Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

Direct mail: what’s a good response rate?

July 29th, 2010 by Bob Bly

Most people, when discussing direct mail response rates, think in
terms of percentages.

For years, 2% was viewed as an “average” response rate.

The problem is that percentages don’t take into account things
like the cost of the mailing or the price of the product being

A much better measure of direct mail response rates is

“Break even” means the sales generated by a mailing is equal to
the cost of the mailing.

For a mailing that generates 150% of break-even, you make $1.50
in sales for every $1 you spend on the mailing, including printing,
list, and postage.

Here is a free online calculator you can use. It calculates the
percentage response rate your mailing must achieve to reach break
even. That way, you know whether your 1% response rate is good,
fair, or terrible in terms of ROI.

The online response calculator is free ? there’s no cost to use
the calculator as often as you like:


This entry was posted on Thursday, July 29th, 2010 at 1:45 pm and is filed under Direct Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

84 responses about “Direct mail: what’s a good response rate?”

  1. TC/Copywriter Underground said:

    Break-even analysis has proven a useful tool with my clients; it’s an excellent way to get an early warning about mail program costs.

    If you need a 4% response just to break even, you better have a hell of an offer – or look for ways to trim the cost of the program.

    That 2% number drives me crazy; most B2B hasn’t seen an average 2% response in a long time…

  2. Contact said:

    I mailed out 5000 and received one call. Fail

  3. Walt said:

    Even though direct mail and an e-mail campaign are different in many ways I think it is prudent to test your ad copy on an e-mail campaign or on a web site using an ad-words campaign. Direct mail is expensive but with good ad-copy and a good USP you can still generate a decent response. A marketers mantra should be “test, test, test.” And test a cheaply as possible. Walt Marsh Preaching With Power

  4. Monica said:

    I was trying to explain to my boss that the 1% call back rate and 2% response (people just showed up at the event w/o calling first) was not horrendous. The list was COLD! Dead cold! we had a 4% mail return rate & this list was never contacted before (or after). the copy was ok, but obviously not great, and everything had to be out the door in 3 days, with 2 days to spare for the people to receive the mailer.

  5. worldbiznews said:

    It’s very expensive to implement a direct mail to your business. All costs and efforts must be considered before doing it so. That’s the reason why most businesses don’t really go for direct mail as a form to boost their clients.

  6. Bob McCarthy said:

    I agree that break even is a good way to analyze your campaign – assuming the campaign is selling a product or service.

    But most direct mail is designed to generate a lead – not a sale – which means you need to factor in the conversion process.

    So if only one out of four leads convert to a sale (25%), your 2% response rate becomes a 0.5% order rate.

    Personally, I like to use a “cost-per” analysis – cost per response, cost per qualified lead, cost per order – which also allows you to account for the cost of the mailing.

  7. John Idaho said:

    If you generate $1,000 in sales from a $1,000 campaign expese selling 1,000 items that cost you 80 cents to produce, you haven’t broken even. You’ve lost $800.

    Break even would be cost-of-mailing equals profit, not revenue.

  8. Seattle Printers said:

    Great post. That’s True it is very important to measure your direct mail marketing efforts like response rates and ROI to get the best results, otherwise your efforts may go waste.

  9. Gary Taylor said:

    This is a recent infographic about direct mail response rates, pretty useful

    I ave seen other figures from Royal Mail too at around 11.5%

  10. Jack's Customized Fat Loss Review said:

    sometimes out of all the hundreds of mails you send, only a few get a response. but at least you tried. I do hope my email gets replied.

    – Jack Leak

  11. commission commando bonus said:

    commission commando bonus…

    Direct mail: what’s a good response rate? – blog – direct marketing blog…

  12. tv episodes said:

    tv episodes…

    […]Direct mail: what’s a good response rate? – blog – direct marketing blog[…]…

  13. five mistakes said:

    Your blog is really interesting to me and your topics are very relevant. I was browsing around and came across something you might find interesting. I was guilty of 3 of them with my sites. “99% of website managers are committing these 5 mistakes”. You will be suprised how easy they are to fix.

