We are always asked, What is the average response for direct mail? We wish we could answer this question but it all depends on the campaign.
There are so many variables that go into each direct mail campaign that all effect the response rate. The two biggest factor are the list and the offer. If you send the right offer to the right people they will respond.
We estimate about 1% response rate but we see campaigns with much higher response rates and some with lower. The Direct Marketing Association estimates response rates at 9% to a house list and 5% to a house list. Yet, the sample size for this study was small and to us seems higher than what we typically see, but it all depends on the campaign.
We prefer to estimate low when estimating ROI but advise to try to improve the list and offer whenever possible to help increase response rates. There are many other variables that should be looked into and optimized but the list and offer are the ones that typically affect the response rates the most. It is also important to evaluate the lifetime value of a new customer when looking at response rates and ROI.