social and digital platforms over the past six months (e.g., Elon Musk and Twitter), nearly 50% of our survey respondents have reallocated budget dollars from digital to direct mail, brochures, signage and other print channels as a result.

However, despite this fresh perspective and reinvestment in print, there is one thing that remains a sticking point for many marketers: tracking response rates. 

For those of you nodding in agreement, here are some of the most utilized tactics for effectively tracking response rates. We want to ensure you’ve left no stone (or response) unturned.  

Unique URLs 

Your business’ main, go-to website address is important. Unfortunately, placing it on every direct mail piece you create isn’t doing you any favors — in terms of tracking. Include campaign-specific or personalized URLs (PURLs) instead.

PURLs, specifically, are web addresses created for individual recipients on your mailing list, and they lead to landing pages customized just for them. A common execution of PURLs often includes a person’s name as part of the URL (e.g., www.rrd.com/pete-mihalek).

When creating unique web addresses, a general rule of thumb is to make them: 

  • Easy to remember
  • Unique to the campaign and/or recipient
  • On brand

By including a PURL in your print marketing collateral, tracking unique visits, pageviews, as well as known visitors to your marketing automation platform becomes easier.

QR codes

Easy to implement, customizable, interactive, and user friendly — with the simple scan of a smartphone camera, QR codes provide recipients direct, unencumbered access to your destination of choice (e.g., landing page, offer, app, etc.). On the backend, businesses can collect a variety of user data, including time and date of scan, location, engagement, and scan rates (total vs. unique).

QR codes have proven to be an excellent way for marketers to augment the versatility of print. Our research shows a large majority (89%) of marketers are employing QR codes as part of their innovative strategy. And according to a YouGov survey, for (U.S.) consumers between the ages of 18 and 44, 83% say they are willing to use QR codes more. And nearly 60% consider QR codes a permanent part of using their smartphone in the future. 

CASE STUDY: Digital-Reliant Startup Utilizes QR Codes in 
Direct Mail Campaign to Drive Response
 

Promo codes

Direct mail tends to have a longer shelf life than email or digital marketing. For brands interested in incentivizing consumers from the mailbox, promo codes present a tangible marketing opportunity to inspire an offline-to-online buying experience.

Often required at checkout before a discount can be applied, promo codes allow brands to track sales back to their source. They can be implemented using variable data printing, allowing brands to A/B test different direct mail content and even convert anonymous website visitors into known visitors.

Phone call tracking

Just like your business’ website URL, placing your phone number on your direct mail materials makes a lot of sense. However, using the same number for multiple direct mail campaigns can make it difficult to know where calls are coming from.

Phone call tracking software allows companies to create unique toll-free phone numbers which automatically forwards to the actual business line. Call volume can be tracked  to determine response rates — depending on the service or software, calls can also be recorded for qualitative data.

Social hashtags

Social marketers leverage hashtags to help track their brand awareness and visibility online. Including a unique social hashtag on your marketing collateral can help you get a pulse on its effectiveness, but also:

  • Gain insight into the perception of your brand's online presence
  • Encourage engagement through your social channels
  • Uncover relevant and/or new terms people associate with your business

Track your print marketing more effectively in 2023

RRD’s Macro Marketing Report shared that more than four in 10 consumers are more excited about direct mail now than they were a year ago and this percentage is even higher among younger generations (63% of Gen Z and 62% of Millennials). In comparison to email brand messages, consumers believe direct mail to be more personal, more likely to catch their attention, and more trustworthy.

This positive sentiment around print is great — it would be even greater if you could effectively track it to a campaign.

When tracking the print components of a marketing campaign, businesses create the opportunity to refine their strategy. By incorporating one or more of the tactics above, brands can improve how they track response rates and gain further understanding of the effectiveness of their print marketing strategy.