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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!


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