  14. epa-w said:


    […]Direct mail: what’s a good response rate? – blog – direct marketing blog[…]…

  15. interactive online iphone android apps solutions ad4d advertisment festival walk mtr hk said:

    interactive online iphone android apps solutions ad4d advertisment festival walk mtr hk…

    […]Direct mail: what’s a good response rate? – blog – direct marketing blog[…]…

  16. mailing service said:

    Thanks for sharing the blog.The direct marketing is useful to small business.By using this we can get high response.

  17. Jerold Paliotta said:

    Rattling fantastic information can be found on this web site.

  18. Stanley Rao said:

    Direct mail what a good response mail… this is the best post i have read as i found it very subjective and informative enough… this can lead to high response rates

  19. Andy said:

    I agree – a much better measure of direct mail response rates is “break-even.”

  20. Earnest said:

    Thank you for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your further post thanks once again.

  21. GET Double CTR, Make PRODUCTS, Create BUYERS with my List Building email/swipes collection! said:

    Magic right here. My business is incredibly fulfilled to check your post. Thanks a great deal that i’m waiting for get in touch with an individual. Are you going to make sure you shed me a send?

  22. GET $1.2 Million In Buyers Traffic For Less Than $100? - Millionaire Marketer Reveals All - Proof Inside said:

    Fantastic post. I have already been interested in such as the following. Good information and facts Let me look for virtually any information regarding Hcg weight loss .

  23.  GET $40 To $200 Per Sale ... With Astonishing, Dynamic Client Demonstration Software! said:

    Hi there, simply transformed into alert to your site through Search engines, and discovered that it’s truly beneficial. I’m going to watch out for brussels. We’re gracious for those who keep on this in future. Various other consumers can be gained out of your creating. All the best!

  24. said:

    Hi! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog.
    Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very
    techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast.
    I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where
    to start. Do you have any tips or suggestions? With thanks

  25. Leilani said:

    Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than judt yoyr
    articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything.
    However just imagine if you added some great picttures or video clips to give your posts more,
    “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this website could undeniably be one of the best in its niche.
    Fantastic blog!

  26. Maryland SEO said:

    I am curious to find out what blog platform you’re utilizing? I’m experiencing some small security problems with my latest site and I would like to find something more safe. Do you have any suggestions?

  27. Robert Walker said:

    How to use QR Codes – Sales Lead Maximizer is one of the best organizations when it comes to knowing how to measure marketing response or use software for building mobile Websites.”increasing the sales pipeline or measuring marketing response. You’ll have the consolation of knowing our group is with all of you the way, ceaselessly upgrading our administration as customer criticism and business sector advancements unfold.

  28. robert Walker said:

    How to increase lead generation – Acquire the in-depth analysis of the current scenario in the industry and increase the leads you get for your business. SLM has been developed to give your business, a path to climb the stairs of success and get the methods for increasing the sales pipeline.

  29. Geraldkew said:

  30. Steven Haugh said:

    This is really interesting!

  31. Sanford Smith said:

    Like most small business owners, I just spend a restricted amount of money on advertising experiments. Recently, I tried promoting the business by utilizing a postcard for the targeted marketing campaign and received 4% response rate. It’s the most cost-effective form of direct mail marketing available now. Reading a message on a postcard is easier than reading a letter or a brochure filled with advertisements. Using colored postcards will allow the advertisement to stand out even more!


  32. rita riya said:

    To promote business marketing is the good thing. The products should be ideal and fresh. Good products should be sold. They should have proper idea about the business and the product. They should be well firm in selling the countryside tour

  33. Mehul said:

    This is really interesting!
    Age Calculator Online

  34. said:

    Great information you have shared here. It helped a lot and thanks for sharing such a valuable information.

  35. ellim said:

    Nice writing! Very powerful. In your work, I feel the electricity in my wiring like the electrician syracuse ny trusts. I feel a safety inspection is needed because your writing is so energy like electrical contractor.

