The DMA’s 2017 Response Rate Report finds that the response rate for mail sent to people on house lists (subscribers who opted in to mail) was 5.1% for the year, and the response rate for prospect lists (potential clients) was 2.9%. These numbers are up from 2003, when house lists drew a response of 4.4% and prospect lists a response of 2.1%. And even though online shopping has surpassed purchases from direct mail pieces, the DMA reports that 100.7 million U.S. adults​ made a purchase from a catalog in 2016, compared with 209.6 million people who made purchases online the same year, per Statista. 
Once your list is targeted, you need to spend an equally large portion of time coming up with a great deal – even if it means you might lose a bit of money on it. The underlying goal of any marketing campaign is to gain new customers, and it’s worth it to significantly reduce your profit margins to gain said customers. Once you have a surgically-honed list and an amazing offer, then you can spend some time on the design, copy, delivery methods, postage rates, date of delivery, size of the mailer…there are a lot of other options to consider, but following the 40/40/20 rule you can see how important audience and offer truly are.
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