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4 Easy Direct Mail Tracking Methods

Direct Mail Tracking

It doesn’t matter what kind of advertising or marketing campaign you’re running; developing a method that tracks how your audience interacts with your campaign will help you understand your return on investment and allow you to spend your marketing dollars in the most effective way possible.

And if you’re not tracking the successes and failures of your direct mail campaigns in some way, you’re likely over-investing in one area and under-investing in another.

Direct mail tracking will help you answer a few questions:

  • Are your marketing dollars resulting in leads, conversions, and sales revenue?
  • What specific parts of your direct mail marketing are responsible for those leads, conversions, and sales revenue?
  • What factors are not working within your direct mail campaign that could be altered to increase the effectiveness?

4 Easy Ways to Track Direct Mail & The Effectiveness of Print Advertising

Direct Mail Tracking

One reason digital marketing is so successful is because of the amount of tracking points that can be collected. But these tracking tools are not just relevant for digital channels, they can be used to track direct mail campaigns and print advertising effectiveness. 

It’s a common misconception that it’s difficult to track direct mail marketing, but it’s actually very easy! The key is including unique calls to action that can be traced back to the specific direct mail marketing piece.

Let's go over some of the best and easiest direct mail tracking methods—some even use the same tools used for tracking digital advertising.

Personalized URLs (pURLs)

You most likely put your company’s website on every direct mail piece you create. However, using the same web address for each direct mail campaign will leave you with unattributed leads.

If anyone types in your URL, it will show up on your analytics as direct traffic, which can come from anywhere.

Use pURLs for direct mail tracking.

The easiest way to solve this problem is by taking advantage of pURLs for your direct mail tracking.

PURLs or personalized URLs are unique web addresses that are created for specific marketing campaigns so you can track how many people visit that web address and in return be able to determine your direct mail response rates.

Furthermore, because your pURL will need to be typed into a web browser, it’s important to keep your URL short. For example, if your direct mail campaign is directing your audience to a web page that includes free offers, then using a pURL like www.website.com/free will be more effective and faster to type in than “www.website.com/services/free-offers.”

You can also use URL shortening services like bit.ly or Rebrandly to create personalized shortened URLs to existing pages on your website that hide full URLs and utilize UTM parameters or query parameters which help you track the performance of your direct mail campaign.

Using pURLs and URL shortening services are one of the easiest direct mail tracking methods because you’ll be able to know that any traffic that is generated using that unique web address, came from your direct mail campaign.

QR Codes

Use QR codes for direct mail tracking.

Including QR codes within your direct mail designs is one of the most popular and user-friendly options for tracking your direct mail campaign and the effectiveness of print advertising. QR codes give your audience the most direct and fastest method to visit your website and gives them a simple way to gain access to what your direct mailer is offering.

Creating QR codes for direct mail tracking is easy as well. All you need to do is create a trackable URL, input your URL in a free QR code generator, and then place that QR code within your direct mail design layout.

This allows you to collect web page impressions and allows you to keep track of how well your direct mail campaign is performing.

Unique & Trackable Phone Numbers

Like your company’s website URL, placing your phone number on your direct mail materials is a no-brainer. But if you’re using the same number for all your direct mail campaigns, it’s difficult to know where those calls are coming from.

However, if you use a unique phone number for each direct mail campaign, tracking direct mail response rates is easy!

Use call tracking software or unique phone numbers for direct mail tracking.

One way to use this method for direct mail tracking is to create a dedicated toll-free phone number that when calls come in, they are directed to your business line. This will allow you to easily track how many phone calls are made to the toll-free number you used within your direct mail campaign, thus allowing you to calculate your direct mail response rates.

You can also take advantage of call tracking software that can provide you with important reports and analytics including saving phone numbers, providing locations, the type of industry the caller is in, and more.

While some of these services are affordable, prices can get pretty high especially if you want to integrate with your CRM or Google Analytics. We suggest starting small, keeping your budget in mind, and scaling up as needed.

Discount Codes or Coupons

One of the easiest and most affordable direct mail tracking methods is discount codes or coupons.

Coupons may be a tracking method that has been around for centuries, but they are still an extremely effective direct mail tracking strategy.

This is because they require your audience to visit you and provide you with your printed advertisement for them to take action on what you are offering. This ultimately lets you track your direct mail response rates because depending on how many individuals bring in your coupon reflects how many people responded in your favor.

A promo code—or discount code—on the other hand, allows you to digitally track your direct mail pieces and see who responds to your offer. Instead of bringing the coupon in, your audience simply visits your website and can enter the discount code at checkout to receive the promotion. Because each individual must enter the code to receive the discount on their purchase, you can see how many orders were made using your promo code, thus being able to track how well your direct mail campaign message is.

Brand with authenticity and originality

For in-store use, many point-of-sale systems allow for you to use promo codes as well including phone scans or code inputs at checkout allowing you to track that sale back to its source.


While print advertising is very effective and has one of the best response rates and return on investments, you still need to be able to track the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign.

No matter what direct mail tracking method you choose, whether you choose to use personalized URLs, call tracking software, discount codes, or QR codes, doing so will help you increase the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns and help your business save money.

This is because gathering intelligence on how effective your direct mail marketing dollars are spent will allow you to invest better in efforts that work.

If you’re ready to effectively take advantage of direct mail tracking, click the button below and explore some of our most popular direct mail solutions and we’ll help you get started on a trackable and successful campaign today!

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