Enticing recipients to read your message is only the first step. Profitability lies in what comes next: getting those readers to take action and become customers.

The single most important element of your direct mail marketing piece is the request for a response. Here’s where you tell prospects what you want them to do, whether it’s placing an order, using a coupon or requesting information.


The success of the mailing will be judged on how many recipients took the step you asked for. What’s more, responses that include customer information can help you expand and improve your database for greater effectiveness in future mailings. Here’s how to make sure that response rate is the best it can be.

Offer more than one response method.
Give prospects a choice of whether to respond by mailing back the response form, calling you, emailing you or visiting your website’s response form. That way, everyone can choose the method they’re most comfortable with (such as internet use with younger demographics or paper forms with older ones) and you won’t miss out on any potential customers.

Always include a physical response device.

Even if you expect to receive most responses through telephone or digital channels, a paper reply form or card is an important visual cue about the purpose of your mailing. It increases response in all channels, not just physical mail.

Repeat the offer on the response device.
Reinforce your message with an actionable headline, such as “YES, I want to help homeless families have Thanksgiving dinner” or “YES, I want to learn more about your 0 % premium Medicare Advantage plans.”

Add an incentive.
Give prospects an extra reason to respond to your offer.

  • Discount coupon or simulated check
  • Urgency — limited time or quantities sale
  • Free sample offer
  • Frequent shoppers club membership
  • No-risk merchandise trial with free return shipping
  • Testimonials

Make it easy to understand and do.
People just won’t bother with complicated, time-consuming or unclear response methods — except to throw your mailpiece in the trash. Use a clean, minimalist design, step-by-step instructions, 6th grade level language and large, readable fonts.

Keep it as simple as possible, but don’t leave out any essential information. For example, if there’s an expiration date or minimum order, it should be re-stated on the response form in case that’s the only part of the mailing recipients keep.

In your physical response form, give people plenty of room to fill it out. An address field whose lines are only 1/4″ apart will cause problems not just for the responder trying to write, but for you trying to read what was written.

Reduce their effort.
You can make it even more convenient for readers to respond by doing some of the work yourself, such as pre-printing your address on the return envelope or providing a postage-paid reply vehicle. Click2Mail offers reply formats that simplify life for both you and your customers:

Reply Postcard with a tear-off post-paid reply card
Reply Letter which returns the response in the original envelope

Our direct mail response experts are standing by if you need help designing or using these formats, or want to create your own. Please feel free to give us a call