  36. Google Contact said:

    The response rate is the simplest, most common form of measuring the results of a direct mail program. The response rate reflects the percentage of people who respond to a mailing. To determine your response rate, you simply count up the number of responses the mailing generates, then divide by the quantity mailed.

  37. Arthur Rodriguez said:

  38. jacob said:

  39. Max said:

  40. sammy said:

  41. One Dasty said:

    Bringing home a new puppy is a wonderful experience involving the whole family, which is why we begin training early to ease the amount of support, we assist in the preparations to make it less stressful. To provide a completely different environment for our puppies, we thoroughly researched and make sure this puppies will only go to respectable families

  42. Upholstery Cleaning Hilliard OH said:

    This is very educational content and written well for a change. It’s nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post.!

  43. robert said:

  44. Stephen said:

    http://www.ya?hesaplay?c?.com , u can use this site for calculate your age in Turkish.

  45. Ndure Shoes said:

    Ndure offers their customers the highest quality hoods and pullover hoodies for boys. Get the best available boys Hoodies and girls hoodies in Pakistan. All types of denim jackets for boys so they can stay in comfort without compromising on style. So, come to Ndure for amazing pullover hoodies for boys.

  46. Real Estate Agent In Long Island said:

    Real estate Agent In Long Island have been working in this business for the last 12 years and with 12 years of experience, we continue to grow every day and serve our customers. Buying or selling a property is stressful but we will make it fast and easy for you.

  47. Odisha Shayari said:

    Mamaearth Ka Owner Kaun Hai

  48. Metro Shoes said:

    The amazingly stylish pencil heels from Metro Shoes are a must-have, so don’t miss out the fashion trend.

  49. Metro Shoes said:

    You can get amazing sandal designs online from Metro Shoes today! best quality and free shipping.

  50. Rivaj UK said:

    Give your skin the boost it needs to look young, healthy, and radiant with Rivaj Vitamin E Serum Its unique formula combines the power of a serum and oil in one step to bring together all the benefits of vitamin E and other natural ingredients The powerful combination helps to restore natural moisture,

  51. Ndure Shoes said:

    Ndure is one of the leading ladies shoes brands in Pakistan, with a wide collection of quality womens footwear.

  52. Alexpeter said:

    Our career coaches have decades of experience and have taken thousands of interviews across different industries – so you’ll be in AMAZINGGG hands for your Interview Tips

  53. Rivaj UK said:

    Grab amazing cosmetics and related products like primer makeup and the best primer, only from Rivaj. So, grab their best primers today and enjoy. Their primer makeup sets are truly unbeatable and offer a high degree of satisfaction. Rivaj offers the best primer makeup to their customers all the time.

  54. hazeljames said:

    website development Ireland and Dublin offer a complete digital solution for taking your business online. Our Award Winning Agency not only devises strategies for your brand, but we own it like our own.

  55. gil12 said:

    best Shisha in Dublin offers you a wide range of shisha with flavourful drinks to go with it. Bring in your friends and family and enjoy the secluded atmosphere we offer you. We are offering amazing deals on drinks and shisha combos throughout the week.

  56. carls12 said:

    Python Web Developer who wants to explore the world of innovative software product development within a next-generation enterprise platform. The project involves both transformation and building new services to be offered to customers. We are looking for team players who want to be part of this challenging project working in a high-performance Agile Engineering team.

  57. Mike Rooney said:

    I really like the way that you have expressed yourself. There is a lot to be admired from this post. You might want to click onPlaid Jacket Jack Bartlett Heartland

  58. iHost VPS said:

    With our cheap dedicated server alternatives, enjoy strong performance and dependability. Select from a variety of adaptable solutions to suit your company’s requirements, all at reasonable prices. Boost your hosting right now to advance your company.

  59. Maples Closet said:

    Maples Closet offers a wide range of high-quality abaya online UAE, perfect for any occasion. Improve your sense of modesty with our elegant range of hijabs, which were created to go with your abaya. Explore our collection to find the perfect blend of style and comfort.

