Why You Shouldn’t Care about Your Marketing Response Rate Post-Pandemic

Now that all 50 states have begun to reopen businesses, our phones have been ringing off the hook with business owners ready to reach prospects and customers to let them know —


I wrote recently about how thankful I am that we’ve been able to bounce back quickly from the huge hit this pandemic landed on our business and frankly the entire economy.

So, now that businesses are raring to get going again and PostcardMania is truly, fully back, it’s time to talk less about covid and more about effectively marketing your small business.

Which leads me to the hands-down biggest, most-often-asked marketing question out there.

And that’s response rates.

“What will my response rate be?” or “What kind of response can I expect?”

It’s so huge that I knew I had to sit down and talk to you about it, so I made this video.

While the heart of this question is good, unfortunately, it is a little misguided.

The reason is that response rate is not really what you should use to measure the success of your direct mail postcard campaign (or any marketing push for that matter).

What you need to look at is:

Return on investment, or ROI.

This means how much money in terms of leads and sales the campaign produced in comparison to how much it cost.

You see, it’s possible for a campaign to actually produce a lot in terms of revenue for you, but not actually produce that many individual responses.

An example of this is if you have a very high-price item you are selling. You may only get a handful of responses, but if two or three people buy you could pay for the campaign twice over.

That would be a marketing strategy you should stick with, even though the response rate doesn’t appear to be that great.

Another example would be someone who sells a lower price item that is a recurring purchase.

In this case, you need to factor in how often an average customer buys from you in order to know just how valuable that lead really is. Maybe you don’t turn a profit on the first sale, but by the fifth you do.

PostcardMania operates on this kind of model.

I’ll give you a real-life example:

Out of the roughly 180,000 postcards we mail each week, we get about 200 direct responses per week. (A direct response would be someone calling the tracking number on their postcard or visiting the URL on that postcard versus googling us and finding our webpage.)

That’s a response rate of 0.001%.

Of course, we also receive additional leads who either don’t mention that they heard about us from a postcard, or say they heard about us some other way, when in fact we find out later they’ve been receiving our postcards for some time.

But thankfully:

Response rate is completely useless when it comes to marketing (at least for my business).

The only statistic I care about when measuring response is the return on investment (ROI) I get from my marketing.

ROI is calculated as:

  • Money made
  • Minus what was spent
  • Divided by what was spent
  • Multiplied by 100 to find the percent

Here’s a real example of PostcardMania’s marketing ROI. I’ll use a year from a while back so you can see how the return continues to grow as the years go by.

In 2013, we spent $2,875,230 on marketing.

That same year, we brought in $4,562,121 from new leads generated from those marketing dollars.

That is a 59% ROI on our marketing spend.

Then, the next year (2014), we brought in an additional $1,520,682 from those leads that came in in 2013.

This grew the ROI for our 2013 expense to 111% — meaning we made all of our money back PLUS an additional 11% of the amount we spent.

Then, in 2015, we brought in an additional $1,389,865 from those leads that came in in 2013, Growing our ROI for our 2013 spend to 159%.

We continued to make money from those leads through future years. By the end of 2019 we had made a total of $13,130,068 from those leads generated in 2013 from our $2,875,230 investment. This is a 357% ROI on our marketing spend, and it will continue to grow from here.

Bottom line:

If we hadn’t spent that $2.8M on marketing, we would have made $13M less over the last 6 years!

This is something that my 2008 financial advisors couldn’t foresee — and, to be honest, many business owners today would struggle with.

For my fellow business owners, this usually comes down to a lack of tracking.

If you don’t know where your leads are coming from, how can you know the value of your marketing? Or the return on your investment?

For those companies that do closely track their marketing, one thing becomes clear…

Marketing is a vital part of your business’s overall health and wellbeing, and cutbacks (however essential they might seem at the time) run the risk of exposing your business to extended revenue reductions.

I certainly learned this lesson the hard way.

And I don’t want you to have to learn it the hard way too!

That’s why we’re offering huge discounts on our post-pandemic product, “We’re Open Again” postcards.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Choose your design
  2. We customize it announcing you’re back open
  3. We print your full-color glossy postcards and store them for you
  4. The moment your business is open again, let us know to mail your postcards!

We are here to help you however we can.

If you need any help resurging your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 800-628-1804. Our marketing consultants are trained to advise you on how to get your business back on the rails during this difficult time.

Or, you can always email me directly at joy.gendusa@postcardmania.com.



Originally published as part of our complete Small Business Owner’s COVID Survival Guide.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Marketing Budget Calculator



Leave a Comment:

Your name and email are required to post. We will not publish or share your email address.


Call or Text a Marketing Consultant 1-800-628-1804