direct mail testing

Why Your Direct Mail Campaign Needs A/B Testing

By Mike Gunderson

Thanks to Gunderson Direct for allowing us to share this post. Click here to view original article. 
 

A/B Testing is Essential to the Success of Your Direct Mail Campaign 

Because It Shows What Works and What Doesn't

In any marketing program, testing the collateral you’re putting out is crucial to its success. If you aren’t testing and analyzing your results, you may continue making the same mistakes and lowering the ceiling of your ROI. A/B testing is one of the best ways to figure out what works for your target audience and what could be working better.

When A/B testing direct mail, you send one variation to group A and a second mailing to group B to see which version performs better. The results will give you all sorts of information that you can use to make improvements in future mailings.

Maxmize Your Direct Mail Success

Before you begin your A/B testing, set a goal that you want to reach. This goal can include how many website visits you wish to generate, how many sales you want to make, or how many responses you’d like to see. From there, you can determine if one of your tests is successful enough to continue.

The more pieces of mail you send as part of the test, the more reliable your test results will be. For example, if you test over 10,000 mailings, the results will be more reliable than if you test 2,000.

Remember to include a method of tracking your results, as well. Trace your results through coupon offers, QR codes, or phone calls to ensure that you have valid information after your mailings.

Analyze the Effectiveness of Different Offers

The offers that you present to your readers will help determine their efficiency. Your copywriting and presentation could be perfect, but if the offer isn’t attractive to the recipient, your chances of success are minimal.

Start by sending each segment of your audience a different offer to see what readers want. The differences could be subtle, such as free shipping versus fast shipping or a percentage-based discount versus a dollar-based discount, but you may receive a different response rate based on these small changes.

Remember that you don’t want to test too many variables at once because it becomes too difficult to attribute lift to a specific change. Instead, make a change to the primary purpose of sending the mail in the first place to see which offer performs better.

Test Your Presentation

If you’re set on a particular type of offer, you could also try phrasing the offer in different ways to give you information on how to best present it.

Elements that you can change during your tests include font sizes, headlines, imagery, the benefits that your product provides, and the expressions that you use to make your offers.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to change the presentation too much each time because you’ll want to see which elements work, and which don’t. Start by changing one aspect and looking for a difference in your response rates.

When testing your presentation, it doesn’t necessarily have to be small changes to the font or headlines, either. You can test different marketing concepts. Testing concepts is essential when you’re just beginning because it helps develop a starting point that you can tweak through future A/B testing.

By tweaking your presentation, you can, over time, provide your customers with advertising that closely matches their values.

Improve on Your Existing Direct Mail Collateral

Just because a previous campaign did well for you doesn’t mean that you’ll have success every time you send that collateral. The geographical area, time of year, and other variables could also limit the effectiveness of a particular mailing. Even top-performing mailpieces should be tested periodically against new designs just to see if they can be improved upon. Many marketers refer to their standing best direct mail design as the “control,” meaning it is the control group they use to benchmark effectiveness when experimenting with other designs.

By sending out completely different advertising to test against your existing collateral, you can expand your offerings and reach new customers who haven’t responded to previous marketing efforts. It allows you to send updated offers and fresh information, giving you a second chance to make a first impression.

Keep Testing, Keep Improving

Continue to do A/B testing at all times because your customers’ wants and needs will change over the years, too. Just because a particular style of advertising or offer worked in 2019 doesn’t mean it will continue in the future, so you should always keep testing and bringing new ideas to market.

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