There are many myths online regarding direct mail marketing. One of the most common – that tracking direct mail isn’t possible. Many people think that once a direct mail campaign is sent out that’s where the work ends. They don’t believe there is a way to track and analyze interactions from direct mail. However, this simply isn’t true!
There are numerous ways to track direct mail. In fact, tracking direct mail is just as simple as tracking any other type of marketing campaign.
Here’s how you can track your next direct mail marketing campaign.
Options for Tracking Direct Mail
Before investing in a direct mail campaign, it’s important to decide how you’ll track it. Tracking your marketing campaign will provide invaluable information. This info can be used to improve and inform future marketing campaigns for increased interaction and sales.
Some of the best and most innovative ways for tracking direct mail include:
- Dynamic QR codes
- Social hashtags and mentions
- URL tracking
Let’s take a look at these options and how they work.
pURLs, or personalized URLs, are unique web addresses that host personalized landing pages. These unique landing pages are used to personalize every recipient’s campaign experience. Typically, a pURL will use the recipient’s name in the web address. For example, a pURL might look like this:
Recipients can assess their personalized landing page by directly entering their pURL into their browser. To make this process simpler, you can also embed the pURL in a QR code. This option offers even higher engagement rates, as mail recipients can more quickly and easily access the link (without needing to type it into their address bar). Keep in mind, if you do use the full pURL (instead of a QR), be sure it is as short and simple as possible. Long and complicated URLs may prevent users from trying to open the page, reducing your response and interaction rates.
A well-built landing page will have content that is personalized to each individual. For example, a welcome message that includes the recipient’s name, a pre-filled form, or a design that matches the individual’s preferences. The more information you have about your target audience, the better and more personalized your campaign can be. Increased personalization means better engagement rates and increased responses.
How can pURLs be used to track direct mail?
pURLs can track numerous metrics. In fact, any action that can be taken on the page can be tracked. For example, response rates, time on the site, as well as other behaviours such as link clicks, form submissions, etc.
This data is invaluable, as you’ll be able to gather data specific to each recipient. Not only will this help you connect with this individual in the future, but aggregated data can also be used to improve campaigns as a whole.
Additional pURL tracking benefits
pURLs offer several additional benefits for tracking direct mail, including:
- Low cost to implement – according to boingnet, the cost to use pURL software has decreased significantly as cloud solutions have become available.
- Fast and easy to use – creating pURLs is easy with the help of advanced software. All the pURLs you’ll need for your campaign can be created in a matter of seconds.
Third-party pURL solutions
Looking for pURL software? Two of the best pURL tools currently on the market include:
- Boingnet – Boingnet can help you create and use pURLs on multiple channels.
- Easypurl – Easypurl also offers options for multichannel campaigns.
Both of these high-end tools come complete with tracking and analytics solutions.
Dynamic QR Codes for Tracking Direct Mail
Using QR codes on direct mail is common and a great way to boost engagement. QR codes allow recipients to simply scan the code with their smartphone camera. The QR then completes any action you have encoded. For instance, using a QR code you can send recipients to a link, allow them to easily make a phone call, send a text, or even open up a pre-written email. The options are endless.
There are two types of QR codes that direct mail marketing experts use – static and dynamic. While it is possible to use either, dynamic QR codes are the best option for direct mail. In comparing dynamic vs static QR codes, you’ll discover that dynamic QRs are easier to track. Best of all, they can be updated at any time so your audience will never be stuck with an outdated link, etc.
How can dynamic QR codes be used for tracking direct mail?
Dynamic QR codes are extremely helpful for tracking direct mail. Using QR codes, you’ll be able to see:
- Where the code was scanned (including IP, where local laws allow)
- Type of phone used to scan the QR code
- Web browser that a link was viewed on
- Date the code was scanned
- Time the QR was scanned
Other dynamic QR benefits
In addition to providing extremely helpful and detailed tracking data, dynamic QR codes are:
- Easy to implement
With the help of QR software, marketers can quickly and easily create dynamic QRs online. If the code needs to be changed at any time, for any reason, it can be done at the click of a button. Best of all, dynamic QR codes tools offer advanced analytics to help you track and evaluate your direct mail campaign.
Third-party dynamic QR code solutions
Some of the best dynamic QR code builders online today include:
- CueContact – this solution is well-known for its Smart Contact Card technology. Users can create smart business cards to help drive engagement. CueContact, also allows marketers to receive notifications when their QR codes are scanned.
- uQR.me – this tool has several handy pre-built options, including options for QR menus and COVID forms.
Both CueContact and uQR.me will allow you to design, create, update and track dynamic QR codes.
Social hashtags are often created by marketing experts to help track their brand online. Hashtags are also great for boosting interaction and visibility on social sites (if you determine your audience is active on social media). For example, #ForSaleByPeter might be used by a realtor to track the posts online about his business.
Including a unique social hashtag on your direct mail pieces can help generate increased engagement and will assist you with tracking direct mail.
How can hashtags be used to track direct mail?
By encouraging people to connect with you through social media, you can use analytics and social listening tools to examine the impact of your direct mail campaign. For example, including a unique hashtag on your mail will allow you to determine how often recipients mentioned your hashtag and who interacted with your business online as a result of your campaign.
Other benefits of social hashtags
Using hashtags, and encouraging mail recipients to connect with you on social media, has many benefits. In addition to increasing interaction rates, hashtags can also be used to help you gain insight into the perception of your brand online. Hashtags will also help you uncover terms that people are associating with your business. This can help you improve future campaigns and get a better idea of what areas you may need to focus on.