  60. Tour Saint Lucia said:

    local taxi services. Our knowledgeable drivers provide insights into the best local spots and attractions. Whether you’re visiting landmarks, indulging in culinary delights, or shopping for souvenirs, our local taxi services make every journey enjoyable and informative.

  61. Tour Saint Lucia said:

    Experience the thrill of an ATV adventure with Tour Saint Lucia. Explore the scenic landscapes of Saint Lucia in an exhilarating way, as our guided tours take you through hidden trails and stunning vistas. Unleash your sense of adventure with our ATV expeditions.

  62. BabyBoxShop said:

    Celebrate the upcoming arrival of a little one with our range of Neutral Baby Shower Gifts. These gifts are carefully curated to suit any baby shower theme or colour palette. From practical diaper bags to heartwarming story books, our neutral collection ensures that every gift is a delightful surprise, regardless of gender.

  63. iHost VPS said:

    Discover reliable USA VPS Hosting services. Benefit from the high-performance infrastructure, robust network connectivity, and low latency, all tailored to meet your hosting needs within the USA market.

  64. SLS LifeStyle said:

    Some gorgeous outfit ideas here . You look stunning and oh my! That skirt is definitely something I’d love to have in my wardrobe ?

  65. BSNS Consulting said:

    Unlock the full potential of your online presence with BSNS Consulting’s services of Digital Marketing Pakistan. Our result-driven approach utilises the latest digital marketing strategies to elevate your brand’s visibility, engage your target audience, and drive meaningful conversions. Stay ahead of the competition and achieve your business goals with our expert digital marketing solutions.

  66. CAvpshost said:

    The term Cheap Windows VPS $5 denotes a Virtual Private Server (VPS) running on the Windows operating system available at a low cost of $5. This option caters to users who require Windows-based hosting with limited financial resources. By providing a cost-effective solution, this Cheap Windows VPS allows individuals or businesses to deploy and manage applications, websites, or services on a Windows platform without a significant financial investment.

  67. Vallee Real Estate said:

    Discover exquisite Lake Como Houses for Sale. Explore a range of charming houses for sale, offering breathtaking views of the serene lake and the surrounding Italian countryside. Your dream home by the water awaits in this picturesque destination.

  68. Criminal Modz said:

    Elevate your adventure on GTA 5 modded accounts xbox one with Criminal Modz. We specialize in delivering meticulously crafted modded accounts tailored for the Xbox One platform. Our services open doors to a wealth of customized content, rare items, and an abundance of in-game cash. With a focus on trustworthiness and excellence, Criminal Modz is your go-to choice for secure Xbox One modded accounts.

  69. We Sell Dead Lots.. said:

    Discover a world of cutting-edge IT products at Weselldeadlots. We offer a wide range of top-quality IT products to cater to your business or personal needs. From laptops and desktop computers to networking devices, peripherals, and software solutions, we have it all. Our extensive selection features renowned brands known for their reliability and performance. Stay ahead of the technology curve with our innovative IT products that empower productivity and connectivity.

  70. iHost VPS said:

    Cheap Virtual Desktop Hosting entails hosting virtual desktop environments in a cost-effective manner. Virtual desktop hosting allows users to access their desktop environment, complete with applications and data, from anywhere with an internet connection.

  71. iHost VPS said:

    A VPS Server in USA is a Virtual Private Server located within data centres based in the United States. This service provides users with a virtualized environment running an operating system of their choice, such as Windows or Linux.

  72. CAvpshost said:

    Welcome to CaVPS Host, your premier destination for affordable Windows VPS solutions. If you are looking for acheap Windows RDP, you will come to the right place. At CaVPS Host, we specialize in providing high-quality, cost-effective virtual private servers tailored to meet your specific needs.

