How to Improve Marketing Response Rates in 2021

How to Improve Marketing Response Rates in 2021

Marketing is a process of incremental improvement. You try a new tactic or change the way you’re approaching existing methodologies, and then you test your response rate. If you manage a gain, you keep what worked and try something else. Tactics that don’t connect with your audience fall away, replaced by strategies better suited to their needs. 

 That’s what your competition is doing. If you aren’t improving your response rates in 2021, you’re falling behind. 

Whether you focus on content, social, direct mail, or email marketing, there are smart moves you can make to get response rates up. These may involve a shift in the way you think about marketing, but the results are worth the effort.


No matter what product or service you sell, there will be types of people that are more or less interested in it. If you’re a bookkeeper, you’re going to find considerably more interest among business owners and white-collar professionals than you would, say, lower-wage retail workers. 

 If you sell specialty dog products, your target market is probably single, middle to upper-income pet owners rather than families with children. They both own pets, but the latter are more likely to spend discretionary income on their kids, not their pets. 

 No matter which tactics you’re using to reach your audience, you may be watering down your message and spending marketing dollars on people that will never buy from you if you’re defining it too broadly.  

 Personas help your focus your marketing messages to better target the people most likely to show interest in your offerings. They’re fictional descriptions of your ideal customers, and the more detail you can provide, the better.

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A diverse group of prospects

Let’s Look at an Example

Even though personas aren’t real people, you want them to feel as real as possible because you’re going to sculpt your marketing messages as if you’re talking directly to them. You want to include information such as:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Educational achievements
  • Income
  • Location
  • Family Status
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Goals
  • What motivates their buying decisions? 
  •  Where do they consume media? 
  •  Where do they spend time online? 
  •  What are their biggest concerns?

From earlier, our pet supplies retailer might define Leslie Johnson, a suburban, single woman in her ‘40s that works a middle management job. She has no children save her “furbabies.” She makes $60,000 a year and pampers her pets with whatever extra income she has. She wants to make sure they have the happiest lives possible and worries about them whenever she’s away for long. 

 She uses Facebook to keep up with friends, but most of her online time is spent on Instagram, sharing pictures of her furbabies and looking at pictures of other people’s pets. She’s a cord cutter, getting most of her media through streaming services. She also loves getting pet catalogs in the mail. 

 The details you add to your personas will guide how you target them, where, and the specific language you use to appeal to their preferences. Personas give you a person to speak to, and in doing so, you’ll spend your marketing dollars more efficiently, targeting only those groups of people more likely to convert to customers.

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An older woman posing with flowers


To get response rates to grow, you want to build relationships with your prospect and customers. When possible, you should address them by name in your marketing messages and use personal details to show that you’re paying attention.  

 If you’re involved in email marketing, you can segment your mailing lists to create blocks of related contacts and then create customized workflows for each. You might group older prospects together in one group, those that visited your website already in another, and current customers into a third. Segmentation lets you drive personalized, relevant messages to each group. 

 With direct mail, personalization is more challenging. When you’re printing 20,000 mailers, they can’t all bear different details. Handwritten direct mail, however, does allow this sort of customization. With Simply Noted, you can specify custom fields, like your prospect’s name, city, touchpoints, and other details.  

 With each note that our handwriting machines create, these fields are replaced with user-specific information. This customization, paired with a handwritten card’s warmth and authenticity, creates a uniquely personal marketing experience that can dramatically boost response rates.

SEE ALSO:  Why Handwritten Direct Mail Improves Response Rates

Overhead shot of a woman checking voicemail


Modern consumers, particularly those in their 40s and younger, are interested in brands that stand for something. In response, advertisers are exploring what possible with purpose-driven marketing. 

 Purpose-driven companies seek to increase marketing response rates and revenues by aligning with specific causes their target audiences support. Brands like Toms, Patagonia, and Bombas all include social consciousness in their brand identities, and they work to improve the lives of both their customers and people in need.  

 How might this work for you? Let’s say you sell t-shirts. You might align your marketing efforts with fair global labor practices and low-impact textile production. You might promote the fact that you donate to your labor force’s local economy for every shirt you sell. Alternatively, you could stress your sustainable manufacturing processes and tell prospects about your environmentally-friendly dyes and printing methods.

SEE ALSO:  How to Build Brand Awareness

A black and white photo of a homeless man

Why is Purpose-Driven Marketing Effective?

According to Deloitte Insights, purpose-driven companies grow three times faster on average than their competition. The reason gets back to the second item on our list — personal relationships. Consumers today want to trust the brands they purchase from, and a quick way to establish this trust is to find companies concerned about the same things they are. 

 Purpose-driven marketing, paired with clearly defined personas and a personal approach, creates powerful bonds between companies and their customers. Your marketing no longer feels like marketing. It feels like commiseration. Instead of selling to people, you’re building meaningful relationships, and the sales follow naturally. 

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 You can get response rates to climb by combining these three approaches. Imagine a targeted, handwritten direct mail campaign that speaks directly to each recipient and aligns with a cause that’s dear to their heart. Response rates won’t just edge up slowly. They might skyrocket past previous levels because you’re telling people exactly what they want to hear. 

 Just make sure that you mean it. If your customers discover you’re a fraud, the consequences can be dire. But that shouldn’t be a problem if you’re choosing the right personas, because they will value the same things you do. Be the company your ideal customers want you to be, and your marketing response rates will thank you.