In addition, using hashtags can further increase the reach of your direct mail campaign. Every time someone shares your hashtag or mentions you on social media, their friends and friends’ friends have the potential of seeing your message. Therefore, this is a great way to spread your message to a wider audience.
Above all, this strategy for tracking direct mail is one of the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective of all of the options mentioned here. As long as you already have your social profiles set up, it won’t cost you anything to include hashtags and social handles on your direct mail pieces (except for paying a designer, if you require one). That being said, social tracking tools can cost about $30 to $100 per month or more. Although free tools are available, most free options won’t provide as much detail.
Third-party hashtag tracking tools
If you would like to use a third-party social listening and tracking tool, some of the top options include:
- Sprout Social – in addition to analytics, this solution will help you determine which hashtags will drive the most engagement for your business.
- Brand 24 – in addition to helping you monitor hashtags, Brand 24 will allow you to find top influencers related to your products and services. This can be helpful if collaborative strategies are an option for your business.
Both of these tools will allow you to engage in social listening and allow you to track hashtags and other online conversations related to your business.
Tracking Direct Mail Using Online Contests
It’s also possible to use contests to track your direct mail campaign. Contests are a great way to boost engagement (who doesn’t love a good contest?) while also introducing a traceable component. With the help of online tracking tools, you’ll be able to measure the results of your contest, and therefore your direct mail campaign.
How can contests be used for tracking direct mail campaigns?
Contests can help you track numerous statistics for your direct mail campaign. If you’re running your contest on social media, you’ll have access to all the typical stats provided by social sites, including interaction rates, new follows, etc. If you’re using a contest-building program, like those below, you’ll have access to even more analytics. Tools like RafflePress can even assist with retargeting efforts.
Another option is to offer the contest directly on your website. If you run a contest on your website, you’ll be able to use data from Google Analytics and even URL tracking (more about this below). For instance, you’ll be able to measure interaction rates, entry/submission rates, bounce rates, and more. This information can help you determine the number of people who are interacting with your mail campaign and help you uncover useful details for future campaigns.
Other benefits of contests
Contests, especially social media contests, are not only great for tracking direct mail but also for boosting the impact of your campaign. In particular, contests are a great way to build your social media following. For example, many social contests require entrants to follow or like a brand page to enter. With optimal targeting, you can build a strong and relevant following using this strategy. As a result, you’ll be able to generate more leads and increase sales.
Keep in mind, the best online contest tools cost money. These tools can range from $40 per year to $50+ per month for a basic plan. Creating and running a contest can also be quite a bit more time-consuming than the other tracking options discussed in this article. However, the additional benefits offered by contests, such as the ability to quickly grow your social media following, may make the extra effort worth it.
Third-party contest tools
If you’d like to run an online contest as part of your direct mail campaign, check out these great tools:
- RafflePress – RafflePress can also help you implement contests directly on your website with its WordPress plugin.
- Wishpond – Wishpond comes with several pre-built contest options, including hashtag contests, photo caption contests, and more.
Not only will these tools help you set up contests to use with your direct mail campaigns, but they also provide built-in tracking tools to help you monitor and analyze the results.
There are a few ways you can use URLs for tracking direct mail. One of the easiest ways is to create a landing page with a campaign-specific URL and include this URL on your direct mail piece. Then, using an analytics tool, like Google Analytics, you’ll be able to track the use of the URL.
Adding UTM parameters to a URL can help you further track its use. UTM codes, or Urchin Tracking Modules, are short snippets of text that can be added to a URL to track certain parameters like campaign name, traffic source, etc. These codes are implemented to help analytics tools gather data about how a link is being used.
How does URL tracking work?
Adding UTM tags to your URLs will allow you to track a number of parameters. These include:
- Campaign ID – the name of the campaign the link is associated with
- Campaign source – where the traffic is coming from e.g. direct mail
- Medium – how the traffic is coming to your site e.g. link embedded in a QR code
- Name – specifies a specific promotion or campaign
- Content – to distinguish between different content within the same campaign (commonly used for A/B testing)
Ultimately, URL tracking will allow you to see where your traffic is coming from and how your campaign is performing overall.
Other benefits of URL tracking
URL tracking is one of the easiest tracking options to implement. When used in conjunction with Google Analytics, this solution for tracking direct mail is also the most cost-effective. If you already have Google Analytics set up, all you’ll need to do is build a landing page and create a URL that includes UTM codes. Other than the cost to build the landing page and tracking URL, the only cost will be to design and send out your direct mail campaign.
With the help of Google Analytics, you’ll also be able to see other data about your landing page, including time spent on the page, and the actions users took while visiting.
Third-party contest tools for URL tracking
Google’s Campaign URL Builder is the best tool for implementing URL tracking. Simply build your landing page then use the Campaign URL Builder to create a custom campaign link. All of your campaign metrics will be available in Google Analytics.
Tracking Direct Mail with One to One Mailing
Ready to send out an effective and trackable direct mail campaign? One to One Mailing specializes in direct mail and omnichannel marketing, complete with advanced tracking capabilities.
Our direct marketing experts will help you design a successful direct mail campaign with tracking and analytics. Alternatively, you can use our advanced system to create a direct mail campaign online.
Give us a call today to see how we can help you build your business with the help of direct mail.