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Testing Your Direct Mail Campaign

Uncover strategies that get better campaign results and use them to get bigger results  

It’s exhilarating to get results from a marketing campaign. Finally, the hard work and cost of crafting an effective ad campaign. Keep your celebration short – there’s more work to do with direct mail testing to keep the success going over the long-run.  

Although you know that your campaign worked – what was it that resonated with future customers? Did you have the right direct mail list?   

Or, maybe it was the offer that did all the heavy lifting. Pinpoint the element that worked best with direct mail testing so you know what to use or change before your next campaign.  

Testing Matters

In the article “Successful Direct Mail Is All in the Testing” by Lois Geller, she tells an interesting client story. Her team had developed a new marketing approach for a correspondence school. The new method was more expensive than the old one 

The client used the same offer for the new campaign and got the same number of responses as the old. Because the new campaign was more expensive to deploy, the client dismissed Geller’s team and went back to the old method. 

Geller reports that something interesting happened. “Two years later our creative director ran into the client at a convention. The client said that our package had become the company’s control because, for some reason, it brought in a better class of customer, the kind of people who stick with the program a lot longer—and who are willing to pay a lot more money.”  

The client was just counting the number of responses rather than the quality of people who responded. When they discovered that their new customers stayed longer, they used the latest campaign to get better results. This is how you find a marketing element that can create higher ROI.  

Two men at laptops discuss testing

Review the data from A/B tests and deploy the best tactics.

What to Test?

The best elements to test for a direct mail campaign are the list and the offer according to the article “Direct Mail Testing – A/B split and multi-variable testing”. 

Sure, the copy and images are key componentsbut the elements with the biggest impact on ROI are the list and the offer. So, if you have limited time and resources, test the list and offer.   

Direct Mail Testing

The preferred test method is to focus on one element at a time to pinpoint the one that is working for you. If your current campaign has met your campaign goals, use it as the “control.”  

Create a test campaign to send at the same time as the control and monitor the results.  

In the test campaign, choose to either send the mailing to a different list – or, use a different offer. Track all the data and the results to see whether you get a better response from the new list or offer, or the old one.  

At some point, you may want to test your creative. You can do this by changing out the image that you use in your campaign, a key copy component of the mailer or you can use a different weight of paper to see if you get a better response. Make sure that you change only one element.  

After testing, create a new campaign that uses the elements that had the best results.  

It’s all about the data 

Creative brainstorming can get heated – many experienced marketers have developed an opinion based on what has worked for them in the past.  

To ensure that the future is better than the present, keep an open mind to what the data from direct mail testing is telling you. Remember – it’s not about who is right, smartest, or most skilled, the data will tell you what works with no ego involved.  

Just keep testing, improving, and growing more success.  Have questions? Contact the pros at One Stop Mail – we’re happy to help!



Building the Best Direct Mail Campaigns

With a well-rounded understanding of the difference between branding and marketing, irresistible offers, and tracking methods, any business can craft the best direct mail campaigns. Below is a sample marketing campaign to show the benefits and ease of creation for even small business owners.

Branding or Marketing the Best Direct Mail Campaigns


Quality-Auto Used Cars is gearing up for an end of summer marketing campaign. They are purchasing many used vehicles and know they need to sell 200 vehicles during their upcoming weekend event. Jeff, the marketing specialist for the dealership, determines they need a direct mail marketing campaign due to their expectations of trackable results, not simply brand recognition for the dealership. With the understanding that getting people onto the car lot will require incentives, the dealership staff begins to brainstorm ideas.

Crafting an Irresistible Offer


The best direct mail campaigns will have a strong core offering that attracts the ideal customer. The dealership staff discuss core offerings for some time and ultimately decide every attendee will receive a hot dog and soda during the “End of Summer Blowout BBQ”. All test drivers who purchase a vehicle will receive a $100 gas card, and 3 lucky winners will receive a BBQ smoker.

Implementing a Tracking Method


Quality-Auto Used Cars decides they will design the campaign postcard as cut-out tickets which can be used as food vouchers and raffle prize entry tickets. This allows the dealership to track the turnout based on the response to the direct mail marketing postcards. The dealership will ask customers where they heard of the event during the sale process to ensure all vehicle sales resulting from the direct mail campaign are given due credit.

Contacting a Direct Mail Marketing Company


Jeff, the dealership’s marketing specialist contacts Tony from One Stop Mail to get help with the direct mail marketing campaign. Tony suggests using One Stop Mail’s graphic design services to create a captivating illustration for the direct mail postcards. Once Jeff approves the final design, One Stop Mail uses Every Door Direct Mail, a USPS service, to deliver the postcard to all homes within a 5-mile radius of the dealership. One Stop Mail handles the difficult work and ensures the postcards are printed, sorted, and delivered at the local post office to be mailed by USPS.

Analyzing the Campaign


Now that the team at Quality-Auto Used cars completes their weekend long sale event, they can analyze the campaign see the benefit of direct mail marketing. Iterations are important in all forms of marketing. As a result, the dealership staff determines if they want to run a second mail marketing campaign using variable data printing, to ensure all prospects who did not purchase a car will receive a voucher for a free oil change and tire rotation with purchase of a vehicle.

This re-marketing allows the dealership to capture a greater percentage of consumers who showed an initial interest in a vehicle and attended the sale event, With variable data printing, the dealership was able to customize each letter sent, using the name of each person who test-drove a vehicle to add a personalized touch and increase the response rate.

As you are planning one of the best direct mail marketing campaigns for your business, contact One Stop Mail for a quote or simply call 602.233.3003 to learn more about how we can help you achieve your marketing goals.


Stand_Out_In_The_Mailbox with direct mail tips

Stand Out in the Mailbox with These Direct Mail Tips

Direct mail is still one of the most popular, affordable, and effective forms of marketing available… but you need to catch people’s attention quickly.  Forty four percent is never opened, and most of that boils down to a failure of presentation and not using well-known direct mail tips.

When consumers are time-pressed, your direct mail needs to immediately grab their attention and become the first thing they open.

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