  73. Tiptop-einrichtung said:

    A friseureinrichtung outlet is a store that offers discounted furniture and equipment for hair salons. Here, hairstylists can acquire high-quality furnishings at more affordable rates.Discover fantastic deals and discounts on hair salon furnishings at our Hair Salon Furnishings Outlet. Whether you’re a salon owner looking to revamp your space or a hairstylist in need of high-quality equipment, our outlet is your one-stop destination for affordable and stylish salon furnishings.

  74. Luxelife Tailored said:

    Luxelufe Tailored is all about lifestyle and travel

  75. Baby Box said:

    A baby boy gift hamper is a wonderful way to celebrate the birth of a baby boy. These hampers are filled with a selection of baby essentials and cute items tailored to boys, ensuring that the little one is both comfortable and stylish.

  76. mosquito said:

    Explore WBM premium range of mosquito-killer products to ensure effective protection. Our collection includes mosquito killer lamps, powerful mosquito repellents, and dependable insect killer rackets, providing a comprehensive array of solutions.

  77. Pink Salt said:

    Discover the finest quality Pink Salt at Himalayan Chef. Explore the best Himalayan Pink Salt renowned for its benefits. Learn about the goodness of Himalayan Pink Salt and Himalayan Pink Salt’s health benefits. Is Himalayan Pink Salt good for you?

  78. Ginkgo Retail said:

    Ginkgo Retail introduces its International Multi Sale Channel Software, a powerful tool facilitating seamless expansion into global markets. This sophisticated software transcends borders, offering effortless integration across diverse international platforms. With intuitive features and centralized management, it simplifies operations while unlocking unparalleled outreach opportunities worldwide. Our software ensures a cohesive presence across continents, enabling businesses to scale and thrive on a global scale. Embrace a world of possibilities with Ginkgo Retail’s International Multi Sale Channel Software, your gateway to effortless international sales management and growth.

  79. TipTop Enrichtung said:

    A Nageltisch is simply a nail table or manicure table. It’s a piece of furniture designed for performing various nail care treatments, such as manicures and pedicures. These tables often come equipped with storage drawers and a comfortable work surface.

  80. Liberty Daily said:

    That is really an great web

  81. kanpur matka said:

    Rp Matka,Kanpur Satta Matka,Kanpur Matka,Kanpur satta Result,
    Dubai Matka,Dubai Satta Result,Rp Matka 786,Kanpur matka result,kanpur Satta,Dubai Satta Matka,Dubai Satta,
    Madhur matka,Madhur Bazar Matka,Satta Matka,Satta Matka Result,Vrindavan Matka,Kashi Day Matka,
    Kashipur Matka,Kanpur Matka 786,Madhur Satta,Ajmer Matka,Madhur Bazar,Kalyan Matka,
    Kalyan Matka Result,Rajdhani Matka,Satta Matka kanpur,Main Bazar Matka,Dubai Satta Matka result,
    Dubai Matka fixx Result,Kanpur matka Fixx Result,Kanpur Matka Live Result

  82. Ginkgo Retail said:

    Ginkgo Retail’s Multi Sale Channel Software streamlines operations across multiple platforms, optimizing sales potential with ease. Seamlessly integrated and user-friendly, it simplifies management while maximizing outreach. With global compatibility, it ensures a broad market presence while maintaining centralized control. Experience efficient, effective, and comprehensive sales channel management with Ginkgo Retail.

  83. Joel said:

    A good response cost for direct mail campaigns can vary depending on various factors such as industry, target audience, and the quality of the mailing list and content. Generally, response rates for direct mail campaigns typically range from 1% to 5%. However, factors such as the effectiveness of the mailing list, the relevance of the offer, the creativity of the design, and the clarity of the call-to-action can significantly impact response rates. It’s essential to track and analyze response rates over time to identify trends and refine future campaigns for better performance. Additionally, benchmarking against industry standards and setting realistic goals based on past performance can help gauge the success of a direct mail campaign.

  84. Vallee Real Estate said:

    Discover exquisite New Westminster houses with Vallee Real Estate. Explore stunning homes in this vibrant community. Find your perfect match and experience luxury living at its finest. Trust Vallee Real Estate to guide you to your dream home.

Leave a Reply