Top Priorities for Direct Mail
- Be strategic with populations. In order to reduce both physical and financial waste, you should be as strategic as possible with the populations you choose to engage through direct mail. This could mean sending to admits only, or sending to top-tier inquiries (those that have signed up for more information directly through our inquiry forms).
- Focus on yield. When a student is admitted, we have their address and we know their program of study. Plus, we know the student is more serious about enrolling. Direct mail can be much more effective at this stage.
- Consider ROI. Direct mail might not be your best option to reaching students, considering it is extremely difficult to measure the return on investment. If you have a limited budget, direct mail will most likely not make the list of marketing programs you utilize.
OUA’s Direct Mail Strategy
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions limits mailings to admitted students. This strategy is based on three factors: (1) We have much better data for admitted students, meaning we have more addresses and more information to target specific populations; (2) The cost per impression, when thinking of direct mail as a general brand-building effort to prospects, is exponentially more costly than digital advertising; (3) We know high school students prefer to get information via email, and other digital platforms.
How to Measure Success
Assessing the effectiveness of direct mail is challenging. Here are some suggestions:
- Gather input. OUA conducts annual surveys that provide some information about how students view and use our direct mail. Focus groups can also provide insights into expectations and perceptions around receiving mail.
- Send to test audiences. You can create a test audience and see if, by sending direct mail, their behavior is different than other groups.
- Create unique URLs. By attaching a unique URL to a print piece, you can see how many receivers actually scan a QR code or take that specific action by reviewing the analytics attached to the unique URL.